Lil Peep, aka Gustav Ahr, died on Nov. 15 of this month at the age of 21 in Tucson, Arizona. According to the New York Times, the evidence pointed to overdose of Xanax. His death was sudden and unexpected and sent his fans into great sadness and remorse. After his death, controversy ensued after the public learned that his death was caused by possible intentional overdose.
Ahr was known for his mental disabilities and this reflected in the lyrics of his songs. While he was alive, Ahr spoke openly on his drug use and suicidal tendencies and past. Music was something that was sacred to the star; he said music saved his life.
Ahr’s career has steadily flourishing when his death shocked the media and brought even more attention to his name and music. Though his career was just beginning, he is believed to have made a lasting impression on the media.
Some people saw this tragedy as a time to speak on how influential he was for the hip- hop and emo music industry. He was known for blending the two genres and creating something new for both communities. Some, however, commented on the glorification of his drug abuse surrounding his death.
Lil Peep’s Instagram is riddled with videos and pictures of himself taking assorted pills and drugs along with alcohol. While his mental issues were severe and needed to be treated, this is the way he coped, making it seem acceptable to the young and impressionable fans he had. His death and lifestyle choices are still tragic and could’ve been avoided with the proper care, but his platform most likely put him in a position that made drug use almost a necessity.
The hip-hop industry is centered around making music around drugs, sex and money. It’s no secret that the music industry as a whole is corrupt and insensitive to the lives of entertainers. The recent incidents with entertainment symbols such as Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey and others display what the morality is like in such atmospheres.
These industries rely on using such resources to bring certain “aesthetics” or to make one look cool or desirable. Drug abuse, selfishness or incompetency should never be something to make anyone strive towards. The public figures are typically paid to maintain such images as well.
Regardless of the situation, we as a society should make options readily available for those suffering from mental illness and try to help in productive and healthy ways rather than making those in need feel they need to self-medicate as Lil Peep did. To stop endorsing companies and figures that advocate these unhealthy and immoral ways would hopefully begin to put a stop to the epidemic.
While I don’t know exactly what he went through as a person, hopefully his fans and people in general can finally recognize that drug abuse is not the answer to any problem and can ultimately cause death. Hopefully the all- too-early death of Lil Peep will be a lesson to learn from when making life decisions.