Billy Corgan Calls Late Rapper Lil Peep ‘His Generation’s Kurt Cobain’
Smashing Pumpkins bandleader Billy Corgan recently compared the late rapper Lil Peep to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. And it's not the first time Corgan has held up Peep as a musical archetype.
Both artists were leaders among their respective genres — Peep for emo-indebted rap, Cobain for grunge — and both died early, near the peaks of their careers. Lil Peep, whose real name was Gustav Elijah Ahr, died at 21 from an accidental overdose in 2017. Cobain, 27, died from suicide in 1994.
So how does that relate to the Smashing Pumpkins singer?
In a Jan. 4 interview with Upset, Corgan discussed the Smashing Pumpkin's new album Cyr in depth. There's a brief aside, however, where the magazine quickly mentions that Corgan proposed a comparison of Peep to Cobain in the context of making his band's latest record:
"This album is the result of us trying to come into the modern world," Corgan says, but rather than just use Lil Peep-inspired beats (an artist who he believes was "his generation's Kurt Cobain"), the band wanted it to feel like their own trip.
Beyond that, there's no further elaboration from Corgan. And the article doesn't invoke Lil Peep again.
But Corgan has spoken highly of Lil Peep before. A few years ago, as pointed out by NME, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman compared the rapper to Metallica for a power he shared with the metal act. That is, the aptitude to unleash uniquely angsty emotions in suburban listeners.
"I think Lil Peep probably, of all the artists that I've heard recently, tapped into that same angst," Corgan said during a 2018 video interview with the Build Series. "And it's so sad he passed away because he was just getting to the bigger part of his work, you know?"
The Smashing Pumpkins leader continued, "When I heard Lil Peep, I was like, 'That's exactly that same vibe.' It's like I'm at the 7-Eleven, and I have all these deep feelings and thoughts, and the 7-Eleven is the epicenter of my universe. It's like, for a lot of people, that is their life."
The Pumpkins' Cyr — which includes classic band members James Iha (guitar) and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) — arrived in November 2020. It contains a slew of previously issued singles such as "Purple Blood," "Anno Satana," "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict," the title track and more.