Everybody’s Everything, the illuminating new documentary out today (November 15), is the story of Lil Peep as a revolutionary musician, human, and web of connections. The ascent of the genre-blurring rapper – born Gustav Elijah Ahr – from 2015 to 2017, is only part of the story; here, viewers are exposed to his upbringing and the circumstances that led to his untimely death on November 15, 2017. The film is about context, and there’s a lot of it from the perspectives of his family, his close collaborators, and famous pals like ILoveMakonnen and Juicy J — all mystified by the man behind the tattoos and brightly colored hair.
With so much unreleased archive footage showing how he lived his life and the ways it changed, the film acts as a time machine that takes you along for the ride as well, celebrating the success while growing anxious at the warning signs that things could possibly go horribly wrong. And yet, although the story’s ending is sad, Lil Peep’s life was anything but. He was a mystical, charismatic young star who connected so many as he spun a growing web in the music industry, forever changing the lives of not only the fans who have a vault of music to remember him by, but the people that rubbed shoulders with him as well.
Here’s what we learned from Everybody’s Everything.
Lil Peep was creative from the start
In one of the earliest clips of the film, Lil Peep attempts to get the microphone from someone offscreen. He can’t be more than 4 years old and though he can’t talk, he’s anxious to create some kind of routine for everyone to hear. Some of this imagination could be found in a short story he wrote called 3 Little Gangstas. It’s a funny riff on The Three Little Pigs that features 2Pac, Diddy, and “Fitty” (presumably 50 Cent), who have to build houses to keep an evil cop away. “Gus had a way about him,” his third-grade teacher Irma Camacho says in the doc. “One thing that got me was his creativity as an artist and a writer.”
He wasn’t a fan of high school
Peep’s teens were a turbulent time. Aside from his parents getting divorced in 10th grade, he also had to contend with bullying from classmates. “They were all judging him for his tattoos, not applying to jobs, and smoking pot,” his grandmother, Jenny Kastner, reveals. “He felt like an absolute loser… He would throw up in the morning before he had to go.”
His rap name was inspired by his mom
Peep’s first rap name was unique but goofy: “Trap Goose.” But one day, when hanging out with then girlfriend Emma, he decided he wanted to change the name to Lil Peep. Why? His mother called him that. “I thought it was weird and sounded like ‘Lil Penis,’” Emma says. Even though she playfully teased him about it, he took it anyway.
He found his confidence his first real show
Around 2015, when he was getting some musical buzz, Peep was contacted by Jgrxxn, the founder of a rap-rock collective named Schemaposse. Jgrxxn told Peep that he would “blow him up” and put him on the lineup of his first show in Tucson on February 13, 2016 in front of “30 or 40 kids.” When Peep played his early hit “Beamer Boy,” the entire crowd jumped around. Everyone knew the words. “At that point, he was really happy,” Jgrxxn says. “From that show, he started to believe, ‘I can actually do this shit.’”
He explains his “Cry Baby” tattoo
The gigantic “Cry Baby” tattoo that sat above Lil Peep’s right eye wasn’t just a piece of art. He had told family and friends about his wish to avoid a normal life and job, so he made sure to get extremely visible body ink. “Cry Baby” was different though. “There are people fighting to survive, so I live all for them,” Peep says in archived footage. “That’s why I got the tattoo – to keep me grateful and to not be a cry baby. I look at it every time that I’m in the mirror.”
His substance-abuse problems affected his stage presence
“Everyone wanted to feed him drugs and they wanted him to like them,” producer and collaborator Smokeasac explains in the doc. It had consequences: At an important Los Angeles show in 2016, Peep went onstage and gave a slurred and woozy show, with fog pumped onstage to mask just how out of it he was. His team even considered calling the fire department to report the venue over capacity so it wouldn’t be on Lil Peep if he couldn’t do the show. After barely making it through, Lil Peep returned backstage and, smiling as he spoke, gave an eerie message: “I told you I could do it.” Entertainment lawyer Josh Binder explained the impact: “At that moment, I realized that we had a problem.”
ILoveMakonnen taught Lil Peep the value of assertiveness
When Peep connected with Makonnen, they instantly clicked. “I told him, ‘You look like me on the outside with all your tats,” he says. “It’s scary – that’s how I really am on the inside. But you, on the inside, look kind of soft and nice as how I look on the inside.” ILoveMakonnen later compared the pair to two “broken-hearted teddy bears” that were repairing each other. He also tried to teach Lil Peep how to be more assertive because he saw people trying their best to take advantage of him.
He was on the verge of a fashion industry takeover
Lil Peep may have started with lo-if music in his bedroom, but he was on the verge of breaking into a number of different creative forays. “He had so many things coming out and so much around the corner,” one collaborator says in the doc. “Fashion was honestly the next big thing. He had plans for a clothing line, a clothing brand, ‘No Smoking.’ He thought to himself, ‘I could design the coolest shit.’”