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Lil Peep
Lil Peep attends the Balmain Menswear Spring/Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on June 24, 2017 in Paris, FrancePhoto by Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Balmain

A guide to the generation-defining sound of Lil Peep through 5 key albums

Following the release of the rapper’s posthumous album Diamonds, we reflect on the artist’s titanic presence across rap culture

“Yeah we have an album together… It’s the best album of the 21st century,” a grainy and bug-eye sunglasses-wearing Lil Peep tells Zane Lowe. In this unearthed footage from a new documentary titled Diamonds, he’s speaking about himself and ILoveMakonnen, about their joint album of the same name. In the film, which dropped alongside the record, Peep shares that it was “one of his dreams” to meet Makonnen, let alone produce an entire album with him. Now, that album is seeing the light of day thanks to a posthumous release.

Lil Peep tragically passed away in 2017 from an accidental overdose of Xanax and fentanyl. He was 21. Real name Gustav Åhr, Peep grew up in Long Island, New York. Recording music on his laptop, alone and high in his bedroom, and uploading it to SoundCloud, he quickly amassed a legion of fans. His gloomy, tormented sound provided a clear insight into Peep’s experiences of mental illness and substance abuse. He was central to the rise of cloud rap, and his mould-breaking sound would come to have a major impact on modern rap music, slotting elements of southern rap alongside post-hardcore and emo sonics.

In February this year, Lil Peep’s mother and brother revealed that the rapper’s music would solely be in the care of his family after settling a multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit. “Gus’s music came home,” they wrote. “We know he should be here in the world with all of us, creating – making whatever he was inspired to make. But he is not. So we will protect his music with all of our strength,” adding that “we look forward to continuing to release Gus’s music”. Peep’s fans have praised his family for treating his legacy with care and respect.

Six years after it was recorded, Diamonds has arrived. To celebrate the release, we’ve picked out five standouts from the prolific artist’s many releases that paint a picture of the talented and troubled person that he was – as we await more music to see the light of day.


A purple Peep marshmallow – the rapper’s namesake – appeared on the cover of his first major project, a mixtape originally dropped via SoundCloud. Tinged with a deep melancholy, the release came without any guest spots and revolved around rock samples and skittering hi-hats. It gives a pretty much crystal-clear depiction of depression, with lyrics such as “all I ever see is snow in the summertime”, and “what if life comes after death? Grab my knife find out myself”. While perhaps not as polished as later releases, its atmospheric and authentic feeling mean it’s considered by some to be his saddest work. Yet Peep’s heartfelt, tortured lyrics proved to be a lifeline for similar young people battling any sort of darkness. One comment on the release’s Bandcamp page reads: “I’ll never stop playing your music. You made me realise I’m not alone with these crazy thoughts.”

HELLBOY (2016)

You don’t even know what I’ve been through,” Lil Peep raps on hellboy, the mixtape’s opener that borrows a bass guitar line from Christian metalcore band Underoath. It’s a line that encapsulates how his music both conveyed and concealed his inner state. Laced with grungy guitar riffs, booming 808s and triplet snares, all 16 of HELLBOY’s tracks were created in less than a month in ‘the loft’, an open space on Skid Row populated by other artists and creatives. Rough and ready, with the loudness dialled up, the self-released tape (later uploaded to streaming services by his estate) drew attention for its lyrics: I used to wanna kill myself / Came up still wanna kill myself” (from OMFG), a lament on how fame and professional success hadn’t magicked away his internal struggles. These drugs are callin’ me, do one more line, don’t fall asleep,” he sings on the song they played (when I crashed into the wall), a lyric steeped in significance since his tragic death.

CRYBABY (2016)

A firm fan favourite, crybaby was Peep’s fourth mixtape. He had its title tattooed in cursive above his right eyebrow, telling GQ: “I got the tattoo on my face to remind me that I have been doing really good, and there’s a lot of people on Earth who would love to be in the position I’m in, so it keeps me really grateful.” It was at this time, Peep’s mum Liza Womack has said, that he started meeting producers in real life, rather than collaborating via the internet, and was “hitting his stride” as a result. On the record, there’s the Wonderwall-sampling yesterday, where Peep interpolates the Oasis classic over a booming trap beat: “I know, I did a little blow and I never wrote back to you”, while white tee samples The Postal Service's Such Great Heights. It was remastered for streaming, and many fans agree it’s his most coherent release.


In 2017, Lil Peep released his debut album, and it earned him more attention than ever before. At this point, he was starting to outgrow his core fan base in the underground, and began to find fans chanting his lyrics back to him at shows. The record was free from samples, unlike previous work of his, but found him really perfecting his sound with unique guitar riffs and expressive, polished-sounding vocals (despite it being recorded in LA on his laptop using GarageBand and an $800 mic). He would die three months after its release, and it was followed up by the first posthumous record of his, Come Over When You’re Sober, Part 2, in 2018, which contained arguably his most accessible and catchiest tracks. 


Among many of the records that have been unveiled posthumously, this collaborative work is a meeting of minds between Peep and hip-hop mainstay Harry Fraud, two artists who’d independently admired each other before their link-up in New York. On, Womack gives detailed insight into the three-track record, recalling how excited he’d been to work with Fraud after rattling off previous collaborators such as Action Bronson and French Montana. She’d even lent a friend of his her car to get him to Fraud’s studio. The blog also shares quotes from Fraud: “[Lil Peep] expressed to me that he wanted us to make something that meshed both our styles, but sounded like nothing either of us had made before. I jumped at the idea and suggested we create everything, including the beats, totally from scratch on the spot. Gus loved that.” The result is something that blends scratchy country guitars (Old Me) and late-night saxophones (Living Rooms), offering up new facets of Peep’s artistry.

If you are worried about your own mental health or someone else’s, you can contact the Samaritans here, or head over to Mind for more information on how to receive immediate support

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