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Xzibit: From Zero To Life In 60 Seconds

xzibit-5

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,

2006’s 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 aren’t many

that want to see X’s return to reality TV, his core fans are certainly

clamoring over his return to rhyme. MMX is the new album and he’s 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

Xzibit.

AllHipHop.com: It’s

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 what’s your state of mind going into

this latest project.

Xzibit: My state of

mind right now as far as the determination, that’s 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.

AllHipHop.com: I

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

characters?

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 that’s all I want to be

judged on.

AllHipHop.com: You

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.

AllHipHop.com: I

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 that’s

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 can’t

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 he’s 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.

AllHipHop.com: Can

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 that’s what its all about. Knowing who I am.

AllHipHop.com: So

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] it’s 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 it’s a very timely album for me because its been

a couple years since I’ve put out a studio album.

AllHipHop.com: Its

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.

AllHipHop.com: What

have been some of your biggest lessons along your journey?

Xzibit: Wow. That

life is short.

AllHipHop.com:

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?

Xzibit: Yes.

Definitely the passing of Xavier was something that was unnatural for me and my

family. It’s never a good thing to lose someone, but for a parent to bury a

child that’s just not a natural occurrence.

AllHipHop.com: That

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.

AllHipHop.com: Is

that what made you take some time away?

Xzibit: It was a

combination of things. You know I’ve 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.

AllHipHop.com:

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 that’s what I did.

AllHipHop.com:

That’s 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

close.

AllHipHop.com:

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.

AllHipHop.com: The

Alkaholiks?

Xzibit: Yea we

speak, that’s important to me. We don’t speak often but we speak.

AllHipHop.com: Do

you think there was a time when things were at their peak that you changed as a

person?

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 “Bitch 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!

AllHipHop.com: So

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 there’s 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 can’t 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.

AllHipHop.com: when

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.

AllHipHop.com: What

about producers, do you pick specific producers to tell a particular story?

Xzibit: Nope, you

don’t need a name. You need a beat.

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