Lil Peep has gotten used to people hating him. Facetiming from a couch in his Los Angeles apartment, the 20-year-old songwriter made an observation that’ll seem obvious to anyone who has encountered his slurry amalgam of mopey vocals and rim-rattling 808s. He let his freshly re-dyed black hair hang in front of his phone camera, temporarily obscuring the tattoo that screams “CRYBABY” across his right eyebrow. “I’m very… controversial for some reason,” he said, with at least some amount of glee.
Peep was born as Gustav Åhr on Long Island, in “the shittiest fucking suburbs ever.” As with many creative misfits from non-cities, he didn’t really get along with many people. “They were like the stereotypical high schoolers from the movies,” he explained. “It’s hard to find people you fuck with.” He spent a lot of time alone, and finished school in a low-pressure online program that required only a single essay a week, which he said his mom usually ended up writing for him.
Since he either hated (or was hated by) most of the kids he knew personally, Peep spent his teenage years holed up in his room, taking comfort in rap and punk records before eventually developing a fascination with weirder internet-based acts. All the while, he battled periods of depression and suicidal thoughts, vaguely defined darknesses that he still confronts in his life and music. “I was completely alone,” he said of his younger years. “Being suicidal is a weird feeling. You get really reckless. And then in moments where I came really close to doing something stupid, I would go to music for help.” He had the internet to rely on, though; it’s how he first got involved with the underground rap circuit he orbits today. He said it actually saved his life.