Last night, Columbia Records hosted a listening session in New York for Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2, the first official posthumous release from the late emo-rap vanguard Lil Peep. With massive murals showcasing the album's tracklist and art featuring Peep's likeness out front of the venue, it's clear that Columbia is putting a substantial amount of promotion behind the record; inside the venue, projections showed video footage of Peep on loop, jack-o-lanterns with his face emblazoned on them lined the room's walls, and attendees were given Lil Peep sweatshirts — as well as a collection of what a label rep claimed to be his favorite candies, including, yes, Peeps.
Before the album was played in full for those in attendance, there were several speeches, including one from Peep's mother Liza Womack, who spoke for roughly eight minutes about the nature of the release and what makes it important to her and, by extension, Peep's fans. The speech has been transcribed in full below.
Liza Womack: Why is Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2 an important album? Why is it worth discussing? There are several reasons. First: Gus was a trailblazer in his field. He was one of the first young artists to invent a new type of music by blending together different styles. In a way, his emo-rap, or emo-trap, or alternative rock music style represents this strange transformation — a kind of mutation of music genres. Gus's style was unique. Gus's style was honest. He was an honest person.
For personal reasons, Gus had kind of a thing about honesty, about loyalty. Gus actually hated liars and lying. His lyrics, Smoke said, serve as a kind of diary. Gus wrote his lyrics, or poems, or raps, or whatever you want to call them, as a way to express his feelings — the ones he wanted to express. I'm talking about "express" in the sense that the word means "to squeeze out a liquid," in the way that a woman expresses breast milk, Gus was squeezing out his feelings, almost as though he got them out of his body or his heart. Writing his songs, I believe, helped Gus feel relief.
His songs are almost dreamlike at times, as they evoke events, conversations, and feelings in a wide range of ways. Because of these honest words, many people Gus's age could relate to his music. We all like it when a person opens up about his or her pain. It makes us feel as though we are not alone in our own sorrows. Gus's music made thousands of people feel like they had a friend who knew what they were going through.
So this is an important album because it's the work of a creative, young, trailblazing artist. This album is important also because Gus is dead. It's important because Gus is dead, but this is the album he would've made if he were living. I'm going to digress briefly here to thank the writers who have raised the question of posthumous releases in our time. We have the old problems, and a new problem, that are raising the issue of posthumous releases — a significant one that all of you will need to continue to monitor and discuss.
The old problems are that music artists suffer. More than any other person, daily public scrutiny. Scrutiny is putting it nicely. Music artists are judged and criticized all the time, yet they must tour constantly to promote their music. They must perform and never let their hurt feelings or aging bones show. They must keep their fans happy while appearing honestly psyched about performing every time. When they may feel depressed, like lying in bed and crying, they must get up on stage and belt it out for the fans. These are old problems.
The new problem that is forcing all of you to deal with the issue of posthumous releases is the opioid problem. It is a problem in two ways: first, it is a new approach to handling pressure. Past performers may have become addicted to alcohol, or maybe experimented with heroin, acid, and coke. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and others died. And now I'm thinking of Hillel Slovak from the Chilis, duh. In particularly the field of hip-hop, rap, emo-rap, trap, the young artists are using Xanax, Percocet, and all that other stuff. That stuff is risky enough when obtained with a prescription. But nowadays, it is increasingly obtained illegitimately. Demi Lovato nearly died because of dirty drugs. We don't know about the exact cause of Mac Miller's death. The list goes on.
Young music artists in this field are dying too often, and features are both very easy to manufacture and also all the rage. The posthumous release of a young artist's music is a problem you are all going to have to face. You're facing it now. Observant writers like Luke Hinz — shout out HotNewHipHop — have picked up on this problem and are asking you, "What are you going to do about it?" What do you do when a young artist dies long before his time, leaving behind a legacy of finished and unfinished work and a legion of heartbroken fans?
Well, I feel very proud of what Columbia Records has done with Gus's album, and I feel very proud of what Dylan [the album’s producer, a.k.a. Smokeasac] has done to preserve the legacy of his and Gus's album. This is the album that Gus would've wanted — and, yes, I know what he would've wanted, and so does Dylan. Gus cared deeply about his music, and he cared far more about the quality of his work than making it big. For Gus — and I'm quoting his words — it's all about the music. Those are his words. He wrote that in a text to one of his early collaborators, and here it comes.
"I don't fuck with too many people, but I know I fuck with you. People try to use me for my sesh affiliation, but you're a cool dude." That was the guy writing to Gus, and this is Gus: "I feel you, man. It's all about the music for me. It's easy to recognize that in someone." "I'm glad you feel that way. You're like me. We're gonna blow because we are real humans." This is Gus: "Haha. That's a good way to put it. It's nice being smart." "And self-aware, brother." "Whatever you want to call it, let's get it." I love that guy. I've been in touch with him.
Gus wrote that on October 12, 2015. He had been making music for not quite one year — actually, I realize now, he had been for a year, because he started in Pasadena. He was 18. Not exactly one week before Gus died, on November 8, 2017, Gus said this in an interview with Zane Lowe: "I had the opportunity to work with a lot of artists, but I'm really not into climbing the ladder in the industry thing with features, how people do that. I don't really care about how big you are. If I don't really know you or listen to your music too much, I'm not going to just collaborate with you to gain some fans or get some popularity, because I think music is too precious to be doing that with."
Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2 is important because it's the album to serve as the model for the way we handle the problem of the posthumous release of the work of the young artists who have left no explicit directions about what to do with their work if they die before they release it themselves. If you care enough to pay for the artist's work, then trust in the artist's work. Study the artist, his words, and his work. Listen to him. Don't chop it up and put features on it unless it's somehow clear to you that that's OK with him. Locate and trust in the producers and collaborators that the artist himself trusted. Honor the young talent by honoring the work. Thank you to Columbia Records for doing just that. You are indeed releasing an important album and a damn fine one.