Rapper Lil Peep and The “SHOUT OUT BRO” Culture: New Age Recovery For A NEW GENERATION…
I did not follow Lil Peep (surprised?). But I know he publicly self-destructed. Popping pills left and right. High as hell in all his videos. 1.6 million kids watch it. Then he dies of an overdose. And the followers move on to the newest superstar.
Hell…even the process of mourning his death becomes a pop-culture phenomenon. Dead is dead. But in today’s world it is dumbed down. Dying at age 21… in front of the world. Lil Peep deserved to live longer.
Norms in society develop over time and “seep” into our culture. Norms aren’t “rules”. They aren’t proclaimed or declared. “Normal” is subjectively defined by our collective response to situations.
In certain parts of the country overdose deaths have become “normal”. Don’t get me wrong…family and friends are upset about a death. But I believe we are getting numb to overdose deaths. They aren’t as noteworthy. There was a time when an overdose was big news in any given community.
Now…unfortunately…it’s business as usual in many areas. Are we getting to a point where overdoses are considered “just part of life”…. that’s difficult to conceive…
Lil Peep was clearly in the throes of addiction; in every sense of the word.
If you have been thru addiction yourself you know about the stage when nothing is okay. You know about the progression from a party to just trying to survive. You know what it is like to take the substance and still get no relief…or at best temporary relief.
Clearly Mr. Peep was in that state of mind. It was painfully obvious. The quote below is from one of his last Instagram posts prior to his overdose death:
“I just wana be everybody’s everything.
I want too much from people but then I don’t want anything from them at the same time, u feel me.
I don’t let people help me but I need help but not when I have my pills but that’s temporary.
One day maybe I won’t die young and I’ll be happy?
What is happy? I always have happiness for like 10 seconds and then it’s gone.
I’m getting so tired of this” – Lil’ “Peep” 2017
“I have happiness for like 10 seconds”… he was going down and going down fast.
In the meantime, his social media fans seemed to celebrate his partying and his drug use. There are countless comments egging him on. I’m sure that in the far corners of America the kids that were praising his hardcore lifestyle were engaging in their own version of self-destruction.
Probably taking the same pills. Xanax…or fake Xanax. Opioids….or fake Opioids. Whatever they could get their hands on.
There were no surprises here. Everyone saw this coming.
Those who were closest to him saw this as inevitable:
“Chase Ortega, who has been described by several media outlets as Lil Peep’s manager, broke the news of his death in a tweet:
“I’ve been expecting this call for a year. Mother fuck.” (Peters, The Ringer, 11/16/17).
Why didn’t anyone step in to stop him or intervene?
Was the image too important?
In one of his Instagram posts, he claimed to have taken six Xanax, with another showing him trying to drop an unidentified pill into his mouth several times before successfully swallowing one and shaking a prescription bottle that appears full of pills. Another insane post stated the chilling caption –
“When I die, you’ll love me.”
It must be very difficult to intervene on the very creation that is bringing all the success. It must be very hard to confront the caricature that is “working so well” with the fan base. How do you step in and stop Lil Peep from eating Xanax on Instagram posts?
In a situation like this, someone should have stepped in. It was too wide open. Too blatant.
Unless this was the intent all along.
The way people have reacted with an almost celebratory tone. The countless “shout outs bro” and the cavalier way death is handle by today’s kids via social media is chilling. Everything has become less real. Dead is dead. It’s real. It’s not a “shout out bro” type of event.
Overdose and suicide go hand and hand. Lil’ “Peep” was open about his suicidal thinking. Today suicide is the second leading cause of “injury death” just behind “overdose”. How many of these “overdoses” were actually suicides? Maybe not in the classic sense but in a “I don’t care if I live or die” sense?
Either way, we have a major cultural problem on our hands. We have a clear sea change around issues of overdose and suicide. The shock value has worn off. These events have become “normalized” within today’s social landscaped. In some ways these events are even celebrated by the “shout out Bro” culture.
We are going to have to dig deep and face this issue head on. We are going to need to meet these kids and young adults on their terms and on their playing fields. We are going to have to sell them on recovery and on life. Whether we like it or not.
Or we can go on with the same old approach and just watch the destruction of an entire generation.