Deaths of Mac Miller and Lil Peep Contribute to a Dark Year for Rap

Deaths of Mac Miller and Lil Peep Contribute to a Dark Year for Rap
For the past two years, the hip-hop world has been in a constant state of mourning. While last year saw the loss of veteran rappers and key figures in the culture, 2018 introduced a new kind of mourning — filled with drug addictions and untreated mental health troubles. It also re-introduced emo-rap, which has taken a new sound since the early '90s, rooted in politics, social issues, violence and addictions. This time around, it echoes the feelings of a new generation of rap fans.
Lil Peep's Death and Posthumous Releases
In November 2017, a video Lil Peep dozing in and out of consciousness went viral — unbeknownst to viewers, Lil Peep was taking his last breaths following a Xanax overdose. Though his death brought attention to the looming opioid crisis, it also lead his fans to crown the pop punk-influenced artist as their Kurt Cobain. Peep's estate released his second album Come Over When You're Sober Pt. 2 in November.

Mac Miller's Death
Mac Miller was your favourite rapper's best friend, and when he suddenly died in September, the hip-hop world crumbled. While footage from a 2016 FADER documentary of French Montana warning Mac Miller to slow down on his drug usage resurfaced, an autopsy revealed that Miller, who openly talked about his drug addictions, died by overdose.
XXXTentatcion's Posthumous Fame
XXXTentatcion was a controversial artist — accused of violent crimes, but also because of dark lyrics and visual representations regarding suicide. But XXX's murder in June led to a spike in sales for his debut, and he became the first artist to posthumously reach #1 on Billboard since Notorious B.I.G. in 1997
Drake's Emotional Year
Toronto's golden boy faced a particularly rough year. Drake, who donated the million dollar budget for "God's Plan" to charitable causes, found himself in a rap battle with Pusha-T that left him on the defence. While Drake faced backlash for a 2008 blackface photo Pusha-T highlighted, he was forced to defend his family and address intimate details that revealed he had a son.

Princess Nokia Offers A New Perspective
From the darkness of depression and suicide, Afro-Latinx emo-identifying artist Princess Nokia highlighted challenging issues on her A Girl Cried Red mixtape. She continues to explore these on her Beats 1 show The Voices in My Head, solidifying her place in the male-dominated sub-genre.