You’re probably asking, “Who the fuck is Lil Peep?” It’s a valid question—a lot of people still aren’t aware of the rising star’s existence, but if the music industry has anything to say about it, everyone will be talking about him soon enough.
There’s a lot to unpack with Peep, but I’ll stick to the notable details: First off, he has industry mogul Cara Lewis on his team. If you’ve listened to mainstream hip-hop over the last few decades, you’ve come across some of her doing. She has helped guide the careers of Eminem, Tupac Shakur and Kanye West, just to name a few—and now she’s backing Peep.
Secondly, P’s social media stats are, quite frankly, ridiculous. Since gaining momentum near the end of 2015 with his first mixtape, LIL PEEP PART ONE, his numbers have only kept rising. The YouTube stream for his most recent single, “Benz Truck,” reached 1 million views within its first week, and has since climbed above 3.5 million.
On Instagram, it soon won’t be uncommon for his posts to receive over 100,000 favorites—his audience is increasing with every post Twitter is the same story: It isn’t uncommon for his tweets to receive a few thousand retweets. And although his Facebook page isn’t as developed as his Instagram or Twitter, his post-by-post engagement is increasing daily.
Alright, now let’s dive a little deeper: Peep is a member of the GothBoiClique, which is a collective of musicians, producers and creatives who all tend to operate within the same mall emo-meets-internet trap musicality. In other words, they love Warped Tour 2007 just as much as they love Coachella 2017. (Funny side-note: The only actual connection the GBC has to the underground scene is co-founder Adam Mcllwee, who is the former vocalist/guitarist for indie/pop-punk band Tigers Jaw. Mcllwee is currently releasing music under the name Wicca Phase Springs Eternal.)
Now, obviously we can’t talk about Peep and not discuss his image and overall narrative. In short, the 20-year-old Long Island native is being made into a depressed, face-tattooed drug addict who has constant relationship issues, but at the same time, a poster boy for the millennial generation. Despite boasting vulgar and frequently offensive lyrics, it’s evident by his growing concert crowds and social engagement that Peep’s message is resonating with today’s youth—whether that’s a good thing or not is up for you to decide.
Love him or hate him, it’s becoming more and more difficult to deny Peep’s presence. Although he has no real ties to alternative music, he has been hailed as “the future of emo” by Pitchfork, and of his songs on SoundCloud are tagged as alternative rock. Instead of associating his image with the hip-hop community, Peep and his team are attempting to revive emo’s mainstream peak in 2017. And although the alternative scene is a little behind, Kerrang! recently become the first of that world to post about P, and subsequently give him a print feature. Expect Alternative Press and Rock Sound to be doing the same in the near future.
Still not convinced Peep is ushering in a new wave of millennial rockstars? Check this out: Rob Cavallo is a producer on Peep’s debut album, Come Over When You’re Sober (which is due out later this year). Cavallo is not only the CEO of Warner Bros. Records, but has produced albums such as Green Day’s American Idiot, My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, and Paramore’s Brand New Eyes, among other notable releases. (And apparently P made the album in “four or five days“—he’s a “productive junkie.”)
It’s safe to say that the pawns are being put into place to make Lil Peep an icon—will you be listening?