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10 Things You Should Know About Lil Xan

Here's a quick crash course and some facts on rap's latest lightening rod.

One name that has been hard to ignore as of late is that of Lil Xan, an up-and-coming rapper who has managed to ruffle more than a few feathers during his relatively short time in the spotlight. After coming to prominence with buzz-worthy releases like "Slingshot" and "Far," the California native's stock skyrocketed. With the debut of "Betrayed" and its accompanying music video, the 21 year-old's status became somewhat of a leader of the new school, earning him a legion of rabid fans as a result.

In addition to his music and mellow, yet affable personality, Lil Xan has been making waves for things beyond the music. After sharing his take on rap icon Tupac Shakur, who the upstart deemed musically boring in an interview, a healthy amount of backlash prompted from fellow artists and fans alike. He's not the first artist to give rap pioneers and forefathers a lackluster critique, and that has not kept him from being the latest poster child for the strained relationship between hip-hop's new school and old school.

With the conversation surrounding Lil Xan and his comments, many people curious and unsure of what to make of the young artist, which is why VIBE has decided to give you a crash course and share ten facts about rap's latest lightening rod and why he may be one to look out for.


1. Lil Xan Was A High School Dropout

Lil Xan (born Diego Leanos) attended Redlands East Valley High School, but dropped out during his freshman year due to a lack of interest in academics. Leanos would spend the subsequent years unemployed before briefly holding a job as street cleaner.

2. Lil Xan Is Latino

Despite some fans' assumptions that he's Caucasian, Lil Xan is actually of Mexican descent and was born on September 6, 1996 in Redlands, California, making him one of the latest artists with Latin roots to thrive on the rap scene.

3. Lil Xan Was Once A Photographer

Prior to pursuing a career in rap, Lil Xan was an aspiring photographer who took photos of local rap acts. But after his camera was stolen while on stage, Xan decided to switch hustles, opting to shell out money for studio time instead of buying a new camera. The rest is history.

4. Lil Xan Released His Debut EP In 2016

The young rapper got his feet wet in the rap game with his debut project, CITGO, a five-track quick-strike effort that featured a guest appearance from $teven Cannon, production by Jason Rich, KanielTheOne, OOHDEM BEATZ, Tasty Beatz & YEEYAY, and had early standouts like "Talixan," "Who Are You," and "Been Bout It."

5. Lil Xan Doesn't Actually Do Xanax

In spite of his rap name, Lil Xan doesn't actually take Xanax recreationally, but does have personal experience with the drug, which he has admitted to being addicted to in the past. After dealing with multiple trips to the hospital and going through withdrawal as a result of his usage, Lil Xan chose to kick the habit cold turkey and has even toyed with the idea of changing his name in an attempt to further disassociate himself from the prescription drug.

6. Lil Xan's Single "Betrayed" Is Hit Biggest Song To Date

Released on June 19, 2017, "Betrayed" is Lil Xan's biggest hit to date, which peaked at No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and racked up more than 48 million plays on his SoundCloud page alone. A song that warns against the dangers of Xanax, "Betrayed" was accompanied by a Cole Bennett-directed music video that has played a pivotal role in expanding the Lil Xan brand, earning over 148 million views on YouTube and establishing him as one of the breakout stars of last year.

7. Lil Xan Is Signed To Columbia Records

Following the viral success of "Betrayed," fan favorites like "Slingshot" and "Wake Up" gained traction and Lil Xan inked a record deal with Columbia Records. In November 2017, the Californian joined the artist roster including Pharrell, Tyler, The Creator, Russ, DeJ Loaf and Ayo & Teo.

8. Lil Xan's Influences Include Alternative Rock and Rap

Lil Xan's earliest influences included acts like N.E.R.D., Arctic Elephants, Cage the Elephant and Queens of Stone Age, as well as rappers like Drake and Mac Miller, the latter of which Xan credits as a big inspiration musically.

9. Lil Xan's Total Xanarchy Tour Sold Out In Five Hours

In December 2017, Lil Xan announced his plans to hit the road for the Total Xanarchy Tour, his first headlining tour, with special guests $teven Cannon and Hippe Sabotage. Consisting of 25-dates, the tour, which reportedly sold out within five hours, kicked off on Jan. 25, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and included stops in California, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York and more.

10. Lil Xan's Debut Album Is Scheduled To Drop In 2018

Lil Xan's debut album, Total Xanarchy, is set to be released on April 6, 2018 via Columbia Records. Guest features include YG, 2 Chainz, Charli XCX, Diplo, Rae Sremmurd and $teven Cannon, as well as Yo Gotti and Rick the Kid, who both appear on the "Betrayed (Remix)."

Total Xanarchy April 666 Love you guys 💔

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READ MORE: Lil Xan Has Change Of Heart, Performs Tupac’s ‘California Love’

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J.Cole, Teyana Taylor And Other Snubs Of The 2019 Grammy Nominations

It's that time of year again when inner circles and strangers on the Internet debate who's up for a gramophone.

