X Li (real name Xinyi Li) is a Chinese rapper and alternative hip-hop artist based in Toronto. Known for his moody trap beats and flex lyrics, the enigmatic artist’s music has racked up over half a million streams and counting across his digital platforms – and X Li’s only just getting started.
The independent rapper stormed into 2020 with a series of fresh tracks. From first single “Luxury Pain” to the recently dropped ”Wangleta”, the rapper’s accent-tinged flow rides each rhythmical trap bounce with melodic ease, alternating between raw emotion and guarded confidence. Now, with his much-anticipated EP, Tiger releasing later this year, X Li is ready to blow up on a global scale.
Originally from Taiyuan, X Li grew up on rock music, listening to alternative rap-rock artists like Linkin Park that set the foundation for his love of trap – a genre that the rapper deems, in his own words, as ‘the new wave of rock’. X Li discovered hip-hop when he moved to Canada aged 14, and soon found himself magnetized and creatively inspired by artists like Jay Z, Nas, Kanye West, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Since then, X Li has been fixed on one ultimate goal: becoming the world’s first mainstream Chinese rap superstar.
Coming from a wealthy family, X Li’s background was privileged – but it wasn’t smooth sailing. His creativity and independence got him kicked out of Chinese school, with teachers claiming his ‘rebellious’ behaviour would affect other students. Meanwhile at home, X Li’s pursuit of music meant that his disapproving parents shut him out. At the same time, his relationship ended.
Between depression and disownment, X Li channelled his pain into making music and working on his craft. His newfound independence fuelled his drive to create and succeed. He spent every waking hour studying English to be able to pen powerful rhymes in the language and self-express to an international audience. On pursuing his art, X Li said: “I feel happy when I’m making music. It’s like air for me, I can’t live without it. My first inspiration was rock music, and I think trap music is the new wave of rock. I make music to tell people how I feel, and hopefully, motivate them too.”
X Li is ready to break out as the world’s first successful Chinese solo hip-hop artist. Keep an eye out for his EP ‘Tiger’ dropping later this year. You won’t want to miss it.
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