Lil Xan isn’t your normal hip-hop artist. He named himself after a prescription drug, his sullen delivery doesn’t rely on boast or beats per se, and there seems to be at least a part of him that’s the opposite of whatever swag is. But the 21-year-old Diego Leanos has a definite magnetism defining his work. Whether onstage or in a video, the clear-cut emo feels of his lyrics and the almost-disturbing candor of their subject matter create a fascinating character.
Once you hear Lil Xan you don’t forget him. Crashing out of a rough childhood in Redlands, CA that was marked by poverty and drug abuse, he’s said that he’s been inspired by everyone from N.E.R.D. to Mac Miller. That inspiration led him to grabbing a mic, and in late 2016 Xan blossomed on SoundCloud and had writers placing his music under the heading of “sad-rap,” a perfect example of which is his smash, “Betrayed,” whose video is closing in on 200M views. His vibe of his album debut ‘Total Xanarchy’ is overwhelming, a trap-flecked dreamscape with a narcotic tone and mission of escapism with features by 2 Chainz, Charli XCX, Rae Sremmurd and Diplo.
Our LIFT profile lets this self-proclaimed “member of a generation of broken kids” explain things in his own words. He didn’t start out to be a rapper, he just wanted to express himself and “be different.” Find out how a stolen camera jump-started his stage work, how he fights anxiety every day, how he was hospitalized and medicated, how that medication overtook him, and how he tries to beat it all the time. “How do you go about kicking a drug addiction that you medically need to function? Like, when you’re high, it’s just feeling normal.” Fan help. Xan the Man explains it all. (Vevo Description)