On Friday (Dec. 7), the nominees for 2019's Grammy Awards (Feb. 10) were announced to a span of hot takes, early but informed predictions, and a wall of confusion as to why certain artists were overlooked. While some entertainers excitedly received the good news (Cardi B discovered her nods while leaving a courthouse), others were left scratching their heads.

Here's a look at why those who were snubbed by the Recording Academy deserved to be nominated.

READ MORE: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, And Cardi B Lead 2019 Grammys Nominations


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5 Stories From Meek Mill's #CRWN Conversation That Flew Under The Radar

Meek Mill made his return to Elliot Wilson's #CRWN conversation on Sunday (Dec. 2) for an in-depth discussion of Championships, his behind-bars experience and prison reform.

Live from New York City’s Playstation Theatre, the stage was set with two throne-like chairs as Mill and Wilson's fans began to swarm through the packed house. Loaded with fans from Philly, Jersey and NYC alike, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for Meek’s grand arrival. Introduced by Wilson, the veteran journalist briefed in-house and live-streamed listeners with his relationship with the Philly rapper, discussing the many times the two have linked “from the MMG days to now.”

“It’s just amazing to see how he’s continued to fight this adversity and continued to deliver great music,” says Wilson, engaging in a back and forth conversation with the crowd. “When you put out a title and say you’re going to name your album Championships, you better deliver,” Wilson continues. “And he delivered.”

Appearing on stage sporting a mid-length fur coat and glistening jewels, Meek and Wilson exchange a quick embrace as the live audience jumps to its feet to welcome their champion. Taking his experience to lean into activism, Meek engaged in a 90-minute conversation with the journalist, answers fan-questions and candidly tell his story as he sees fit.

But as tabloid fate would have it, one of the sole stories to come out of the meaningful conversation was his awkward date with then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z and Beyonce. The memories Meek decided to share like adorable moments with his son, his newfound position in the battle for criminal justice reform and recording Championships fell to the wayside.

But don't fret. Here are some other memorable moments from the interview.


1. Meek's Best Day in Jail Included a Visit From Kevin Hart

Meek's final day in jail was similar to the others. He woke up, successfully avoided jail food by making his morning oatmeal and knew his day was heading in a good direction when he won five consecutive ping pong games against his daily opponent– who want the smoke?

After heading back to his cell, Meek's day got a whole lot better when Kevin Hart and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin had pulled up on him by surprise. "They come on the block and I was like, 'Man come in my cell and see how this sh*t look,'" Meek starts. "So Kevin Hart and Mike, they come in the cell and they like 'It's not that bad,' they tryna make me feel good, I'm like 'The hell you mean it's not that bad? I got my boxers hanging up on the f**king string'" the rapper jokingly recalls. After the much-needed hour-long visit, Meek returned to his daily jailhouse activities when he learned that he would be released from jail within hours. What a day.

2. Friends and Family Would Send Him IG Post Printouts Through Mail

When Meek packed his cell to go home, he had over 10,000 photos to sift through since his tribe brought the world of Instagram to him through the mail. "I used to tell everybody like, 'Yo, just send me everything that's going on on Instagram, I wanna see everything that's  going on in life.'"

The rapper separated his photos by importance, keeping the photos of his family in a separate pile with his other pile (filled with pictures of all the IG models and famous ladies) holding a different level of importance to those who stood behind bars with him. "It was valuable cause some guys in there they got 25 years in this s**t, they ain't never see the fake a**es yet and the girls with the new bodies, so you know, they all in my cell like, 'What's up with these pictures?'"

3. He Purposely Steered Away From Lending Tekashi 6ix9ine Advice

While breaking down Championships cut "Respect the Game," Meek spoke on hip-hop's freshman class including Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Durk and YoungBoy NBA. "[Tekashi] used to be poppin' so much sh*t on Instagram, I be like 'I don't even wanna say nothing to this young boy, this young boy start sayin' all this crazy sh*t to me on the internet," he joked.

On a more serious note, Meek speaks on the real issue he had with 6ix9ine, sharing his concern for the 22-year-old's habits in starting drama with some of hip-hop's most dangerous faces. "With my music, I wanted to reach all of 'em," he said, explaining how when the music speaks for itself, you don't need to ensue controversy to sell records.

4. His 7-Year-Old Son Already Has a Rapper Name

Give it 10 years and we might see Meek Mill's son on the Billboard charts. Answering a fan question about "Lil Drip," Meek clarifies that Lil Drip is actually his son Papi's, rapper name. "Sometimes I be in the studio I be like 'Yo, I give you $500 if you go in the booth and rap right now and he just go in the booth and lay it.'" Sampling a few adorable bars, Meek reveals that his son consistently shocks him with his material, bringing up some of the most trivial experiences he's shared with Meek.

"He be like, 'Private jet/ Who I met/ Ben Simmons/ That's a bet,'" spits Meek, referring to a previous birthday trip he's taken with Papi.

