Words by DJ Sorce-1
During an intoxicated music discussion with friends many years ago, I made a bold predication and announced that Xzibit would be the next great MC. I first heard him tear it up on The Alkaholiks “Killin’ It”, and was instantly hooked. After hearing At The Speed of Life and 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz, I was convinced he would become a legend. He seemed to have all the tools to make him a member of the “Top 5 Dead or Alive.” For starters, and perhaps most importantly, Mr. X to the Z had a great MC voice and impeccable delivery. Xzibit also seemed to maintain a balance that made him destined for the ranks of the elite. He was hardcore, violent, and energetic enough to win over gangsta rap fans. At the same time he was lyrical, reflective, and able to rhyme about a variety of subjects. He was a great story teller, as evidenced in songs like “The Foundation” and “Shroomz”, yet he could do good old fashioned punch line raps with the best of them.
Soon after my prediction, he seemed to lose his touch. He started doing “Pimp My Ride,” and while his music wasn’t terrible, it didn’t touch his albums and guest appearances from the first part of his career. Xzibit wasn’t being mentioned in the G.O.A.T. conversations at all, and it seems my prediction was ill fated. What caused the decline? Was it his switch over to more commercial records, his brief falling out with the Likwit Crew, or his allegiance in the new millennium with Dr. Dre and his crew? I don’t really have a good answer, and there are probably a variety of factors that contributed to him missing the mark I predicted he would hit.
Perhaps I gave Xzibit too much credit and my expectations were too high, but I still feel that when he brings his A game, Xzibit is a top rate MC. There is something about the way he just destroys certain songs that puts him a notch above many other rappers. To show why I felt Xzibit held such promise at one time, I’m going to upload some essential Xzibit tracks for your listening pleasure.
I was a little bit behind the times when the X man first came out, so this song was my introduction to his music. He absolutely annihilates the tracks trippy, bell laced production with lines like “My record contract reads ‘hit man for hire.’ Xzibit show ’em grace under fire.” This was one of many Xzibit/Alkaholik collaborations, and in my opinion, one of the best.
This song is part of Prince Paul’s brilliant concept album A Prince Among Thieves. If that album doesn’t ring a bell, you need to do out and buy it immediately. Xzibit and Sadat X over Prince Paul sounds like an oddball combination on paper, but the result is classic.
Why didn’t these guys ever do an album? This track is a glimpse of what could have been. Eerie piano keys, heavy base and insane lyricism. Ras, Saafir, and Xzibit compliment each other perfectly, and each MC comes with their A came. This is one of Xzibit’s most brutal verses, which he closes out by exclaiming “Picture yourself crushing Xzibit with your tough talk/That’s like Christopher Reeve doing the Crip walk.”
“The Foundation” shows a more thoughtful side of Xzibit and offers a candid look at how he plans to prepare his child for the world. The mellow piano and wistful chorus vocals are a perfect backdrop for the letter to his new born son.
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