Before his death, Lil Peep (aka Gustav Åhr) kept himself busy as he rose through the ranks from Soundcloud rap to bona fide big name. With 13 EPs, four mixtapes and one album released in the three years he was active, he left behind a wealth of music for fans old and new to remember him by. Here are our picks of some of Lil Peep’s best songs.
“Look at the sky tonight, all of the stars have a reason/A reason to shine, a reason like mine and I’m fallin’ to pieces,” Peep sings on this haunting track, his voice echoing like he’s watching the night sky from a cavernous vantage-point. He begins by asking a girlfriend to “wait right here” before justifying his request by saying he’s ready to work and become important for her.
Over an emo guitar melody, the tattooed rapper references his rise to success, claiming his new money won’t change him, but also hints at the dark habits that would eventually prove to be his downfall: “Drugs in my nose/Good drugs in my cup.”
This 2016 track finds the musician rapping over a melancholy, melodic sample that adds a gloomy air to his boasts that “shorty look like a pornstar/I know she love me cos she fuck me in her sports car.”
Instead of rapping on this track, Peep instead sings in a raspy, full-throated voice that makes his summarisation of a relationship sound even rawer. It also features Lil Tracy, another member of the emo hip-hop collective GothBoiClique that Peep was also a member of.
Peep plays up to his emo categorisation here, sampling emo group Brand New’s ‘The No Seatbelt Song’. In the track, he addresses loneliness, drug use, death, and not treating his girlfriend well enough.
‘Absolute In Doubt’
‘Absolute In Doubt’ features another GothBoiClique member in Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, with him and Peep swapping verses about failed relationships over a beat that sounds like a more emo take on the Stranger Things theme song.
This ‘Come On Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1’ song is a lot more polished than some of Peep’s other work, showing he was more multifaceted than the tag of Soundcloud rapper suggested. Halfway through, the song morphs from lethargic R&B-tinged cut to driven emo, its creator rasping: “Sometimes life gets fucked up/That’s why we get fucked up.”
Another collaboration with Lil Tracy, ‘Cobain’ is a woozy, bleak song that finds the New York rapper namechecking various drugs and referencing the comparisons between him and late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
The title track of Peep’s third mixtape, ‘Hellboy’ features another sample from the rock world – this time, Underoath’s ‘Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear’. On it, the late star describes his life after receiving some success: “Mama miss me at home, but I’m good on my own/Baby I’m cold, back on the road/Show after show, fucking ho after ho.”
Thanks to its sample of The Microphones’ ‘Headless Horseman’, ‘Beamer Boy’ is one of Peep’s more caustic cuts. His smooth flow clashes against the disorderly guitar strums, making something discordant but still magnetic.