Lil Xan has been on Earth for less than three decades and is already preparing for his second phase in entertainment. After a deleterious drug addiction sidelined him and threatened to shorten one of rap’s most promising careers, he’s been clean for 18 months and loves performing sober.
“I felt good. I was sober-minded. After that, we went to Italy and did a sold-out show in Italy completely sober. I wish I could have been sober back then,” Lil Xan tells REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the “Betrayed” rapper explains memorable moments with Nicki Minaj and Juice WRLD, testing unreleased music at shows, and the impact his drug addiction had on his performances. Read the exclusive conversation with Lil Xan below.
What do you remember about your first live show?
I opened up for a rapper named Ugly God in Athens, Georgia. That was one of my first performances where I felt like there were a lot of people [there] but not for me. Some were there for me, but it was mostly Ugly God fans. It was still a great experience to actually be in a theater that was sold out. Then, I would go on to do my own show at The Roxy, which was dope, too.
What was your first tour? How did you adjust to life on the road?
My first tour was “The Heartbreak Soldiers Tour” in 2018. That was a crazy year. Nobody can prepare you for a tour. That’s just something you have to figure out on your own. It’s a wild experience. You’re on the road constantly. You’re living out of hotels and your suitcase. It’s hard at first, but the more you do it, like by the second or third tour, you got it down. You have an idea of what to expect, and it gets a lot more fun and easier.
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What’s the most memorable live show you’ve ever done?
I did a show with Nicki Minaj and Juice WRLD in Sweden at the Avicii Arena. Being on the same lineup as those two heavyweights was an amazing moment. That was very surreal. The energy was lit. It was a sold-out arena, which is insane.
You’ve been open about your drug addiction. Were there any shows that were affected because of it?
What’s crazy is when I would hit the stage, it was like an autopilot kind of mode whether I was on drugs or not on drugs. I was nervous a little, but you’re always slightly nervous before you go on. But then, when you go on, it’s like autopilot. So I never really had too much of a problem performing, as crazy as that sounds. I would only drink after the performance. I would wait until after the performance to get a little sauced here and there. I wanted to keep it professional a little bit.
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Are you clean now?
I’ve been sober for about a year and six months now.
What was your first show while sober?
It was dope. [Three] months ago, I opened up for Polo G in Fargo, North Dakota in a hockey arena. It was dope, man. I’m a big fan of Polo G, so opening up for him was amazing — especially the crowd. There were about 2,000 people there. I felt good. I was sober-minded. After that, we went to Italy and did a sold-out show in Italy completely sober. I wish I could have been sober back then.
What are your tour hits?
Many of them are unreleased stuff that I [played] for the last year of performing. It’s either past stuff or unreleased stuff I’m currently working on to gauge your reaction. Most of the time, they don’t even know what’s unreleased. We got “Used To.” That’s one of my favorites that’s coming out. “So Pretty” is another good one. There are also ones called “NODA,” which is the next one coming out, and “Runaway.” I’ll just leak all of them, man (laughs).
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What is on your rider?
I’ve heard some artists have crazy riders with certain-colored candies and some super diva s**t. My rider is for the team, bro. If someone needs something specific — a toothbrush, toothpaste, or something — I’ll add it. I don’t even use the rider too much. I’ll put snacks on it. I’m really simple when it comes to that.
Have you missed any personal life moments by being on tour?
Fortunately for me, when I got into this, it started really popping off for me when I was 21. So, I didn’t have too many obligations at that point. It was just getting on the road and working.
What do you have coming for the rest of 2023?
On June 30, we’re dropping the first single in over a year. It’s called “NODA,” which is short for “Not On Drugs Anymore.” I’m super pumped, super proud of this record. Then, at that point, I think there’s a new record coming every month after that. So we’re just going to keep hitting them, hitting them, hitting them. They’ll probably get a project out in September. We’re shooting for September.
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