Call it success by association. Okay, that’s maybe a little harsh considering that Xzibit is already a name brand rapper in the States. But it’s all about taking it to that other level and on this, his third set, Xzibit has done just that.
Xzibit has benefited from guesting on over 30 tracks with such artists like De La Soul and Limp Bizkit, being a part of the ‘Up In Smoke’ tour that featured Eminem, Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, and having Dre as the executive producer on ‘Restless’. Such juice says a lot about the props he gets from his peers, and it’s perfectly justified. What’s so impressive about Xzibit is his rhyme flow, which is one of the smoothest in rap and provides a wonderful contrast to his profanity-led ghetto dwelling lyrics.
With Dre providing beats for three of the tracks and overseeing the whole project, Xzibit now has the perfect musical canvas to accompany his underrated skills. It’s a wonderfully constructed set that, within the gangsta rap framework is, quite versatile, with the typically heavily-synthesised gangsta funk and opulent beats combining with rhythms that range from epic ‘Phantom Of The Opera’-style cadences to Curtis Mayfield funk. Only slightly less combative and aggressive than previous albums ‘At The Speed Of Light’ and ’40 Dayz & 40 Nightz’, it’s still painfully cliched, as such titles like ‘Rimz & Tirez’, ‘F**kin’ You Right’ and ‘D.N.A. (Drugs-N-Alkahol)’ will attest.
However, this is stabilised by the rhythms and the plethora of guest artists that include Erick Sermon, KRS-1, Eminem, Dre and Snoop Dogg. ‘Restless’ serves its purpose, and should be his biggest album to date. Mission accomplished.
Derek A. Bardwell