In the chorus of his breakout hit record, "Betrayed," Redlands, California rapper Lil Xan sings, "Xans don't make you / Xans gon' take you / Xans gon' fake you / And Xans gon' betray you."
The 21-year-old, who has only been rapping for a year-and-a-half, is, of course, talking about Xanax, a highly-addictive controlled substance used to treat anxiety and panic disorder that has risen in popularity among hip-hop's younger acts and audience over the past three years.
"I was painfully addicted to Xans for, like, two years of my life," Xan toldGenius in a new episode of their Verified series. "Anyone trying to tell me I'm a poser can shut the fuck up. I know what it's like to be addicted to that. I was lucky enough to get off that shit."
If it seems like we've been writing a lot about Xanax and the drug's relationship with rap artists of late, it's because we have. Earlier this year, Chicago rapper LUCKI almost lost his life because of a Xanax addiction and just last week, Fredo Santana, another Chicago act, was forced to check-in to a hospital due to the drug-related failure of his liver and kidneys.
While it's unclear why a rapper who was able to shake his Xanax habit would choose to keep the drug's name as a part of his stage name, Xan is at least saying all the right things.
"I definitely learned that lesson after ending up in the hospital from withdrawing," he added. "I was doing Norcos, too. I was withdrawing from opiates and Benzos. It landed me in the hospital too many times. And one day, I was just like, 'This ain't fun, I can't live this life.' A lot of rappers don't really be talking about not doing drugs. You know, it's like the opposite way, so it's refreshing, I think."
I'm not usually a fan of rappers who toot their own horn, but Xan is right—not a lot of artists are openly rapping about their decision to not do drugs. In fact, there is a startling number of artists, like Florida rapper Lil Pump, who have fully embraced the prescription drug epidemic that is currently ravaging the United States.
Given the success of "Betrayed," which currently boasts 21M views on YouTube, Lil Xan is in the position to give a face and a voice to Xanax addiction and recovery. The biggest question, though, is whether or not he's interested in taking on that massive responsibility amidst a rising rap career.