A powerful, honest, compassionate exploration of Lil Peep and the impact he continues to leave on the world.
At one point in Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan’s Everybody’s Everything, Lil Peep’s explosion into international fame is described as “a blur.” Looking back now, it does feel that way—he released his first mixtape, Lil Peep; Part One, in 2015, and he passed away only two short years later, at the age of 21.
But within that blur was a young man remembered now as one of the defining artists of our generation. At nearly two hours long, Everybody’s Everything—executive produced by Lil Peep’s mother Lisa Womack, Terrence Malick, and Sarah Stennett — takes time to delve into all of the different elements that form the real shape of Lil Peep’s life and work, ultimately creating an astounding picture of a very real young person and the dreams and drive that made him revolutionary.
The film opens with words of advice from Lil Peep’s grandfather, Jack Womack, in a letter he once penned to “Gus,” as he calls him—a nickname of Lil Peep’s birth name, Gustav Ahr. “In dead seriousness,” this first letter reads in Womack’s own voice, “think about what being a man is: the strength of heart to fight for love, to defend it over and over and over again.” Womack’s letters return again and again throughout the film, always beautifully written and underscoring the increasing understanding of the world that Lil Peep demonstrated in his artistry.
The film is beautifully arranged, balancing interviews with Lil Peep’s friends, family members and collaborators against a vast collection of home videos and handheld footage. There are old videos of him as a little kid, joking around with a guitar, dancing on a stage in an elementary school performance, a big grin always spread across his face. Then there are long takes of him performing at shows, lounging with friends, drinking or arranging music—and almost always in the same good mood, wholly approachable and funny and kind. It’s hard not to feel, through this collection of lenses, like you’re watching his life unfold firsthand, right there among the crowds of elbowing people who increasingly surrounded him.
One of the things that made Lil Peep so magnetic was his openness about the pain, insecurity and anxiety he experienced. Everybody’s Everything illuminates both sides of this: the takeoff of Lil Peep’s approach to music-making, but also the alienation and manipulation that that level of popularity brings. The film takes a humanist approach to telling this story and outlines the importance of caution in relationships where people might be looking to take advantage; in one interview, Jay Grxxn even says that “half the people that are gonna be in this documentary, they’re bullshitting, they’re clout-chasing.”
But the real takeaway from Everybody’s Everything is the person at the center of this turbulent rise to fame: the little kid in the home videos who grew all too quickly into a pioneer and a hero to so many people. In all of his endeavors—his burgeoning interest in fashion, his goal to rearrange the power structures of the capitalist music industry, his fusions of emo and punk traditions with hip hop and trap—he was defined by an explosive creative drive and an unceasing spirit of motivation and collaboration. Everybody’s Everything offers this truth in a powerful, honest, compassionate exploration of Lil Peep and the impact he continues to leave on the world.