Lil Xan
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Lil Xan

Lil Xan
Lil Xan.png
Lil Xan in Berkeley, California in February 2018
Background information
Diego Leanos
Lil Xan
Born (1996-09-06) September 6, 1996 (age 21)
Redlands, California, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Labels Columbia[3]

Diego Leanos (born September 6, 1996), known professionally as Lil Xan, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter from Redlands, California.[4][5] He is best known for his breakout hit, platinum certified[6] "Betrayed", which peaked at no. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100. His stage name is derived from the name of the prescription drug Xanax.

Early life

Leanos was born on September 6, 1996 in Redlands, California to Mexican parents.[7] Growing up, Leanos was poor and lived in motels most of his childhood.[8] He attended Redlands East Valley High School, but dropped out of high school in his freshman year, and spent several years at home unemployed.[9][10] Leanos took a job as a street cleaner and sold drugs[11] before he began rapping.[12] 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.[13]


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.[14] The song peaked at no. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100.[15] In an interview with XXL, Leanos announced his debut album Total Xanarchy.[13] The album includes collaborations with artists such as Diplo and Swae Lee.[16] In December 2017, Leanos announced his Total Xanarchy tour,[17] which sold out in five hours according to Billboard.[16]

In 2018, Leanos announced that he would change his stage name to "Diego" in order to support his anti-drug message,[18][19] though he later said in an interview he was not sure if he would change his name.[20]


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.[21] Leanos has also described Drake and Mac Miller as musical inspirations.[12]

According to Pigeons & Planes, Leanos' music started off as "typical trap" and later shifted towards "a murkier, dream-like sound".[21]The New Yorker has described Leanos as part of a "sad rap" movement.[22]


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".[23][24] However, Leanos later paid tribute to Tupac by playing the song "California Love".[25]

Personal life

Leanos started dating singer and actress Noah Cyrus on June 30, 2018.[26]

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.[27][28] Leanos currently speaks out against Xanax abuse and urges people to stop using the drug altogether.[29][30]



Title Album details Peak chart positions
Total Xanarchy
  • Released: April 6, 2018
  • Format: CD, Digital download
  • Label: Columbia


Title Mixtape details
Heartbreak Soldiers[32]
  • Release: July 8, 2018
  • Format: Streaming
  • Label: Columbia

Extended plays

Title Mixtape details
  • Release: September 6, 2016
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, cassette
  • Label: Sleepcvlt (cassette)
  • Release: June 19, 2017
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
  • Label: N/A
  • Release: August 1, 2017
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
  • Label: N/A

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2018 MTV Video Music Awards Push Artist Of The Year Lil Xan Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ Kasra Ahmadi (2017-12-20). "Who is Lil Xan? The Cali rapper is the new leader of the anti-Xanax movement". Retrieved . Diego hasn't turned back since, and is now becoming one of the quickest viral SoundCloud rappers in the game. 
  3. ^ D.L. (November 15, 2017). "Lil Xan Signs with Columbia Records". Rockstar Dreams. Retrieved 2017. 
  4. ^ Elibert, Mark (December 5, 2017). "10 Hottest MCs of Latin Descent in Hip-Hop Today". Billboard. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ Caramanica, Jon (December 18, 2017). "3 Rappers Peeking at Eminem's Playbook". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ "Lil Xan's "Betrayed" Has Gone Platinum". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved . 
  7. ^ Brown, Preezy (March 24, 2018). "10 Things You Should Know About Lil Xan". Vibe. Retrieved 2018. 
  8. ^ Haithcoat, Rebecca (January 22, 2018). "Chartbreaker: Lil Xan on Face Tattoos and Overcoming Addiction". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  9. ^ Back2Back Hip Hop (August 11, 2017). "The LIL XAN Interview" (Interview). YouTube. Retrieved 2017. 
  10. ^ No Jumper (January 27, 2018). "The Lil Xan Interview" (Interview). YouTube. Retrieved 2018. 
  11. ^ Noisey (December 15, 2017), Lil Xan Would Like to Make You Sober: Noisey Raps, YouTube, retrieved 2018 
  12. ^ a b Schiller, Rebecca (January 16, 2018). "Get to Know 'Betrayed' Rapper Lil Xan". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  13. ^ a b C.M., Emmanuel (November 10, 2017). "The Break Presents: Lil Xan". XXL. Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ Blake, Emily (October 26, 2017). "Pandora Predictions to Know: Lil Xan, Lyrica Anderson & Mahalia". Billboard. Retrieved 2017. 
  15. ^ "Billboard Hot 100: February 17, 2018". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  16. ^ a b Haithcoat, Rebecca (January 22, 2018). "Chartbreaker: Lil Xan on Face Tattoos and Overcoming Addiction". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  17. ^ F, Matt (December 21, 2017). "Lil Xan Reveals Dates For "Total Xanarchy" Tour". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2018. 
  18. ^ Coleman II, C. Vernon (January 13, 2018). "Lil Xan Plans on Changing His Name". XXL. Retrieved 2018. 
  19. ^ P., Milca (January 14, 2018). "Lil Xan Officially Changes Name To Diego On Big Boy's Neighborhood". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2018. 
  20. ^ No Jumper (January 27, 2018). "The Lil Xan Interview" (Interview). YouTube. Retrieved 2018. 
  21. ^ a b Rindner, Grant (December 22, 2017). "People Can Change: An Interview With Lil Xan". Pigeons & Planes. Retrieved 2018. 
  22. ^ "Battan, Carrie (January 8, 2018). "Lil Xan and the Year in Sad Rap". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018. 
  23. ^ Lamarre, Carl (March 7, 2018). "Waka Flocka Flame Says Lil Xan Is 'Banned From Hip-Hop' After Calling Tupac's Music 'Boring'". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  24. ^ Setaro, Shawn (March 7, 2018). "Waka Flocka Says Lil Xan Is Banned From Hip-Hop for 2Pac Comments". Complex. Retrieved 2018. 
  25. ^ Price, Joe (March 23, 2018). "Lil Xan Pays Tribute to 2Pac by Performing "California Love"". Complex. Retrieved 2018. 
  26. ^ "'I don't accept this': Noah Cyrus and rapper Lil Xan go public, and fans aren't happy about it". Retrieved . 
  27. ^ Mench, Chris. "Lil Xan Breaks Down 'Betrayed'". Genius. 
  28. ^ "A Rapper Named Lil Xan Talks About His Painful Xanax Addiction & Recovery". DJBooth. October 19, 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  29. ^ Hodge, Kyle (January 18, 2018). "Lil Xan Is the Unlikely Inspiration for Getting Kids off Xanax". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 2018. 
  30. ^ Gore, Sydney (January 9, 2018). "Lil Xan On Substance Abuse In The Hip-Hop Community: 'You'd Be Stupid To Keep Glorifying It'". TRL. Retrieved 2018. 
  31. ^ Caulfield, Keith (April 15, 2018). "Cardi B's 'Invasion of Privacy' Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  32. ^ "LIL XAN on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved . 
  33. ^ a b c "Lil Xan: Songs, discography, biography and listening guide". Retrieved . 

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