Theo Kubovy-Weiss (theo-kubovy-weiss)

Theo Kubovy-Weiss ('22) is an Arts and Entertainment writer. He writes mostly about music, focusing on popular and important artists' backgrounds, development, influences, and impact on music. He's been a writer for the department since freshman year and has enjoyed the opportunity to share information and his opinions on his favorite music.

Artist Profile: The Raw, Candid Lil Peep

In a world where popular music is often bland and almost overly palatable, finding music that is gritty, raw, and honest, both musically and lyrically, is often a challenge. In recent years, however, we have seen a rise of artists whose music defies the convention of agreeability without complexity. This is because it’s refreshing to listeners to have (often gratuitously) explicit and graphic lyrics in contrast to the clean, easy-to-listen-to music that we have become accustomed to. One artist who has led the rise of this grittier type of music is Lil Peep, whose dark and raw sound has amassed a cult following. Peep’s music is unreserved and unrelentingly offensive: with innumerable mentions of drugs, sex, and violence in his lyrics, his music appears to be abrasive on the surface. However, behind the explicit imagery, Peep’s music is uniquely honest, open, and vulnerable. Whereas other artists tend to shy away from subjects like depression, suicide, loneliness, and isolation, Peep confronts these issues head-on. On his first mixtape, “Hellboy” (2016), Peep rejects the impulse to make easily digestible, widely appealing music which we see in many artists’ debuts; he defines his sound from the beginning and doesn’t shy away from expressing his true self. On the song “OMFG,” Peep refers to his suicidal tendencies with the lyrics, “Used to wanna kill myself / Came up, still wanna kill myself / My life is going nowhere / I want everyone to know that I don't care.” On the following track, “Drive-By,” Peep mentions his struggles with drug addiction, singing, “I don't wanna die alone right now, but I admit I do sometimes / These drugs are callin' me, do one more line, don't fall asleep.” Peep’s music is a continuation of the emo rock of the ‘90s from bands like My Chemical Romance, modernized with influences from trap and hip-hop; Peep reinvigorated the genre after it had fallen out of fashion. Further, the hollow, powerful, and impassioned sound of Peep’s voice made the merge of the two genres seamless. On artists’ sophomore records, we often see a development of their style—an improvement upon their debuts. However, on Peep’s second mixtape, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1” (2017), there is very little development upon the sound of “Hellboy,” and for good reason: his sound is fresh and new enough that it requires no adaptation. After having effectively created a new genre, Peep saw no need to change what did not need to be fixed. “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1” saw Peep’s first mainstream success with the song “Awful Things” reaching 79 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Peep’s music achieved more mainstream success, this did not affect the music itself; it remains what it has always been: explicit, obscene, and honest. The tape features tracks like “Better Off (Dying),” which confronted Peep’s struggle with his sexuality. “Cocaine lined up, secrets that I'm hiding / You don't wanna find out, better off lying / You don't wanna cry now, better off dying.” By letting his guard down completely and pouring his heart into his lyrics, Peep finally received the recognition he deserved for his revolutionary style of music. However, the success was short-lived. Just three months after the release of his sophomore mixtape, Lil Peep died of an accidental drug overdose. While the event was of course tragic, it was no secret that Lil Peep often veered close to the edge of death, whether through his suicidal tendencies or drug use. Notably, Peep seemed remarkably accepting of his proximity to death. Peep left behind a newly-formed genre, a wildly passionate fanbase, and an enormous arsenal of unreleased music. Just under a year after his death, Peep’s posthumous album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2,” was released. Unlike many other posthumous albums that seem poorly pieced-together and incoherent, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” (2018) is remarkably congruous. Just as was the case with his sophomore mixtape, Peep’s style remains consistent. Led by “Falling Down,” a collaboration with XXXTentacion, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” is Peep’s most popular album to date and cemented his place as a truly profound and forward-thinking figure in popular music. In the time since his initial rise, Peep has paved the way for other artists to be similarly honest and open in their lyrics. While prior to his music, modern artists often eschewed graphic and personal subject matter in their lyrics, Peep familiarized the public with these concepts in popular music. Artists like XXXTentacion, Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD and Lil Skies have all achieved fame and success (often greater than that of Peep) with similar styles of music. Thus, while Peep’s career had an abrupt ending, his legacy in the music world lives on forever.

Issue 1, Volume 110