It was only his second time visiting the east coast, but California native Lil Xan had to come through Hot 93.7 and tells us what’s up! The ‘Betrayed’ artist talked to Big Regg about how he got his name (an inside joke with friends) and how his impromptu rap career started poppin’ off (because of a stolen camera).
Xan’s Spotify streaming numbers are insane and his videos garner millions of views – in one day! And the numbers just keep climbing. He also says his new music will “blow people’s minds and show a level of maturity.” But no matter how many Ws he garners, he remains humble and has mad love for his fans. And don’t let his name fool you – he doesn’t condone the abuse of Xanax and has started an anti-Xan movement.
What do you want people to know about you?
I’m really cool, down to earth, and nice – I don’t have the stigma some other rappers have, ego type stuff. I love my fans – It’s just so crazy when a girl comes up to you and they’re trembling; their hands are shaking, it almost makes me want to start shaking, like, “I don’t want you to pass out on me.”
In my mind, I’m like, I’m not a rapper. I don’t think like that. I’m a human being at the end of the day. I still got the mindset that I’m just like… normal! I’m not caught up – I’m like the fans, I’m like you – without you guys, I wouldn’t be here! I love my fans to death.
How’d you get the name Lil Xan?
It was back when I was addicted to Xanax (I’m not on that anymore) and one of my friends was like, “I’m gonna call you Lil Xan ‘cause you take a lot of Xanax and I was like “that’s a good name!” We weren’t taking it seriously, it was just a nickname.
And how did your rap career begin?
I started as a photographer. And I was a big $teven Cannon fan – I was first in line at all his shows in L.A. I just loved his music. I befriended him. One time, I put my camera behind the DJ booth because I wanted to just turn up… and someone stole my camera! I was devastated because I was just getting good at photography. Then I was at a crib that had a studio in it — where $teven had recorded! And I thought about it and asked how much it was to use it. Sooo, $1200 for a new camera or $20 to record a song?
I was just like I’m gonna try my luck at this rap stuff… I made a corny song called ‘Hit My Line’ – it was the only song I didn’t write myself. Because I didn’t know how to go about being a rapper, but people liked it! Some of the girls back home liked my voice. They thought I sounded good on a mic. It was a hobby, but I evolved.
One day, I recorded a song called ‘Slingshot’. Initially it went slow, but then it went crazy! So I thought maybe I do have a shot at this and started taking it a little more seriously.
One night, I recorded a whole three-song mixtape. One of those songs was ‘Betrayed’, which now has over one hundred million streams worldwide! We made it and just thought it was a good song, but it blew up! Then we did a video (with Cole Bennett) for it and it got a million hits in a day! We were like whoa, hold up, okay, let’s see what this record gonna do! Within a month, it was up to 20 million and the numbers just keep climbing!
I was about to thank the man who stole my camera!
It’s time for you to say I’m here! There’s no more wow! You arrived!
I was living in a motel for like two years of my life. This wasn’t the plan. I wasn’t a freshman in high school battle-rapping and freestyling. It’s not routine…
My dad showed me Odd Future. He was hip to all this rap music. But not just rap – I grew up on everything from like Nirvana to Smashing Pumpkins to The Killers, to N.E.R.D./Pharrell – love all that! So he kept me musically influenced. Music was always the biggest part of my life, just listening to it.
Do you ever get backlash from artists who’ve been doing it longer than you? Those who had that “cafeteria” background, putting out mixtapes, going to labels and radio, etc.
So far there’s been no backlash or beef. But we’ve had that conversation like, “Damn, this dude’s been doing this for such and such long.” And I’ve only been doing this a year and it was a hobby to be honest, I’ve only been doing this for six months! These days the come up is fast and overnight, but staying is the challenge. It’s cool and all, you skip the struggle, but you gotta let people know you’re here to stay.
You say you got your name from Xanax, but you don’t do that no more.
Xanax got me into too many problems, fights – it makes you feel like you’re invincible. It makes you feel cocky and gives you false hope, is what I’d say. When I made ‘Betrayed’ I was off it.
I suffer from severe anxiety, but I was in there and was like I’m gonna make like an anti-xan song and really switch this whole thing. Xanarchy wasn’t a thing — we were going by Lil Gang, so Xanarchy is the biggest anti Xan movement out there – anti-Xanax, positivity, and just making good music that’s gonna stay. I just really want the anti-Xan movement to be something of mine.
Any backlash for being anti?
No, the backlash I get is from people not understanding that I’m NOT for Xan, because they just see the name.
For more with Lil Xan, listen to the complete interview with Big Regg above or watch the video here!