Lil Xan in Berkeley, California in February 2018
September 6, 1996|
Redlands, California, U.S.
Diego Leanos (born September 6, 1996), known professionally as Lil Xan, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter from Redlands, California. He is best known for his breakout hit, platinum certified "Betrayed", which peaked at no. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100. His stage name is derived from the name of the prescription drug Xanax.
Leanos was born on September 6, 1996 in Redlands, California to Mexican parents. Growing up, Leanos was poor and lived in motels most of his childhood. He attended Redlands East Valley High School, but dropped out of high school in his freshman year, and spent several years at home unemployed. Leanos took a job as a street cleaner and sold drugs before he began rapping. Leanos later pursued a photography career in support of several friends who were rappers. He eventually had his camera stolen, and chose to begin rapping in lieu of investing in a new camera.
Leanos began to gain recognition through platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube. His popularity grew after the release of the music video for his song "Betrayed" in August 2017. The song peaked at no. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an interview with XXL, Leanos announced his debut album Total Xanarchy. The album includes collaborations with artists such as Diplo and Swae Lee. In December 2017, Leanos announced his Total Xanarchy tour, which sold out in five hours according to Billboard.
In 2018, Leanos announced that he would change his stage name to "Diego" in order to support his anti-drug message, though he later said in an interview he was not sure if he would change his name.
Leanos has listed Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D as early influences in hip hop, with other influences including Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant and Queens of the Stone Age. Leanos has also described Drake and Mac Miller as musical inspirations.
According to Pigeons & Planes, Leanos' music started off as "typical trap" and later shifted towards "a murkier, dream-like sound".The New Yorker has described Leanos as part of a "sad rap" movement.
Leanos made headlines in 2018 when during an interview he rated the late rapper Tupac Shakur only a "2" [out of 9] and called his music boring. After the incident fellow rapper Waka Flocka Flame claimed on Twitter that Leanos is "banned from hip hop". However, Leanos later paid tribute to Tupac by playing the song "California Love".
Leanos was formerly addicted to Xanax, along with opiates and other benzodiazepines, but he was able to quit the drug after two years of addiction. Leanos currently speaks out against Xanax abuse and urges people to stop using the drug altogether.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2018||MTV Video Music Awards||Push Artist Of The Year||Lil Xan||Nominated|
Diego hasn't turned back since, and is now becoming one of the quickest viral SoundCloud rappers in the game.