XXXTentacion performs during the second day of the Rolling Loud Festival in downtown Miami on May 6, 2017. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS)
XXXTentacion performs during the second day of the Rolling Loud Festival in downtown Miami on May 6, 2017. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS)

New Song Sits In A Moral Gray Area After Release

On Sept. 19, a posthumous collaboration between Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION debuted. The track was highly anticipated by fans of both artists and has resulted in many new ones. The song, however, has not been released without controversy, as backlash from Peep’s friends, family and fans forced a month-long delay. 

The song was first created by Peep and artist IloveMakonnen and was rumored to be about their unconfirmed relationship. Removing Makkonen and adding X, who had been accused of horrific domestic assault and homophobia, ruined the original message. It didn’t help that X and Peep had not met before Peep’s fatal overdose, leading to claims that Peep would never have worked with X in the first place.

Peep had come out as bisexual months before his death and was known as someone who would collaborate only with close friends, saying in his last interview, “I’m really not into the whole like climbing the ladder of the industry thing with features … if I don’t really know you or listen to your music much I’m not gonna just collaborate with you to gain some fans or just get some popularity because I think music’s too precious to be doing that.”

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To many, the collaboration felt like a tasteless cash grab, capitalizing on media attention after both artists had passed. Regardless of the complaints, the song dropped in September and catapulted up the charts reaching No.13 in the U.S. and hitting No.1 in four other countries.

The actual content feels almost like a tribute to Peep. After he starts the song, X enters saying something to the effect of “let’s do this one for Peep.” He also has a bridge in the middle saying he wished he had gotten to know Peep before he passed: “It’s unfortunate because it’s like, yo, when people die, that’s when we like ‘em, you know? ‘Cause your remorse kinda makes you check ‘em out.” Hearing X say this in the wake of his murder and corresponding increase in his music’s popularity is haunting. The song itself is catchy, though repetitive. The hook repeats four times and X has a verse and a bridge, but the verse is just the bridge with two extra lines.

Despite the commercial success of the song, its release still sits in a moral gray area. While X and Makonnen approved the remix of the original, Peep had no input in the creation of this version and it has been left up to family and friends to determine what he would have wanted. The original outcry against the song further complicated matters.

There seems to be no clear right answer in this scenario. Peep’s message and name have been broadcast to a greater audience, but whether he would have approved of how, we can never know. Now his legacy will be intertwined with X’s forever, whether he would have wanted that or not.

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