Lil Xan - TOTAL XANARCHY Album Review
To say the new wave of rap artists have been lackluster would be an understatement. The “Lils” of the world have taken over the Soundcloud hip hop scene on the back of drug promoting raps that are rapped over vibrant and fun production. Lil Pump is the poster boy for the new wave and represents everything that can be fun about these artists. On the other end of the spectrum, there is Lil Xan. The 21-year-old rapper from California likes to rap about the drugs he’s doing, but from the perspective of how those drugs help in relationships and his still-present teenage angst. His debut project, TOTAL XANARCHY, is a painful 43-minute dive into the uninteresting thoughts of Lil Xan.
The few things that make this album even a tad listenable are the features and the production. Rae Sremmurd and YG give fairly good contributions on their respective tracks and help to break up the repetitive lyricism on both songs. Charli XCX comes through on “Moonlight” with her trademark autotuned vocals that perfectly match the beautifully simplistic trap beat. “Moonlight” could have easily been from a Charli XCX album if not for Lil Xan’s terrible attempt at being Post Malone. Feature of the album goes to 2 Chainz on “Tick Tock” who lyrically runs laps around Xan and is the only reason to ever put on “Tick Tock.”
One feature very clearly highlights everything wrong with TOTAL XANARCHY though: Diplo on “Color Blind.” Anyone who has listened to this that is color blind is likely wishing they were deaf instead. The EDM track is bright and has all of the club banger elements expected, but Lil Xan calls himself “the savior” and no statement has ever been more laughable than that. As he raps about how his past “loves” have left him heartbroken, there are just confusing bars after confusing bars from the 21-year-old, who it seems has no true understanding of what love is.
If there was one song that was fun, at least some of this would be excusable. But there is just song after song that just makes the listener never want to listen to music again. On the opening track “Who I Am,” Xan proclaims that, “Xans don’t make me who I am.” To even say that when so many songs after not only speak about his xan use, but that his name is literally Lil Xan, is sad. At the same time, if he really believes that, it is funny in the same way that it is funny to laugh at that one friend who doesn’t realize he’s only funny because he’s ridiculous. Maybe if he had more material to rap about the album would be better, but Lil Xan is just interested in partying and telling you about his fairly boring life. This is all without mentioning the lead single on the album, “Betrayed,” which has one of the most ridiculous verses ever put over a trap beat.
Although Lil Xan put out an album for the kids who want to get face tattoos and be angsty with their friends, he is only 21. He has time (hopefully, for him) to get better and eventually make passable (or even good) music. Lil Xan worked with solid producers and was able to snag some quality features throughout his album. But until Lil Xan can improve on his craft and find something more interesting to rap about, it’s impossible to see him as a mainstay in hip hop.
David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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