On Nov. 16 of last year, we lost one of music’s most talented rising artists. Born in Pennsylvania and raised on Long Island, New York, before moving to Los Angeles at 17, the man born Gustav Åhr had successfully carved out his own lane: a unique hybrid of emo, rock and hip-hop. Aside from his cultlike following and viral presence on YouTube, Lil Peep shone thanks to the authenticity in his music. These were records that his fans could not only relate to but confide in. His lyrics touched on real-life struggles we all face, experience and hopefully, in time, overcome.
As Peep’s close friends and family continue to grieve, we’re presented with the opportunity to celebrate the late rapper in the form of fashion. Just five days ago, a photo of Lil Peep rocking a pink Sus Boy T-shirt was posted to his Instagram with the caption “POP UP ??????????”. The date (3.17.18) revealed a pop-up shop would be taking place for fans to buy their favorite merch.
The morning of, Sus Boy revealed the address along with hours of operation. Arriving toward the latter half of the day, I was informed I was lucky enough to miss the huge crowd and long lines to get in. Upon entering the parking lot, I immediately noticed the groups of kids, dressed in punk rock/emo attire — clearly Lil Peep disciples. Entering the building, I was greeted by large, bright portraits of Lil Peep at the front. To the left was the room with all the clothing, as each piece was respectfully hung and displayed on the surrounding walls.
The four racks of clothing in the middle helped attendees navigate which size and style fit best and how many pieces they could cop.
I thought this trip would be heavy and emotional but it turned out to be quite the opposite. Being an addict myself, Peep’s death affected me in ways I could not comprehend. The evening my friend texted me to ask if the news was true, I froze. I called my brother, who didn’t seem to understand the magnitude of the situation. Please, no more lyrics about Xanax, molly, Percocet, etc. Please.
On a brighter note, Lil Peep’s team is doing an excellent job of diverting the negativity and keeping Lil Peep’s legacy out there. There was music in the background as individuals came in and out, admiring and purchasing pieces from the collection.
On my way out, I ran into Sus Boy himself.
He said, “The ironic thing about working on this project was … you say some people put themselves into their artwork. And he was so bold that we actually put chopped up pieces of face in such a punk, almost Sex Pistols kind of way. And now he quite literally lives in the artwork. He literally put himself in the artwork.” This made me wonder how Sus Boy and Peep crossed paths in the first place.
“I was genuinely connected,” he said. “Chase (Peep’s manager) brought me in. And basically, I became best friends with Peep the first day that I met him. We left the meeting and thought it would be better to go to my house or his house afterward, so we went to his house. And we kind of became inseparable whenever he was in L.A.”
As Sus Boy spoke, his face lit up. It was obvious the memories he shared were powerfully positive. On top of that, Lil Peep’s stardom comes as a direct result of his hard work, dedication and relentless passion.
“Working next to him was like working next to someone for eight hours,” he states. “There’s not that many friends that actually sit with you and have the kind of momentum or stamina to keep going, but we hit that 2 a.m. mark and I was like, ‘Let’s start the next shirt.’”
This was followed by a laugh, as I asked him to reveal his greatest memory of Peep.
“I had my whole team riding my back, kind of trusting me,” Sus Boy said. “And Peep had his whole team. We were kinda stretching to do more than we could at the time, like big stage — rental for the whole studio — rehearsal. And basically Peep shows up zombied, dead on the couch, no one could wake him up. We’re right at the point where people were gonna say this is fucked — dude springs up out of nowhere, jumps up on the mic, lays down the entire set and basically kills it in rehearsal. And that’s something — most rappers miss their rehearsals altogether or show up and do a few songs. And kind of like burn out of steam. So I’ve never seen anyone do such a 180. He told us to trust him and let him sleep. We let him sleep. We had an hour or two left and that was the best rehearsal I’ve ever had.”