The music world had lost one of its most innovative and excellent young artists when the SoundCloud rapper Lil Peep ingested a fatal amount of Xanax and fentanyl when he was at the back of his tour bus in 2018. Yet despite his loss, Lil Peep will continue to become the face of today’s rap generation.
Back in the year 2015, the SoundCloud rapper Peep, whose birth name is Gus Ahr showed how different he is from other artists and performers within his genre by catering audiences with his innovative combination of 2000s emo and pop-punk, along with some Memphis hip-hop. With this fusing, he was able to create music that directly shows his brand of “no fucks given” rock artist.
Directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan and executive producers Terrence Malik and Liza Womack, who is also Peep’s mother, sat in Austin’s Alamo Lamar Theater along with the other members of the rapper’s family while waiting for the world premiere of Everybody’s Everything to begin. The next couple of hours revealed a tragic yet beautiful film that sums up the life and rise of the young and troubled rapper.
John Womack, a famous Latin American historian and also Peep’s grandfather, instilled and taught revolutionary and anti-establishment sentiments upon his grandson even at an early age. Peep processed the learnings he got from his grandfather in his own way by having the words “Cry Baby” tattooed mainly across his face. According to the explanation of his friends and family in the film, Peep sees the large tattoo as a daily reminder that the world has got more significant problems beyond his own suburban middle-class angst. Growing up without s father figure to look upon, Peep looked up upon the intellectual and gracious John, who never judged his choices but instead gave him advice in both personal and hand-written letters that he got from his own experiences in life. As Malick suggested, the film showed a part where Peep’s grandfather was reading many of his letters to his grandson in a slow and deep speaking voice. This was paired with beautiful and soothing footage of Peep, creating lyrical visual poetry that shows the life of the excellent young artist.
Ramez Silyan, the film’s co-director, has always bee a part of Peep’s career even in its early stage. He was the one who directed the video for “Girls” back in the late part of 2016. Silyan has also traveled with the young rapper on tour and served as his videographer. For this reason, the film felt historical and nostalgic while recalling the underground years of Peep in the industry– something that could not have been done if the film was produced by someone who did not have been with Peep for a long time. For the first time, a film that was produced presents a very accurate, nuanced, and detailed explanation of the birth of a sound and collective from several young men who were often lost, broke, and even homeless sometimes.
Furthermore, Peep’s appeal has naturally grown from the emo-trap music that he helped in creating and cultivating. The film also showed interviews from internationally-acclaimed record producers like Jucy j and Rob Cavallo describing how vital the sonic legacy that Peep left is. Cavallo even compared the young rapper’s techniques to the likes of Parliament-Funkadelic as well as Prince.
As the film showed how Peep’s career rise, it also showed a video of the drugs he would take so he could calm his nerves and increase the persona that both his fans and shows demanded him to have. As per his management’s advice, despite the sadness of his friends and Gothboiclique, the young artist left behind his life in Skid Row. He then moved to London for a new life, where he got professional studio sessions, as well as a runway debut at the Paris Fashion Week’s 2017 Balmain show. This is where the height of Peep’s career began. Besides, Peep was seen in the film as genuinely happy and living out his wildest dreams as a famous pop artist through beautifully edited montages.
Peep’s grandfather continued reading his letters, this time becoming more urgent. Worry was seen among his friends and peers as the rapper becomes dependent on his lifestyle as a rockstar while getting introduced to more parties and drugs.
The party suddenly stopped, and a black screen was displayed along with an audio of a 911 call that was never heard before. In the call, a troubled manager can be heard talking to a dispatcher saying that they needed an ambulance and that they are working with an artist who was at the back of their tour bus and was not waking up. In addition, the film offered some analysis of how the situation must have been prevented, yet no blame was put into anyone.
As the question and answer part of the post-screening started, the audience in the theater cannot help but openly cry and sob while reminiscing their memory of a friend and pop icon who has been gone too soon. The film, created by the talented Terrence Malick, portrayed a meaningful message that is more than just a tribute to the fallen yet ever-remembered young artist. Instead, the film showed an in-depth analysis of how someone feels to be a fast-growing pop icon in a hyper-capitalist, money-driven, and image-obsessed industry. It also showed how a person’s legacy can only be appreciated after their life has ended. One thing is for sure, Peep has touched the lives of thousands of his fans with his music. Also, his persona and contribution not only to the world of music but also to the world would always be adored even now that he is gone. Lastly, even though Peep’s life is over, he will still continue to touch the lives of other people who will watch and analyze the film Everybody’s Everything on the years that will come.
Date: May 8, 2020 / Categories: New Stuff, / Author: E O
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