Posthumous albums almost always offer mixed results. Lil Peep’s first posthumous release, last year’s ‘Come Over When You’re Sober PT.2’, allowed fans to grieve for the artist even as they were reminded of his prodigious talent. ‘Everybody’s Everything’, meanwhile, the second release since his death in 2017, is a bloated project that displays only a few bursts of the array of talent Gustav Åhr possessed.
Where last year’s release (astonishingly only his second full-length album, it debuted at Number 4 on the Billboard 200) dealt prominently with the mangled dark and depressive thoughts that infiltrated his mind, allowing the late Peep to discuss death and self-destruction, the main theme in ‘Everybody’s Everything’ is unrequited love. It’s an intriguing concept, given that Åhr pioneered emotional rap, combining emo rock refrains combined with devastatingly frank lyrical admissions.
According to his estate, this is a “lovingly curated collection of songs from Lil Peep’s career”, a sort-of self-delivered eulogy to the 21-year-old, who tragically died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and Xanax in 2017. Yet these unreleased songs fall somewhere between indifferent to passable – bar a few exceptions. ‘PRINCESS’ does combine Peep’s clear-eyed lyrics with agile production from longtime collaborator Cold Hart, as Peep croons, “How could I forget about you? / I don’t know what I’d do without you / Lonely sunsets without my princess / Send me one text, so I can get some rest.”
The leaked, original version of ‘I’ve Been Waiting’, featuring iLoveMakonnen, similarly whets the appetite. Stripped of the Fall Out Boy feature added onto the single version that came out in January, it boasts a tighter structure that refocuses the attention to Peep. Despite the track’s emotional turmoil, though, it feels out of place on an album mostly comprised of souped-up demos.
Peep emerged as the Kurt Cobain of emo-rap and the tendrils of that influence are felt throughout the project: fuzzy guitars, Nirvana-style riffs, disaffected lyrics and Peep’s auto-tuned rap. But most of the tracks are tepid. Rich the Kid, Diplo, Gab3, Lil Tracy lend their support throughout but their appearances are essentially plugging holes in the album. Gab3 doesn’t do much on any of his three appearances except take up space; Lil Tracy appears five times but doesn’t land anything memorable. ‘AQUAFINA’, which features Rich the Kid, may be the weakest track on the entire project due to its generic production and indulgence in drug-fuelled rap, with none of the self-awareness that usually accompanies Lil Peep’s deep dives into the topic.
Åhr’s death is still an open wound to the legions of fans he amassed in his short career along with his family and the close-knit team around him. The songs included in ‘Everybody’s Everything’ sound mostly like those around still coming to terms with his death, clinging to his last works.
Although the decision to release what sound like half-finished tracks purposefully left in the draft folder somewhat misguided, the album doesn’t do anything to tarnish his legacy. Instead, there are moments where it shows how capable of an artist Åhr was, a gentle reminder of the stardom Lil Peep could have achieved.
- Release date: November 15
- Record label: Columbia