Sebastian Jones And Ramez Silyan’s Lil Peep Documentary “Everybody’s Everything” Reviewed
It is impossible to keep ahead of the musical zeitgeist in the 21st century, the best you can hope is to stumble onto it. From Adele to Lorde, I’ve missed a ton of stuff in the 2010s, but, because of taste, and because of chance, I didn’t miss mumble rap, Soundcloud Rap, call it whatever you want. I didn’t miss the late Lil Peep -finished off with a deadly mix of fentanyl and Xanax, and that has everything to do with a love of melody. Lil Peep’s emo meets rap meets trap while completely fucked up on cough medicine slur was tuneful, melodic, and different. I went to see him at the Highline Halloween 2017, two weeks before he died, but it was too hard for me to see a thing and I left early.
Peep was a Long Island kid who started posting songs in 2014, released his first mixtape in 2015, and was dead by 2017. His music remains as a reminder of what wasn’t but would have been, this was a sound of young America, lonely, depressive, druggy, with girls a mystery and boys, his posse, the only thing between himself and superstardom.
The nearly two hour memento mori, executive produced by Peep’s Grandfather’s friend Terence Malik, uses film and music, interviews and memories, to tell the story of the charismatic but deeply wounded young man who surrounded himself with friends and then gave into the constant drugs and partying, two months without sleep on tour, as one member of his entourage puts it, while he took care of all his friends but had to hide in the wardrobe of his own home to cry. After going from Long Island to Los Angeles, where he lived on Skid Row, he eventually left the hangers on and the letches behind him but not in time. His family have sued his management for providing him with drugs.
The problem with the pretty good “Everybody’s Everything” is that it doesn’t concentrate on the most important aspect of Peep, his music. Sadly, the 2010s have seen an epidemic of young people dying from Fentanyl but we are not here for a lesson in the wages of stardom. We are here to discover how he went from the great, acoustic strum “Beamer Boy” to the great emo folk “walk away as the door closes” -enormously sad song, but all of them are. When Peep is angry in a song he doesn’t sound violent and more in need of a hug, a shout out, a sing along “Benz Truck” with trap beats and on record it is just a sinking dread and on stage turning ‘you can suck my dick” into something it really isn’t, a joining in while it is a shutting out.
Lil’ Bo Peep with a brand new bitch
In the back of the club with the GothBoiClique
Iced out teeth on an iced out whip
With the limousine tints, you can suck my dick
Friends switch up when you in a Benz truck (skrrt)
Always wanna fuck, tell a bitch, “Good luck”
Always wanna fuck ’cause I just came up, yeah
Peep (born Gus Ahr) was the son of kindergarten teacher and a Harvard Professor, whose divorce sent him reeling. Peep’s Grandfather, social activist and historian John Womack, is friends with Malick and while Womack is certainly a gifted raconteur, he gets a little too much before the end with all the voiceovers.
Everybody seems to miss the point a little, Peep had a real gift and given a little more time would have been a huge pop star but what killed him wasn’t hangers on, or drugs, or exhaustion, it was bad luck. For teens and early twenties, drugs are russian roulette and when you add a drug much stronger than heroin you are playing with five bullets in the chamber. The brilliant young man seemed to be a loser (the face tattoos) but he had won the music sweepstake and came up with a sound perfect for the lonely, computer bound, sensitive, climate afeared, murdered in class, last great Generation white Americana -he sounded like the way they think they feel. It is the greatest of gifts and it was just gone.
Sebastian Jones And Ramez Silyan are stuck with all this film of a bunch of half grown men acting like fucked up idiots, which is what they were doing, but Peep’s collective Schemaposse were stuck on L.A.’s Skid Row while making music that would turn emo and rap completely into their own image. It’s as if the directors just keep on missing the story in front of their faces. Let’s see how Peep, ILOVEMAKONNEN, JGRXXN, Ghostemane, Lil Tracey did it -since we are watching Iphone filmed fly on the wall stuff, show us that stuff. Lil Tracey released a good album last year (his father was in Digital Planets and Shabazz Palace, he has the right DNA), so it was a sound that was born to grow and expand (the album, Anarchy, stiffed and I myself missed it entirely).
The directors don’t quite capture this stuff: Lil Peep comes across as a voice of his generation and you can see (he would double as a model, his tattooed face and body a living work of art) and hear it, what you don’t know is how he did it.