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Lil Xan exploded onto the scene in 2017 with breakthrough hit “Betrayed” putting a Generation Z lens on decade-defining opioid crisis. Signature face tattoos, candy-colored dreads and lyrics framing his anti-Xanax stance captured younger listeners. But public controversies, label woes and chemical dependency soon overwhelmed the promising Soundcloud star.

Introduction to Lil Xan

Born Diego Leanos in September 1996 in Redlands, California, Lil Xan endured a transient upbringing plagued by addict parents and poverty before embracing rap as an outlet.

Struggling with anxiety stemming from childhood traumas, Leanos eventually became dependent himself on opioids like Xanax during late high school years. After a life-threatening overdose before graduation, he kicked addiction and rebranded musically as Lil Xan – aiming to advocate against drug abuse via rap following local buzz around early Soundcloud drops.

Viral breakout track “Betrayed” off debut mixtape Heartbreak Soldiers positioned Lil Xan as Gen Z’s tragic anti-hero; face tattoos symbolizing ‘straight edge’ contrasting lyrics lamenting Xanax addiction and toxic relationships. Signing to Columbia Records and a star-making co-sign from hip hop tastemaker Charlamagne Tha God further fueled his 2018 rise.

But as debut album Total Xanarchy landed Top 10 on Billboard charts soon after, the 22-year old’s career has since stalled from label conflicts, drug relapses, and controversies. Still boasting 9 million Instagram followers though, the post-Soundcloud case study continues battling to steer promising talent away from past traumas haunting progress.

Musical Style & Influences

While affiliating more with emo-punk artists growing up, Lil Xan’s brooding, depressive take on dated trap-pop production still spawned an outlier breakout fueled heavily by social media. Heavily Auto-Tuned vocals emo-rap contemporaries like the late Lil Peep permeate singles like “Betrayed”, nodding subtly towards their shared struggles.

Lyrical content and framing though reductively (if somewhat affectionately) label Xan “the Mexican, Xanax addicted Eminem” – conveying Gen Z nihilism through literal references battling addiction and failed relationships moreso than technical wordplay. Image and branding propelled fame over the music’s limited depth – though suburban teen angst narratives clearly resonated widely.

Discography and Label Situations

Following local buzz off early Soundcloud drops, Columbia Records signed Lil Xan on the viral strength of breakout 2017 hit “Betrayed” alone. His debut mixtape Heartbreak Soldiers dropped shortly after, earning moderate success online mostly from teens relating to tragic subject matter.

With major label machinery fully behind him including cosigns from Charlamagne, late night TV debuts and New York Times features, Lil Xan’s profile rose rapidly – culminating in 2018’s Total Xanarchy debut LP landing at #10 on Billboard charts soon after release.

But Lil Xan quickly soured on Columbia after just one album – citing denial of creative control and depression battling industry pressures before asking for release weeks later in 2018. Amassing that level of fame barely out of high school proved predictably overwhelming.

Free fromrestraints (and resources) of a major label, Xan has largely self-released inconsistent material sporadically since his industry fallout. Financial strains and continued substance abuse clearly still plague progress, though flashes of promise occasionally emerge recalling earlier ascendance.

Collaborations & Notable Appearances

Aside from early hometown collaborator $teven Cannon, Lil Xan has worked surprisingly sparingly on tracks with peers – perhaps still loyal towards former Columbia labelmate Charlamagne Tha God who backed him vocally since day one.

Other notable appearances have included British singer-songwriter Bea Miller (“Same Drugs”) and pop producer Marshmello (“Spotlight”) as Xan explores widening crossover options. But unable to secure work recently with more buzzworthy rappers, Leanos admits Tik Tok views drive income more than music currently.

Live Performances & Touring

Having first performed only months after launching his Soundcloud, Lil Xan’s breakout mixtape track “Betrayed” earned tour invites opening for rappers Rich Brian and Matt OX by late 2017 as industry interest bloomed.

The subsequent months saw debut TV performances on late shows like Conan, high profile festivals like Lollapalooza and his first headlining Total Xanarchy tour across America – suggesting early durability beyond initial online hype.

But recently struggling to sell tickets or generate consistent streaming interest after parting with Columbia, Lil Xan has since relied more sporadically on smaller club appearances between social media controversies to prevent fading completely into obscurity post-2018 peak.

Personal Life and Controversies

Aside from mothering his toddler son (born in 2019 to then-girlfriend Annie Smith), Lil Xan’s existence often plays out more publicly through social media outbursts than known personal relationships nowadays. His online behavior and public addiction struggles continue conjuring nearly as much controversy as music output.

Regular feuds with rappers like 6ix9nine and Machine Gun Kelly ( initiating an infamous Tupac “diss”) have sputtered Xan’s previous attempts at advocacy – regularly undermined these days by tone-deaf comments, not helped by enabling from remaining loyal fans.

Doubling down selfishly after high profile relapses and failed rehab attempts, the “Betrayed” cautionary tale now sadly exists more as reckless liability than any anti-Xanax symbol. Still struggling clearly with childhood-rooted chemical dependency, the road towards lasting stability and creative consistency may remain frustratingly long at just 26 years old.

Estimated Net Worth

Despite only fleeting chart visibility and evaporating mainstream momentum after 2018, multiple sites estimate Lil Xan’s current net worth near $3 million as of 2023.

Revenue primarily flows nowadays from endorsements and touring sporadically off fleeting height-of-fame name recognition rather than music. Yung Leanos LLC – his registered business entity – also likely sees income from merch sales and assets like hisRedlands-based “Betrayed” video location (listed on AirBNB for fans to rent).

But having squandered at least a dozen label-back recordings and any Columbia Records safety net, Lil Xan must continue monetizing 9 million lingering Instagram followers for income and collaborations outside traditional channels – lest addiction and infamy swallow all generational promise and talent without remedy.


Lil Xan’s rapid institutional embrace on chilling confessionals like breakthrough 2017 single “Betrayed” suggested anti-Xanax Gen Z poster boy and advocate. But inadequate emotional coping skills and preparations created tragic consequences once thrust centre stage so suddenly. Xan must address underlying issues still haunting progress before brilliant talent textured by real perspective connects fully again. For while fleeting social media fame presents alluring escapes- legacies and longevity stem not from notoriety, but courage to change.