Thoughts on the Death of Lil Peep
In his life, I thought Peep was the antithesis of what I stood for and what I believed Hip Hop to be about. I saw a wealthy white boy glammed up in diamonds, gucci and face tattoos glorifying drug abuse and materialism to teenage girls.
But I was projecting. I was looking at something new that I didn't understand and instead of investing energy and stretching my compassion in order to understand who this guy was and what he meant for Hip Hop and youth culture I wanted to brush it under the rug as something silly.
In his death I am hit with cold realization and I am coming around. I now see that the things that I disliked in Peep were the things that I was afraid of succumbing to. I realize now that the aspects of his music and presumed lifestyle that I didn't vibe with are the proverbial "elephants in the room" in the conversation on America, youth culture and Hip Hop as a whole.
How long must we watch these patterns unfold in front of us? Peep wasn't just a prosthelitizing idol in the culture of self deprication and abuse, he is one of it's ultimate victims. He was a young guy who felt a lot of pain, and that pain was amplified by millions of kids around the world who resonated with it.
In Peep, kids found rebellion, carelessness, individuality, independence, they saw a hero in the face of all of the suffering that they were feeling internally and they saw him as an example of a way out of that pain. The real fans saw Peep as a shining example of how to deal with the suffering of modern society. They saw someone who was tender yet tough, someone who was escaping the turmoil of broken homes and broken relationships through escapism. That escapism was drugs, partying and materialism. I don't blame Peep for this, he was just a kid. This is what worked for him.
Until it didn't.
"I was expecting this call for a year" - says his manager... And weren't we all? Aren't we all watching this intense spiritual sickness and understanding that at any moment the floor can collapse under us? How many dead heros do we need?
I have always thought that Hip Hop was about beauty, freedom, revolution, connection to our highest energies.
But if we want Hip Hop and life in general to be about those things, we, as a society, must address the traps that we are in.
Most of this country is taking perscription pills. Most of this country will be killed by the food that we eat. Life expectancy for the coming generation is moving downward for the first time in history. Suicide rates, mass shootings, drug overdoses, all on the rise. Nancy Raegan failed. The DEA profits off of your drug abuse and improsinment, it doesn't prevent it. Our president is literally a sociopath with his finger on the nuclear trigger. There are American military bases in over 80 countries and our country spreads the empire like cancerous growth breeding enemies. Internally, Americans are living in a deep sickness caused by the way that we treat our bodies, our planet and each other. Lil Peep was not a proponent of this sickness, he was just one of the latest kids taken by it.
"Sometimes life gets fucked up, thats why we get fucked up, I can still feel your touch, that's why I do those same drugs" - Lil Peep
Peep Was an artist. He was a brave and charismatic MC who was able to uncover and express deep emotions that resonated with millions of people. I wanted to look at him and blame him for the content of his music because I couldn't look at myself and bear that same responsibility. But it is. It is OUR responsibility to restore the minds and souls of our youth. It is OUR responsibility to bear our collective pain. We must stop killing our heros.
We must stop glorifying self deprication and self mutilation (physical/spiritual/mental). We must STOP escaping the responsibilites of creating a happy and healthy society.
I know, it's hard.
You can't blame a toddler for eating sugar. You can't (entirely) blame an 18 year old for eating xanax. You have to look at why, what led to these choices and what was the alternative? Did we provide a path for a young kid full of passion and confusing emotions to grow into a well adjusted leader of his community with millions of eyes on him? Or did we just "Truman Show" another victim, sentencing him to entertain us to the death, the internet being the modern coliseum for a gladiator struggling with complex emotions while trying to find himself?
Why do we support a criminal prescription drug industry that profits off of the death of our country? Why do we support a criminal music industry that sells these drugs to our youth in the face of an ever-growing body count? Why do we support a criminal political system which ignores our struggles while murdering for land and oil overseas? Do these things seem disconnected to you? They are not, they are all symptoms of our disease.
We will either address these issues or we will lose the coming generations in the same way we lost Lil Peep. Be a voice for your community, be a leader to those around you, be a brother and a sister and a friend to the youth. We are all we have.
Rest in Peace Lil Peep, thanks for your contributions to music and for talking about pain that so many of us have felt.