Lil Xan is boring. This is one of the harshest aspersions I can cast on the Redlands mumble rapper, but it’s also one of the more diplomatic things I can say of him. In a trendy subgenre like emo rap, where sensationalistic subject matter like drug abuse, self-harm, and suicide is the preferred stock in trade, to call Xan underwhelming is to dismiss both him and his message. But on the other hand, the MC born Diego Leanos has seen a barrage of negativity recently in the form of unenthusiastic album reviews and accusations of inauthenticity following an interview in which he calls Tupac’s music, erm, “boring.” So to say the same thing of Xan is more or less a defense of him; Leanos may be boring, but he’s not the odious little twerp hellbent on sabotaging hip-hop that so many have made him out to be. Really, he’s just a kid coping with his demons through his (admittedly bland) music.
A former Xanax addict looking to deglamorize the drug by making it his namesake, Lil Xan is an enigma to be sure. In a genre that valorizes self-medication and escapism, Xan’s modus operandi comes off as more half-baked than subversive. His putatively anti-drug stance sounds more like an ex post facto decision on the album than a guiding principle. Still, if Xan is looking for catharsis on TOTAL XANARCHY, he’s succeeded, even if he’s the only one happy to hear about it.
XANARCHY is hindered by homogeneity more than anything else. It’s got all the signposts of late-2010s trap: tight, brittle 808 drums, loud waves of monotone bass, sleepy vocals that slur phrases into single legato, polysyllabic words, etc. As such, the album would work as a passable trap effort, but underneath Lil Xan’s disengaged delivery, TOTAL XANARCHY ends up slogging through his sketches of abandonment, addiction, and, conversely, fame and success, with total listlessness. While Xan relays the indignities of dissolving friendships and drug-induced anhedonia on “Basically,” he does so with the same mid-level energy as that on the puerile brag song “Diamonds.” Even when it’s broken up by the fairly impressive array of guest spots dotting the album and the standout single “Betrayed,” XANARCHY’s monotony continuously proves to be the record’s most insurmountable, pernicious element.
Amid a maelstrom of tepid, low-stake feuds with other rappers and critics, the most interesting (and funniest) thing Lil Xan has done recently is enter into a flame war with comedian Jon Daly (a.k.a. Lil Xan’s Dad, a.k.a. Big Baby Aspirin). This beef is probably the best illustration of Xan’s current standing in the world of hip-hop: not yet ready for big league controversies, Lil Xan is relegated to Daly for feuding, at least until he gains more clout in the industry. But despite all the acrimony surrounding Leanos at the moment, there’s something to be said for the dopey, cheery face on TOTAL XANARCHY’s cover. Behind his stony vocal performance, Xan sounds like he’s genuinely enjoying himself. At least one of us is.
This is a big week for R&B. That’s true first of all in a statistical sense: The Weeknd’s new EP, My Dear Melancholy, just put up 169,000 equivalent album units in its first week — the biggest total for an R&B release since late 2016 (when, uh, the last Weeknd album came out). We … More »
So much of me wants to be jaded and cynical at all times. That says a lot about how I deal with stress in my life, but I digress. Why I say this is because when I see a collaboration like Diplo teaming up with Lil Xan, I immediately just want to think it will
The video was directed by longtime collaborator Austin Peters, who also helmed Major Lazer’s feature documentary Give Me Future, as well as the video for “Miss You.”
California, the first solo body of work from Diplo in five years, is named for the state where he recorded the EP, serving as a full circle moment for the artist whose debut album was named Florida, in honor of the state in which he grew up.
Diplo has dropped off his first solo project since 2013’s Revolution, the new seven-track collection, California.Don’t let the title fool you — random white dude still be everywhere, though nowadays the Mad Decent head leans much more west coast than anything, and lately he’s enjoyed some time in the studio with a batch of rap’s most in-demand young up-and-comers. Recruiting work from Lil Yachty, Desiigner, DRAM, MØ, Goldlink, Trippie Redd, and controversial rhymer on the rise Lil Xan, the new EP sees Diplo reaffirm his status as one of today’s top A&Rs, all rolled up and tightly packed into a wrap fit for pop music’s most ambitious force behind the console.
The EP includes previously released material, including “Look Back, “Get It Right,” and “Worry No More.” Each track on the EP features Diplo’s chameleonic style wrapped around different lyrical deliveries, with each rapper and vocalist obviously inspired by their Californian surroundings in different creative ways. One listen through California highlights just how far the Major Lazer frontman has come since his 2004 debut, Florida — and it’s a lot further than just coast to coast. Florida was the beginning of Diplo’s grind, and California plays a lot more like the type of music one could sit back and watch a young man’s game unfold to. And 15 years after his studio debut landed, its safe to say Diplo has undoubtedly earned that right.
As part of New Music Friday, Diplo has released his new California EP. For this EP, Diplo teamed up with a hip-hop all-star lineup featuring Lil Yachty, Desiigner, Santigold, DRAM, Trippie Redd, Lil Xan, Goldlink, and M0. During an interview with iHeartRadio, Diplo revealed “I’m just always working the studio. I did a lot of
CRVE U aka Jared Rapoz is ready to kick off the new year with a bang. In just a short amount of time, Rapoz has released hit after hit on SoundCloud and has amassed thousands of streams from his releases on AUX Paris, Lowly Palace, and Hegemon. For his latest release, CRVE U took the