5. Jay-Z's Verse on "What's Free" Was a Pivotal Moment in Meek's Career

A Jay and Meek collaboration has been a long time coming. In Meek's promotional single "Stay Woke" featuring Miguel, the rapper spits, "When I talked to Em and Hov, they said, "I'm proud of you/ You stood tall back when everyone doubted you"/ My reply is, "I did what I gotta do/ And I need that verse 'fore you retire too."

During the conversation, Meek speaks on "What's Free" with Rick Ross and Jay-Z, remembering the first time he heard Jay's 44 bar verse. "When I got it back I was in the bathroom, I was just standing in the mirror listening to it," he says while bopping his head, fully immersing himself in the moment.

"I represent the path that HOV created," Meek tells Wilson. "I always wanted that Jay-Z feature and he came through this time, shout out to HOV."

Stream the entire conversation here.

READ MORE: Meek Mill Recalls Awkward Double Date With Jay-Z, Beyonce, And Nicki Minaj

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Meek Mill, Ari Lennox, More Included On VIBE Picks 12/6

With a busy year of music coming to an end, there are still some artists who want to make their mark: Meek Mill dropped his hotly-anticipated fourth LP Championships, Ski Mask the Slump God released his long-awaited debut STOKELY, and Dreamville brought heat to the star-studded Creed II soundtrack – and that's just scratching the surface. Check below to see the songs that the VIBE staff is bumping this week.

“The Man Who Has Everything,” Chance The Rapper Christmas music is usually unimpressive to me – the topics come across as contrived and corny, and I’m not inclined to listen to a song for only one month of the year. But Chance The Rapper may change my tune with “The Man Who Has Everything,” one of his two November drops. Over a leisurely soundbed, Chano has things that he’s grateful for, like his family, a home, and material perks like cars, but he isn’t fronting like it’s a worry-free holiday. The song also portrays hopes to eradicate racism with imagery of shredded confederate flags, and gets personal with revelations about missing Noname (who he addresses by her birth name, Fatima) and feeling awkward about arranging a prenuptial agreement with his future wife. “The Man Who Has Everything” captures gratitude and seasonal depression in one swoop, making a song that captures the Christmas spirit honestly. In his recent interview with the Joe Budden Podcast, Chance said that his Christmas album with Jeremih was slept on; I may have to give it a shot. – William E. Ketchum III

“Trauma,” Meek Mill | Championships Meek Mill’s new album Championships has two of the biggest songs of the year, with “What’s Free” going viral because of Jay-Z’s verse and “Going Bad” getting attention because of Meek’s reunion with Drake. But don’t let the star power distract from “Trauma,” one of the most memorable songs from the record. Just like on the similarly-titled “Traumatized” from his 2012 debut Dreams and Nightmares, Meek poignantly recounts the violence and drug addiction that he witnessed in his childhood. But this time, with his new position as the face of prison reform, he illustrates how his Philly streets and his recent legal troubles are tied into a scheme of systemic racism. “In the 13th amendment, it don't say that we kings. They say that we legally slaves if we go to the bing,” he proclaims. Adding a social justice edge to the harrowing street narratives that he has already built a reputation gives Meek Mill a chance to make music that will stand the test of time.  – William E. Ketchum III

“Shea Butter Baby,” Ari Lennox and J. Cole |  Creed II: The Movie Dreamville brought quiet storm vibes to the Creed II soundtrack. The label’s sole songbird Ari Lennox commands the mind with soothing vocals over the Elite and Mike Will Made It-produced track. Her confident narration of black love does wonders for the film’s b-side love story (Adonis and Bianca) while Cole blissfully submits to his own Shea Butter Baby. – Desire Thompson

“Nuketown” Ski Mask the Slump God feat. Juice WRLD | STOKLEY If you ever wondered what screamo rap sounds like in 2018, peep what Ski Mask the Slump God and Juice WRLD pulled off on “Nuketown.” The song is just as explosive as its title thanks to the guys parting the waves of shiny rap to make room for ripping mostpits. But the Florida MC also showcases a quick and edible flow on his debut album while Juice WRLD adds more fuel to the fire. – Desire Thompson

"Good Girl" - Tiffany Gouche feat. Masego Tiffany Gouche's voice is the best kind of blanket. Well-worn with holes and loose threads here and there, it's the fuzzy sort that, without fail, will warm you to the core each time you swaddle in it. Time and time again, Gouche steps to the microphone with proof of all that is right with R&B in 2018. Her seductive new lust song "Good Girl," released to the world just as East Coast temperatures started to dip, does not stray from the sonic track record she has established for herself. After enlisting her for "Queen Tings" on his Lady, Lady debut album, trap-jazz savant Masego has returned the favor by complementing Gouche's cocoa rich vocals with satin soft coos of his own. Trust us, you'll want to slow down for a minute to savor these sounds. – Stacy-Ann Ellis

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