thoughts on lil xan and noah cyrus’ break-up
She brought him love and acceptance, he bought her chicken nuggets.
There was something special about the relationship between Lil Xan and Noah Cyrus. Lil Xan -- internet rapper at the helm of music collective Xanarchy, a collaborator of Xan Frank and a staunch anti-Xanax campaigner. Noah Cyrus, younger sister of Miley, prodigious musical talent in her own right, atop an Insta-empire of millions. Their union was a barometer of where we are now, musically, culturally, existentially. Like a #cancelled actor or an ancient sarcophagus filled with bones in red liquid, their flash in the pan partnership encapsulated a certain mood specific to 2018 that historians will perhaps one day look to understand. Their deranged break-up, however, signalled something much more sinister and foreboding. Playing out in 10-second segments in a 24-hour cycle, Instagram stories became the arena in which an unsettling battle was fought.
According to an interview with E! News, the creative union and romantic entanglement of Xan and Noah began back in February, with Xan following and DMing Noah on Instagram. Noah wasn’t following Xan at the time, so it was a little while before the message came to her attention. Fast-forward to July, and the pair were all up in each other’s Stories, a “source close to Noah” confirming they were, indeed, an item. Next came their first track together, nihilistic love song Live or Die in August, which they apparently wrote and recorded in a week and a half. “I see the whole world through your eyes / Ride or die, you and I,” Noah sings. “If there ain't no price tag, I might take it right. If I hit it from the back, I might just hit it twice,” Xan croons.
The Gen Z anthem quickly amassed millions of streams, and shortly thereafter came an appearance on the red carpet of the VMAs; a kernel of performative celebrity romance that facilitated their segue into the wider public conscience. Speaking to MTV, the pair talked enthusiastically about Live or Die, as well as the other work they’d created and their intertwined musical and romantic future. Xan told the reporter, “You know, I just fell in love with this girl really fast”. Noah added “When I’m hungry, he gets me chicken nuggets.” The next day, images of Xan’s squashed nose pressed against Noah’s face flooded social media, the comments ranging from empathic support to outright derision. Noah later posted a gallery of red carpet images to her own Instagram, captioning it “most ugliest couple at vmas. yeah we know. 👅😍💗 @xanxiety”. The post has been deleted in the last few hours.
In the face of so much adversity, the pair became anti-heroes of sorts, for a quick second. Days later, the perennial cycle of bad news took our Gen Z Jack and Rose. It began [bear with us] with an Instagram story from Xan, the words “I feel like I'm probably being cheated on,” written over a pensive shot of LA at night. Noah, heartbroken and confused, soon posted her response, a meme of pop-singer Charlie Puth’s head Photoshopped onto a pornstar’s body, the meme she’d last sent Xan and the reason she believed he thought, incorrectly, that she was cheating. Xan soon responded that it wasn’t this meme, but in fact an image Noah had posted on Instagram a couple days prior, with her arms draped over another man.
Xan was soon live-posting a video of himself urinating on the platinum plaque for his track Betrayed, writing "THIS PLAQUE MEANS NOTHING MY FANS MEAN EVERYTHING", while Noah shared a series of tear-filled Instagram stories and live videos. “The truth of it is things are gonna suck… Everything’s gonna be okay though,” she told her fans and followers. “I’m trying to stay super positive… Breathing. That’s what you guys should remember to do if you’re sad… Breathing is super important for me.”
Further shots were fired when Xan then made the claim their relationship was simply a marketing ploy cooked up by Columbia Records to sell more music. “I’ve literally been used my entire life,” Xan told Instagram, perhaps later, perhaps before -- with the speed at which it all happened it’s impossible to keep track of the chronology of events. Noah fired back shortly after, I think, claiming the entire fall-out began when she questioned Xan about cheating on her, after spotting a hickey on his neck in a recent picture. A hickey that she definitely doesn’t remember giving him. At the time of publishing, the last message between the two on Instagram Stories is Noah’s paradoxical cry into the abyss. “Diego, please find it in your heart to end this peacefully and not on social media.”
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this series of events is the fact Lil Xan has a platinum plaque on which to urinate over. But, without looking to dissect on a level that a break-up sparked by Charlie Puth’s head on a pornstar’s body doesn’t deserve, the last five days have truly captured the current dystopian soap opera nightmare in which we are now forced to exist.
Xan and Noah have set the bar for what likely will become increasingly normalised behaviour. Instagram Stories and other live-posting platforms as an arena for us to work through our grievances with others. Azealia Banks in Elon Musk’s house. #PlaneBae. We’re metaphorically burning witches at the stake and watching with glee. Privacy is dead. Xanarchy reigns.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.