Lil Peep is dead from expected overdose at 21.

Lil Peep’s Rap-Rock Album Sounds Like a Hit

Update: Another album is out next week, according to a tweet Lil Peep posted and deleted. OK. We can review that one, too.

These past few years, Long Island-to-Los Angeles transplant Lil Peep has been pulling off a precarious musical construction: 2000s emo rock mixed with appropriations from Future and Gucci Mane. His aesthetic formed before our eyes on the brilliant Crybaby and Hellboy, fueled by drugs and incubated by Gothboiclique—the genius crew of rock defectors, rap misfits and IG style icons. Many sold out shows later, here Peep stands, enjoying the benefit of looking exactly like Justin Bieber in our white supremacist world, with his distinct style catching on and gunning for the mainstream with Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One).

Compared to his earlier work, the album sounds cleaned-up and streamlined, emphasizing the rock angle. Day one fans may say he fell off, but it has future popularity written all over it.


Murmured anthem “Benz Truck” is already popping with over five million views on YouTube of a dreamlike video where Peep flexes on a bunch of sheep in a field. The song sounds like Xanax feels, and there’s a reason (besides his big time management, First Access Entertainment) that Peep recently modeled at Milan Fashion Week. His visual presentation is arresting—dipped in neon, Sosa-esque pigtails whipping in the wind. “Brightside” is already out and hitting, too— straightforward pop rock with hi-hat triplets, a road dog’s tale of drugs and depression.


Awful Things” should be the breakout, a finesser’s ode to masochism disguised as a breakup jam. The song features Peep asking for abuse on the catchiest hook of the album (he says it makes him feel better). His best friend in rap, Lil Tracy, contributes a verse (the album’s lone feature) setting an anime/vampire-ish scene similar to his and Peep’s Gothboiclique classics: “Speeding away/ The city in the rearview/ Heart racing/ Whenever I’m near you/ Goth Boi jumping off stage/ Carry me away/ Carry me away…”

“Better Off (Dying)” sounds like a single, too. (To be honest, all seven songs sound like singles.) Peep paints the same pictures as the ones in Future’s “Rich Sex,” but the gist of the song is about how Peep “ain’t gonna make it.” His partner ain’t gonna make it, either, apparently. We all ain’t gonna make it.

There’s a lot of “27 club” references in SoundCloud rap, fantasies about early deaths and suicide. Lil Peep is a big player in that.

Here the message is vague enough that it could apply broadly across Gen Z America, a major part of Peep’s fanbase. Nobody’s going to get social security and retirement is an empty dream. Might as well tattoo your face freely, if you want—nothing matters anyway. Of course singing the blues can be therapeutic, but apathy is a disease and suicidal ideation can be addicting. We should all be careful.

“U Said” features an exciting switch-up halfway through, a slow song that fades into a fist-pumping jam about how “Sometimes life gets fucked up/ That’s why we get fucked up.” Peep works very well in this emo-banger mode (which he invented), using a stabbing cadence reminiscent of the Hellboy highlight “Walk Away As the Door Slams.”

Depressed as he is, Peep can also offer mischievous fun with his music (check out “Hollywood Dreaming” with Gab3, one of the loosies leading up to this record). That’s missing on this album.

Part of that absence happens because there are no samples. Sampling has been a shortcut for Peep and his producers to create levity and make high-brow/low-brow references— chopping up the Microphones for the hipster audience, blending in Pierce the Veil for the Warped Tour crowd. Throughout Peep’s arc, taking both routes simultaneously has suggested an underlying skepticism about the concept of “cool.” His famous ‘fits made a similar point: Gosha Rubchinskiy worn with UGG, designer stuff that’s expensive and can be hard to find paired with basic stuff you can buy at the mall. It’s all good, Peep seemed to say. Whatever you think is cool, that’s cool. Personally, it’s one of the aspects about him I appreciated most.

The notion of that commentary is gone in the music, now, replaced by palm-muted guitar power chords which convey pop punk at face value. It’s a slight bummer, but probably better for introducing Peep to the mainstream that he tries this more uniform, insular sound.

Longtime producer Smokeasac, remains but the new formula involves new players. Juan Alderete from Racer X and Mars Volta plays bass, and among a few new co-writers is the legendary Rob Cavallo, who won hella Grammys producing Green Day, My Chemical Romance and Linkin Park. It’s no wonder everything sounds so careful and professional, Cavallo’s whole lane is commercial rock hits. Where a different guitar-focused co-writer/producer might have boosted Lil Peep’s rap standing (Mike Dean would have killed this album), Cavallo is a savvy choice, one I didn’t see coming but that now makes perfect sense. Much is gained by his approach, but some je ne sais quois is lost. Compare Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One) to Lil Tracy’s own recent pop punk jam “Drunk Punx.” Notice the difference between strategically going for the gold versus just wilding out and having fun with a fresh style.

Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One) hammers its dead serious vibe, down to the title, but remains engaging because it’s short, well-crafted and Peep sells the hell out of his character and fusion swag. Call it rap, call it pop, call it “emo-trap” if you must. It’s here and it’s sounding like a hit. In the end my hat is off to Lil Peep and I think this album is smartly played. He saw a new phase of rap rock coming, he’s up to the challenge of being that dude in the spotlight, and he’s definitely given something to teens (and teens-at-heart) to bump this fall while walking around kicking leaves, feeling emo as fuck. Here’s hoping Part Two comes out this winter when the depression really hits.

Related Posts


PREMIERE: Lil Durk Runs the Court on “Baller”


When Will Lil Tracy Break Out Of SoundCloud Purgatory?


Listen to New Lil Snupe Music and Watch 22 Minutes of an Upcoming Documentary


Lil Uzi Vert ‘Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World’


SUPER… With Lil Yachty


Latest News

nas-rapture Film


Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over