RIP: Rest in Peace, or Rise in Plays?

Courtesy of Columbia Records

A posthumous album is a project released after the death of the artist. However, questions remain afloat in trying to decipher the purpose of releasing an album after death. Is it distasteful, or is it dedicatory? Is it executing the artists’ creative expression, or is it monetary exploitation? A recent example of this conflict is cloud rap album, “Come Over When You’re Sober (COWYS), Pt. 2” by late SoundCloud sensation, Lil Peep. Unfortunately, it seems that Peep’s second studio album is the result of an unfinished project forced out after the rising publicity that came with his death, and doesn’t do much to honor the legacy of the aforementioned artist after his passing.

Upon introduction, Peep erupted onto the hip-hop scene. This fame was throttled by the unique, emo-rap aesthetic Peep created with inspirations from Kurt Cobain and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ own Anthony Kiedis that transcended the world of hip-hop and 90s-00s rock and roll. With such a distinct image and sound, Peep stood out immensely amongst his contemporaries, and gathered a devout cult following.

Sadly, “COWYS, Pt. 2” failed to capture the essence of the polarizing sound that most would expect from Lil Peep. Part Two feels like the double-length version of Part One that we never wanted, and the lack of subject matter or variations in musicality just create this dragged on, juiced feeling for the album. Because “COWYS, Pt. 2” has the exact opposite feeling of being the refreshing, new sound that Part One introduced, it ends up sounding so identical to Part One that it may just as well have been a compilation of outtakes from the cutting room floor. This is a direct consequence of there being no evident change in subject matter, with every song echoing the same depressed romantic vibe with filtered vocals, guitar melodies and rap-based percussion that make the two albums seemingly indistinguishable.

Although having only achieved commercial success as of recent, Lil Peep had been putting music on SoundCloud since 2015, and didn’t release his first studio album, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1” until August of 2017, where he released seven tracks. Then, just over a year later, Part Two is released, with double the amount of tracks and half the uniqueness that its polarizing predecessor had. As listeners we cannot even point the finger at Lil Peep for a posthumous album that feels like it should’ve never been released. There is a reason that in the year that Lil Peep was touring and working on music after “COWYS, Pt. 1” that he didn’t release these songs, because this is a poor reflection of what the artist was actually capable of. Added on to this album are two posthumous singles with Clams Casino and Marshmello that serve an equal amount of injustice.

Alas, Lil Peep wasn’t the only one who was subject to seemingly exploitative posthumous releases; the unfortunate passing of rapper XXXTentacion has prompted posthumous releases like “BAD!” or “Arms Around You!” that lack quality and legitimate reflection of X’s musical capability. With this, and a constant resurgence in merchandising for both XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, one begins to wonder when their names will be put to rest, as it seems that economic gain is not only prolonging their existence, but forcing it.

Even on Peep’s best tracks of “COWYS, Pt. 2”, like “Sex with My Ex”, “Cry Alone” and “Falling Down,” it’s sad to say, but if you thoroughly listened to both parts of “Come Over When You’re Sober,” you’d struggle to remember if even the most recognizable tracks were on Part One or Part Two. Even for the lower quality tracks like “16 Lines” and “White Girl,” which aren’t audibly bad, feature the overly-repeated themes that make even a good-sounding song unbearable to listen to. There’s not a single advancement, or degradement in any musical, lyrical or thematic aspect from the transition of Part One and Part Two, and the mere release of Part Two just affirms it was an attempt at squeezing out the last bit of revenue left in Peep’s name.This album functions more as a financial asset than a testament to the deceased artist.

Verdict: “Come Over when You’re Sober, Pt. 2”, is a distastefully rushed product, and disregards much of Lil Peep’s creative process. It goes completely against the grain of Peep’s usual methodology of releasing music, and has consequently caused his posthumous album to look like a redundant copy and paste of his previous work.

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