When you hear the name Lil Xan, one might think that he’s the poster child for taking Xanax, but you’d couldn’t be more wrong. He earned his nickname before he started making music due to his fondness for hip-hop’s drug of the moment, but he quit Xanax and wrote “Betrayed,” in which he makes his position quite clear: “Xans don’t make you / Xans gon’ take you / Xans gon’ fake you / And Xans gon’ betray you.”
It comes at a particularly critical time in hip-hop.
The drug itself has had a huge presence in the rap game within the past year. Young Thug and B.O.B. dropped a hit called “Xantastic,” Lil Peep tragically lost his life from a drug overdose, which led to upcoming rappers Lil Pump and Smokepurpp to publicly state that they won’t be using the drug anymore.
Xan’s decision to quit taking the drug that earned him his nickname was partially inspired by Peep’s death. He sees the impact that the tragic incident is having on the rap community and decided to step up and take action.
In 2018, Xan is one of the many newcomers speaking out against drug use in the music industry. The California rapper and his entourage called Xanarchy have been pushing the anti-xanax movement heavy. “I get messages from fans everyday, by the hundreds, telling me how much I helped them get off xans,” he tell us.
His hit single “Betrayal” laid the groundwork for the movement. It’s a slow-burning, hook-driven cut originally uploaded to SoundCloud, but is now one of the biggest songs in the country thanks to its powerful message.
Lil Xan, who’s only 21-years-old, just started taking music seriously a few months ago. He breaks down his sound as “a product of who I am.” He continues, “I like playful beats, xylophones, whimsical sounds of Bobby Johnson productions. It’s a product of me; me being a little immature sometimes and childish.”
However, he’s starting to move away from the typical trap sound and towards a murkier, dream-like sound. “From the beginning up to now, I feel like I’ve evolved like crazy.” His upcoming album will be the proof. “It will show them that I don’t make that mumble shit anymore. I’ve got so much to show the world.”
You can watch the full video above to hear Lil Xan discuss more about the progression of his sound, the anti-xanax movement, and what’s next for him and the Xanarchy group.
For more on Lil Xan, watch him share the best advice he’s ever received from Kendrick Lamar.
- Photography: Thomas Welch / Highsnobiety
- Videography: Austin Prario / Highsnobiety