Born Gustav Elijah Åhr to white Harvard graduate parents, in suburban Pennsylvania of all places, Lil Peep stormed the independent music industry with his own brand of “Mumble Rap,” a genre that is defined by its unlimited amount of genre mashups and has its melodic flows and indecipherable lyrics mixed in with a thematic consciousness about anxiety, depression and being a millennial.
At one point in Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan’s Lil Peep documentary, “Everybody’s Everything,” a thoroughly watchable, if not even hypnotic, delve into Ahr’s short life, you start to realize that this depressed kid, despite all the rabid praise that he is receiving, will not make it. If you don’t know the story, on November 17th, 2017, Lil Peep was found dead due to a drug overdose in the back of his tour bus outside the Tucson, Arizona venue where he’d been scheduled to perform. The film barely scratches on what was, by all accounts, an addiction to drugs; his body tested positive for everything, from cannabis and cocaine, to Tramadol, benzos and oxycodone. No, what Jones and Silyan’s doc would rather have their narrative concentrate on is the rough childhood the rapper had, with his abusive father completely abandoning the family, as well as Peep’s struggles with anxiety and depression and how his naivety led him to allow the people around him take advantage of his accelerating fame.
Leftist historian John Womack, a Rhodes Scholar whose dissertation on Zapata and the Mexican Revolution earned him a professorship at Harvard, was his grandfather, and father figure, who wrote hundreds of letters to his grandson throughout childhood and adulthood. These heartrending letters are read by Womack himself in the doc, a sort of manifesto on how to live your life in commendable and socialist-driven ways. Do good unto others, share the wealth, be free of all negative assumptions — something Peep tried to do but which also contributed to his impending downfall as he turned out to be too kind and too good-hearted to the ravenous and jealous “friends” that surrounded him on a daily basis.
Everybody’s Everything” is a requiem of sorts, albeit on paper it looks like a familiar account of the rise and fall sagas we know all too well about when it comes to musicians that left us all-too-soon (cue in Joni, Jimi, Amy and co). However, this story is different, using a millennial-driven setting of social media and fame to hone down its message. It’s also a historic account of an impeccable talent who bared his heart and soul in his nakedly honest lyrics and was part of a counter-culture movement that signified the immense problem that is occurring with today’s disassociated youth. You can feel Peep crying for help in every frame. [B+]