Weapons of Mass Destruction

Artist: XzibitTitle: Weapons of Mass DestructionRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Low-Key Heinzelman

Xzibit sold out! That is what many fans have been saying since Mr. Pimp My Ride has blown up on a national level the past two years. Now back with his fifth album, Weapons Of Mass Destruction (Sony), Xzibit is out to prove that he has not forgotten where he has come from and that he remains one of the West's premier emcees. Coming off of a sub par album is never easy, especially for Xzibit, as his 2002 release, Man Vs. Machine, was labeled by critics and fans alike as his weakest album. Thankfully, Xzibit has refocused and delivered a solid comeback effort with Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Following in the same light as 2000’s Restless, his latest offering combines solid song making and satisfying production with Xzibit's trademark charisma on the mic.

This creative flare is never more evident than on X's fist single, "Hey Now". With Timbaland 's head nodding handclaps and Keri Hilson's insanely catchy hook, X delivers his best commercial track yet. But unlike his last album, Weapons Of Mass Destruction does not try to force the issue by regurgitating lame radio friendly singles over and over. Instead X shows more variety and steps outside of his comfort zone. The socially conscious "Cold World" finds X in storytelling mode, painting three diverse pictures of life and its harsh realities. From sexual harassment, to a drug deal gone wrong, to an Iraqi family stuck in the middle of President Bush's war, Xzibit is able to draw the listener in with each standout verse. On "Scent Of A Woman" X does what every great man should, by paying homage to the strong woman in his life. In addition, DJ Hi-Tek laces the track perfectly with his hard hitting drums and ambient violins.

While most of the album finds Xzibit flying solo, when he does stop to gather some help is when the album tends to falter. Busta Rhymes comes through for a formulaic sh*t talking effort on "Tough Guy", an awkward Hi-Tek produced track that finds the duo rocking over an irritating Oompa Loompa backdrop. In addition, Xzibit's Strong Arm Steady Crew fails to impress with their generic offerings throughout the album. The gun busting tales of "Beware Of Us" suffers from X's singsong hook and each emcees lackluster verse. Things do not get any better on "Crazy Ho", another b*tches ain't sh*t influenced track that is almost common place among West Coast albums for the past ten years.

With Weapons Of Mass Destruction, Xzibit proves that his new found fame has not gone to his head. Mr. X to the Z is still capable of producing solid albums, and after eight years in the game, that is all you can ask for.