Womack says the lines “And I always been that kid, maybe I won’t be if I live / Long enough” were based on how he felt about always being the youngest person in the room. “He was always the kid, and also in that group of guys that he was collaborating with he was always the baby, too. At home, he was the littlest one in our family,” says Womack.
“The Last Thing I Wanna Do”
In terms of streaming stats, “The Last Thing I Wanna Do” was overshadowed by many of Hellboy’s other tracks, but it holds a special place in the mind of its producer. That’s actually one of my favorite songs I ever did with Gus,” says Smokeasac.
It’s a departure from much of the rumbling, low end-centric tracks surrounding it. Quick twitch hi-hats and a heavily filtered guitar make it one of the lightest sounding songs on the mixtape. “At that time I wanted to hear him over something different. Everyone at the time who was producing for him was like, Bass, bass, bass. We need subs,” says Smokeasac. “I wanted it to be different, so I turned the bass down.”
Following “We Think Too Much,” which relied on buoyant synths and the same kind of skittering hi-hats, “The Last Thing I Wanna Do” is part of a brief reprieve from the weightier moments. Peep is on a dark journey, but he’s gracious enough to let us get quick glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Walk Away as the Door Slams”
Charlie Shuffler was still a frustrated college kid when he first heard “Walk Away as the Door Slams” and it resonated with him the way it did so many others in his age range. That track, along with “The Song They Played [When I Crashed Into a Wall],” became the two that he kept in constant rotation. “Those songs sound like part one and part two to me. Even how the song titles look: ‘The Song They Played (When I Crashed into the Wall)’ and ‘Walk Away as the Door Slams,’” says Shuffler.
The origin of the sample on “Walk Away as the Door Slams”–sludgy chords from a live performance by a Blink-182 side project–was forgotten even by its producer. When the time came to get the song ready for streaming, Cortex had to backtrack and mentally scroll through the hundreds (if not thousands) of songs he and Smokeasac considered as potential samples.
“Walk Away as the Door Slams,” with its thundering low-end and lack of instrumental melody, is one of Hellboy’s strongest showcases of not only Peep’s voice, but how he produced his vocals. Once an instrumental was finished, the producer would bounce it to Peep, who would place it into GarageBand and create a kind of wall of sound effect by layering multiple takes on one another.
“He recorded his vocals crazy. He’d record three notes, one to the left, one to the center, one to the right, of him singing it softly, and then one higher, and one higher,” says Cortex. “They would be stacked, a lot of different layers of his vocals, so it sounded huge.”
“I just wanted to help, now I’m goin’ to hell,” Peep sighs on the track. An acoustic version was used as the outro song in the posthumous documentary Everybody’s Everything, which shows a smiling Peep walking around his hometown, looking decidedly more carefree than he ever really did in the public eye.
“Move On, Be Strong”
Most songs on Hellboy came together in a day or two, some even less. But Yung Cortex remembers that the closing track was something of a struggle. “We recorded that at 10:00 a.m. Gus hadn’t slept and he was super sick. He had no voice, just the whisper. There was nothing there.” he says. “He just wanted to record that song so badly and even the screams on the song are all him.”
The song is a marked departure from the rest of Hellboy, with Peep’s vocals a scratchy monotone with just a flicker of melody. It’s most notable for its repetitive screamo hook, which features a howling Peep and an ominous Avenged Sevenfold sample, which was pulled by Smokeasac, a longtime fan of the influential metal band.
“Move On, Be Strong” is also notable as one of only two Peep songs in which he is credited as an actual producer, despite producing most of his vocals solo. Cortex says people always ask him how that came to be, and the answer is pretty straightforward: because Peep felt like it.
“He just wanted his name on it, pretty much. He’d always give us direction on a beat and what he wanted us to do, and for that one, he just said, ‘Yo, I produced it, too.’