The high profile tragic death of popular rapper Lil Peep had left the family and friends devastated, in October of 2017. His songs embodied an unusual candour about drugs, death and mental health upheavals, but it was above and beyond anyone’s imagination that the melancholic lyrics would turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Incredibly close to the rapper was his mother, who showed up on Halloween to check up on his well-being. Little did she imagine that shortly after, her son would end his life, by consuming an overdose of Xanax and Fentanyl. The troubled artist’s demise left everyone devastated, and put an abrupt end to the glorious legacy of the musical star.
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1. The Jolt That Followed Soon after
Friends, family and fans were slowly beginning to pick up the pieces when they were again thrust into mourning. Juice Wrld (real name Jarad Anthony Higgins), another young thriving artist succumbed to artistic fatality, mental health issues and addiction struggles, as he chose to end his life.
Fans were beginning to look at Juice for some semblance of comfort, to recover after the devastating death of Lil Peep, but they were left heartsick with the demise of Juice in December 2019, who was just 21. His death was attributed to the accidental overdose of codeine and oxycodone that caused a seizure.
Even if today, the fans of late American rapper, singer and songwriter Juice Wrld shows their love by visiting and purchasing from the merchandise store named Juice Wrld Merch.
2. The Epidemic Nature of Self-annihilation
Disturbingly enough, for most of the global artists in their 20s, it is fast becoming normative to believe that they will not survive beyond the realm of 20s. This morbid belief among few is now becoming an epidemic in the world of glitz, glamour and razzmatazz.
But to blame the death on merely an accidental dose of prescription pills would be too superficial. Scratch the surface and you would find a common binder that connects these artists, who rose to fame at an early age. They all had a deep connection to their fans but were rattled by private demons, nihilism, death and a self-destructive streak.
Often, their songs are a reflection of their battle with the dark times and depression. Their body of work is mostly a manifestation of their struggle with an addiction, abuse or personal grief that slashes across their heart or is imprinted on their minds.
3. Is Death Breathing Too Close for Those That Rise to Sudden Fame?
The shocking news of the stars falling into the death trap is shocking, but not unfamiliar, anymore.
Past few years stand testament to the death of popular rappers, experiencing a meteoric rise, but quickly succumbing to the clutches of misery, helplessness and suicide. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is a lethal era in the world of music where stars are torn up between realism and fatality.
Many of these rappers have been fearless in showing the chinks in their armour, and their music and lyrics were a safe way to channel the turbulence. Some have experienced abuse at the hands of an ex-partner, or the racial violence, that they now choose to gloss over. Many have felt ill-equipped while grappling with the sudden rise to fame.
Drugs, alcohol or abuse of these seems like a quick way to trespass the agony, and this is facilitated by a certain ‘friend’, or a ‘handler’ who gives them access and pathway to doing drugs. Some even normalize it to the stars, citing drugs as the “usual trope” or the “rite of passage” to achieve a heightened sense of creativity, self-awareness and reach a state of oblivion to all the pain, and a mounting pile of expectations and misery.
4. Management and Labels under Scrutiny
This puts management in a quarry or a questionable position. Who is responsible for pushing and encouraging them to do drugs on their musical tours, or prior to performance?
The labels and management, or the entourage are at the helm of forming schedules and factoring in everything from their fatigue, moods, unwarranted changes etc. to ensure the artist’s overall well-being.
But the fierce competition compels the people in the authority and in charge to turn a blind eye to the blind spots of the artists and all that remains is the unquenching thirst to churn out chart bursters that outpace everyone, and everything else.
5. Sometimes, the past is a Gravity Well That Refuses to Let Go
Often, these factors are fuelled by the background of the artists who have either been subjugated to arbitrary violence, abuse or abject poverty at some time in their lives. Their past refuses to let go of them, and the grip becomes firm with every new pressure.
Some are thrust into the demanding world of glamour and the blitzkrieg, at a stage where they are immature and are yet to come of age. They are ill-equipped to handle the swarming wave of expectations from the fans, mind-numbing schedules, rehearsals, relentless pursuit of labels, failed relationships, shallow people posing as well-wishers, hunger for a filthy-rich lifestyle replete with debauchery, and scorching competition.
6. Is There Hope at the End of the Tunnel?
Amidst all the chaos, there is a glimmer of hope. The deaths of these young legends have somewhat set the youth on the path of self-correction.
The realization is sinking in, and self-correction is preceding over self-immolation.
The rumbling backlash around “popping pills mindlessly” to numb the pain is giving way to course-correction. Youth is slowly but steadily taking the detour from becoming fashionably narcotic, and embracing self-awareness, mindfulness, healthy coping mechanisms in form of therapy, thriving on healthy routines, and prioritizing their health before instant happiness.
The open wounds will surely take time before they heal, and some more time before the scars fade, but the hope floats that subsequently, the youth stars would stop conjuring up pf the images of self-annihilation and rise to inspire with their body of work, and not leave the fans in a disarray by living on the edge and dying, to evade the harsh realities and challenges of life.
Mani Sirohi is a professional Content Writer who loves to pen down her views on a number of topics that interest a reader.
When she is not writing, Mani spends most of her time in reading, cooking, travelling and catching her favourite shows.