Xzibit has been a staple in on the West coast Hip-Hop’s
landscape since he hit the scene even though he was born in Detroit, and lived
for a time in New Mexico. Since his 1996 debut At the Speed of Life X to the Z has been speeding along with 40
Dayz and 40 Nightz, the platinum-selling Restless, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and his last album,
2006s Full Circle.
Nevertheless, with all of his Hip-Hop accolades, he’s most
widely recognized around the world as Mr. Pimp My Ride. While there arent many
that want to see Xs return to reality TV, his core fans are certainly
clamoring over his return to rhyme. MMX is the new album and hes also plucked a new management
team, Stampede Management. AllHipHop recently crashed a video shoot,
produced by Skee.TV and breakout director, Matt Alonzo, for his upcoming
videos, “Hurt Locker” and “Phenom” to see what the new decade brings
been eight years since I last interviewed you. You were about to release Man
Vs. Machine. I was re-reading our interview and your head was in a
place of determination like you had something to prove and I got a glimpse of
that with the scene you just shot. Tell me whats your state of mind going into
this latest project.
Xzibit: My state of
mind right now as far as the determination, thats still the same. I think as
long as I’m breathing I’m always gonna have the same drive and as long as I can
physically keep up with my drive I think I’ll be in good shape. But my life has
taken a few different turns since 2002 and you know a lot of things have
happened that were unexpected, you know? The movies, television was something
that I never thought about it was different time back then but music is the
best way I can communicate and I feel like if I can make all of them work than
more power to me.
admit although I’m not mad at you as an emcee I think I like you as an actor
because I’m usually surprised when I see you in a role, you play some different
Xzibit: Yeah, I like
to keep em guessing. I’ think one of the best things to ever happen to me and
my career was underestimation. You give me enough lee-way and I take a mile not
an inch. But I like when people don’t expect me to do things because when I do
it, its looked at on the value of my performance and thats all I want to be
had already kinda established your self as a rapper and then MTV comes along
with Pimp My Ride, how did that change the game for you?
Xzibit: I mean it
was so unexpected, no body knew Pimp My Ride was gonna do what it did. I’m
still amazed by the demographic that show reached, in how many countries and
how many people identify with that show.
think we both know Hip-Hop can be pretty critical, do you think doing that show
took some of your Hip-Hop cred away?Xzibit: To a degree,
but I believe that different people are held to different standards and I
appreciate that. I come from a street based introduction to the game and thats
how I carry myself. This is where I come from but because I come from an urban
or whatever environment you want to say is street, doesn’t mean I cant
translate it to being a human being and be able to articulate myself. And be a
common man and be able to identify with the masses, so it doesn’t matter to me
when people say, Oh hes not this because he’s not doing that, ya know? I
don’t know anybody on this earth who doesn’t want to change or do better.
you really be a common man and be a public figure?
Xzibit: Yes you can,
because I’ve been through real life scenarios. I’ve been humbled greatly from a
time where I thought everything was great and on top of the world when really I
was [actually] neglecting and not taking care of what was really supposed to be
important. So a lot of things have changed around and made me grow up as a man,
as a father and thats what its all about. Knowing who I am.
what is your new music telling us about who you are right now?
Xzibit: Right now it
just feels good to be making music period, the energy from that initial start
off is what your hearing now but the album is consistent with my other albums
in that I always give a lot of myself and its very personal. Very insightful
[but] its not just a bunch of party records although it has that energy to it.
I know I have to be competitive. The album is called MMX which is
the Roman numeral for 2010 and its a very timely album for me because its been
a couple years since I’ve put out a studio album.
not an easy transition going from the old way of doing things to the new landscape
of Hip-Hop especially when you take a break from it, do you find its tougher to
find your footing?
Xzibit: No I think
its great because it gives the power back to the artist, the middle man is
essentially cut out of the way and I like that. I like the power being put back
in the hands of the artist, now its up to us to be more active our careers and
take advantage of all the free publicity and media and take advantage of the
way people spread music.
have been some of your biggest lessons along your journey?
Xzibit: Wow. That
life is short.
Absolutely, I was sorry to hear about the loss of your baby and even as I
re-read our past interview you spoke so highly of your oldest son and how you
attribute all that you do to him and for him so I would imagine that was one of
your humbling lessons you mentioned before, correct?
Definitely the passing of Xavier was something that was unnatural for me and my
family. Its never a good thing to lose someone, but for a parent to bury a
child thats just not a natural occurrence.
was a horrible for time especially for you and King-T who had also lost his
daughter around the same time.
Xzibit: Yes, it was
around the same time me, Tela could identify and Dr. Dre had just lost his son
at the same time too may they rest in peace, it was tough.
that what made you take some time away?
Xzibit: It was a
combination of things. You know Ive been making music for over a decade so I
felt like it was ok for me to take some time out for my family and make sure
everybody was alright and take some time for myself. And gather my thoughts and
not come out here all scatter brained and say something that can be perceived
incorrectly or say something out of anger or spite or just plain not being in
the right state of mind.
Speaking of the past decade that you’ve been rapping, when you started it
wasn’t just Xzibit.
Xzibit: It was
Xzibit A, and I used to rap on KUNM. It was a college radio station in
Albuquerque, New Mexico and all they used to do was play instrumentals and let
people rap and thats what I did.
Thats funny, but I was thinking of a time when it was you and Rass Kass and
Saafir or even the Likwit Crew. How are you with everyone now?
Xzibit: Me and Rass
are still very close. I talk to Saafir all the time too, we’re still very
Saafir was so dope.
Xzibit: Saafir is
still dope although I haven’t heard any music from him in awhile but we talk on
the phone a lot, I’m still cool with all of the people I’ve made music with and
made moves with.
Xzibit: Yea we
speak, thats important to me. We don’t speak often but we speak.
you think there was a time when things were at their peak that you changed as a
Xzibit: Oh yeah!
Come on, man. I was 25 when I made my first million dollars. I was rapping
since I was 13 years old and had Dr. Dre produce my record, and I was on the
radio every 5 minutes. I was on 50 records and B#### Please was playing all
over. We were on tour and I was riding a low-rider across the stage, ni**as was
taking pictures and I had my own two buses, cell phones, man. Of course I was a
d**khead, ya know what I’m saying? You believe the world is your oyster and you are cracking!
what was your reality check?
Xzibit: First of all,
when you’re on top of the world and you feel like success is happening and
you’re doing well theres always something that brings you back down to earth. And
that thing for me was my family and a lot of things happening with my father’s
health and money cant help you when you sitting in the hospital. And things
are tough and you got people in your face asking for pictures and you just
crash like, Come on, man, this is not the place or the time, I need this time
for my people. And also just doing Pimp My Ride and really [I just] wanted to
do my music, it all happened so fast.
you approach music do you approach it conceptually at first or is it built
around the music.
Xzibit: Nope when I
approach music is totally different then when I used to approach it on my other
albums its a whole new formula a whole new format. Musically the way i write is
the same because sometimes i write with a beat w/o a beat but I always writ it
on paper. I’m not one of these new fangled rappers who don’t have to write sh*t
down or put it in their blackberry I’m old school. Whats gonna happen in the
Hip-hop Hall of Fame when rappers have to put their blackberry’s in because
they never wrote stuff down on paper (laughs) I want lyric sheets.
about producers, do you pick specific producers to tell a particular story?
Xzibit: Nope, you
don’t need a name. You need a beat.