The 2018 Music Power Couples Power Rankings

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The conceit of this list is simple: Which music power couple dominated the year? In 2018, there is no easy answer. This, after all, was the year of Grusk, Pete & Ariana, and super secret weddings between men who write songs and play guitar and certified A-list actresses. I devised a complex, scientific formula to … More »

While You Were Laughing At Mariah Carey She Was Making Yet Another Dope Album

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Mariah CareyDo you remember what you were doing the night of December 31, 2016? Just after midnight, I was at home watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, still smarting from Ohio State’s brutal loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff, when onto my screen bounded Mariah Carey, apropos of nothing. Carey … More »

Lil Xan Hospitalized After Eating Too Many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

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By this point, it’s safe to say that Lil Xan will not be eating any of your Flamin’ Hot Cheetos anytime soon. The 22-year-old rapper shared on Instagram that he made a trip to the hospital on Monday due to the snack food. The rapper said “Also be careful,Hot Cheetos are one hell of a

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Lil Xan Says He Was Hospitalized For Eating Too Many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

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Lil XanAs a maker of music, Lil Xan remains garbage. As a doer of ridiculous things, he continues to be a golden god. Or at least his insides are golden, owing to Cheeto powder. More »

Thankfully Paul McCartney’s New Album Only Pretends To Be Modern Pop Music

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Paul McCartneyAt age 76, Paul McCartney is still horny as hell. Judging by the advance singles from the former Beatle’s new album Egypt Station, the guy who once hollered “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” continues to have a very active libido on the eve of his 17th solo studio album. More »

Lil Xan Says Columbia Records Arranged His Recently Ended Romance With Noah Cyrus

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Lil Xan & Noah Cyrus in happier timesLil Xan, a.k.a. Diego Leanos, is a 21-year-old SoundCloud rapper with facial tattoos and predictable appeal to teenagers. Noah Cyrus is an aspiring pop star and the 18-year-old sister of Miley. Their brief romantic relationship sparked an unremarkable collaborative single, “Live or Die,” and peaked with an excruciatingly awkwardMore »

Lil Xan Accuses Ookay Of Stealing His Girlfriend

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In news that makes zero sense, here I am writing this. Because quite frankly, how else do I want to start off my week? I couldn’t think of one better thing to be doing with my time. Nope. The hottest couple of 2018, Lil Xan and Noah Cyrus, have seemingly split after Cyrus posted an Instagram with

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Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s OTR II Tour Is A Surprisingly Chill Victory Lap

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Jay-Z & BeyoncéOn The Run II is bracketed by a pair of slow dances. OK, technically it’s bracketed by Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail” — with Beyoncé taking over Justin Timberlake’s hook duties and thrashing her hair in circles during the Nirvana interpolation — and “APESHIT,” the rousing Migos-powered lead single from the Carters’ new collaborative album Everything Is … More »

A Little Bit Country, A Whole Lot Of Streams: Bebe Rexha Has Cracked The Code

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Bebe Rexha - ExpectationsIf it’s meant to be, it’ll be: Regarding Bebe Rexha’s unlikely takeover of the country charts, this is both the savvy execution and the only explanation. More »

Music Review: Lil Xan – TOTAL XANARCHY

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Lil Xan

TOTAL XANARCHY

[Columbia; 2018]

Rating: 2/5

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.