Xzibit

Rap fans throughout the country are unfortunately overwhelmed by an abundance of artists who either go “”Hollywood,”” or worse, are too afraid to be unique.

Many rappers today are faced with a dilemma: maintain their integrity and stay underground or sell out and compromise their style in exchange for fame and fortune. Very few rappers can keep it real while at the same time enjoying commercial success. Xzibit, the Sun God headliner, is that rare artist who has accomplished this difficult task.

Born in Detroit, Xzibit lived there until his mother passed away when he was 9 years old. When his father remarried, he moved to Arizona with him. He remained in the Southwest until age 17, when he moved to Los Angeles.

In L.A., Xzibit hooked up with producer Broadway, who introduced him to Tha Alkaholiks. His impressive appearances on the Liks album “”Coast II Coast”” grabbed the attention of Loud Records executive Steve Rifkin, who in turn offered “”X”” a record deal.

Xzibit burst onto the scene with his 1996 album “”At The Speed Of Life,”” and the single “”Paparazzi.”” His harsh, raspy voice is unlike any other in the industry, and is his most valuable asset. With an orchestra and a catchy drum beat mixed together, “”Paparazzi,”” is one of the most creative rap songs ever released. He calls out the fakers in the chorus: “”It’s a shame, niggas in the game only for the money and the fame.””

“”The Foundation,”” is a song written to his son, warning him of the hardships of growing up. Produced by Muggs, who has produced for Cypress Hill, it features a mesmerizing loop of ghostly wails and a rhythmic piano beat, making it a classic. He also works with Mobb Deep in “”Eyes May Shine,”” and shows off his versatility by blending in seamlessly with the dominant East Coast group.

Everybody wanted a piece of X on his 1998 sophomore album “”40 Dayz & 40 Nightz.”” Method Man, Ras Kass and Jayo Felony make guest appearances.

“”Chamber Music”” is a bangin’ hardcore track that samples its background from Ice Cube’s 1992 song “”When Will They Shoot?”” “”Recycled Assassins”” and “”Handle Your Business”” are two other standouts from the album.

While known by some underground rap fans, Xzibit didn’t really blow up until 1998, when he teamed up with Snoop Dogg in “”Bitch Please.”” Produced by Dr. Dre, it has to be one of the smoothest songs ever made. Snoop and X complement each other perfectly, and Nate Dogg finishes off the song in his usual amazing form.

With newly found fame from “”Bitch Please”” and the Up In Smoke Tour, Xzibit’s third album “”Restless”” received plenty of hype.

Released in 2000, his first single, titled “”X,”” got instant air play across the country. “”Front 2 Back”” is my personal favorite, and I know a lot of people bought this album because I hear people quoting “”Alkaholik”” here at UCSD. Students chant: “”Call it what you wanna call it, I’m a fuckin’ alcoholic.””

In a 5-year span Xzibit has emerged as one of the most prominent West Coast rappers around. He has stayed true to his fans who supported him from the word go, and at the same time attracted a new audience that has just discovered him.

The future looks very bright for the “”X to the Z.””

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