Lil Peep Credit: Courtesy the artist

LA rapper Gustav Åhr, better known as Lil Peep, was a child when emo’s third wave crashed onto the Billboard charts. For Peep and a smattering of other underground MCs, emo in its most popular form—notoriously defined by the masses in terms of its quasi-gothic fashions rather than, well, its music—has been part of the pop lexicon since they came of age. It was only a matter of time till someone spiked rap’s punch bowl with pop-punk and third-wave emo, and though Peep isn’t alone in doing it, he’s figured out a blend that doesn’t feel like a put-on. His drawn-out rap-singing owes as much to the Used’s anxious yelps as it does to chopped-and-screwed rap remixes, and when he hits his stride on September’s self-released Hellboy, it barely seems to matter what influences he’s blurring together. Not that everybody is getting the message. A January Pitchfork profile not only emphasizes his proclivity for rapping about suicide but also notes that his hairdo is influenced by the dyed locks of My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way. The story’s headline calls Peep “the future of emo,” a suggestion that seems to purposefully miss the mark for the sake of provocation—Peep’s music does have an alt-rock accent, but it speaks in hip-hop.   v