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Watch it ('Multiply')
Symphony In X Major featuring Dr. Dre
Multiply featuring Nate Dogg
Heart Of Man
Harder featuring The Golden State Project
Choke Me, Spank Me (Pull My Hair) Losin' Your Mind featuring Snoop Dogg
BK To LA featuring M.O.P
My Name featuring Eminem & Nate Dogg
The Gambler featuring Anthony Hamilton
Bitch Ass Niggaz (Interlude)
My Life, My World
What A Mess
(Hit U) Where It Hurts
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seven years and three albums you'd think you know someone.
You'd figure you've been checking his rhymes and diving deep into his flow, and would have some insight into his mind. One would think, but when it comes to Xzibit, one would be dead wrong. That's because on his fourth album MAN VS. MACHINE (Loud/Columbia), the West Coast warrior blows the lid off preconceptions of what an Xzibit release should and can sound like. Featuring production from heavyweights like Ric Rock, Bink, Rockwilder, Erick Sermon, DJ Premier and Dr Dre, who also served as Executive Producer, and boasting cameos from the Golden State Project (aka Ras Kass, Sincere, and Saafir), Snoop Dogg, Dre, Anthony Hamilton, M.O.P., Nate Dogg, and Eminem, MAN VS. MACHINE is Xzibit's assault ratcheted up several notches. Tough, smart, focused, bass-blessed, funkdafied, and full-out hardcore, MAN VS. MACHINE is not only a side of Xzibit that he's never exposed, it's also the hottest album of his career. The title is a signal that Xzibit has something new up his sleeve. "MAN VS. MACHINE embodies what I think struggle is, " Xzibit explains.
"My personal life and what the industry expects of me and what I want to do. "Machine" seemed the best word because it represents everything I go up against and struggle with, as an artist and a man. There's a tremendous amount of growth on this album, because if you don't show growth you run the risk of losing momentum and after the success of Restless (2000), I didn't want to do that. So this time, I experimented. I have a soul song. A song that uses opera.
I just got real personal, because I can't rap about the same shit I did when I was 18. I'm trying to grow with my audience." The creativity that can rise out of growth and struggle is evident in the way Xzibit has divided the album up into both "Man" and "Machine" elements. The "Man" side gives Xzibit an opportunity to lace fans with hard-hitting beats and close-to-the-bone sentiment. When asked why he waited so long to showcase this more introspective aspect of his persona, Xzibit is honest: "Because it was important for me to hold back until I had the audience's attention. There's nothing worse then saying something important and not being heard. After the success I've enjoyed I knew that I had the support to give fans a glimpse of what makes me tick." Xzibit's growth is heard on tracks like the soul drenched "Gambler" (produced by Bink), featuring vocalist Anthony Hamilton and the emotional "Missin' U," produced by Ric Rock and featuring Andre Wilson. "Missin' U" speaks about the death of Xzibit's mother and the choices he had to make. "I was so young when my mother passed and I know my life could have had me on either some destroyed shit or made me stronger.
Thank God, it made me stronger." Another facet of the "Man" side is the rugged "Release Date." Produced by Rockwilder, "Release Date" breaks down the gritty day-to-day realities of a man serving a five year bid in the California prison system. Like "Missing You," "Release Date" was drawn from reality, taking its inspiration from Xzibit's brother who has been incarcerated for ten years. And speaking of "the man," "What A Mess" teams Xzibit up with the legendary D.J. Premier. A perfect blend of Xzibit's rough and ready rhymes and Primo's deep grooves,
"What A Mess" is another indication of Xzibit's maturity. "This was the first time I 'd traveled to the East and worked with producers there," Xzibit says. "They embraced me what I was trying to do and it was all lovely since everyone came together and complimented each other." The "Machine" makes its presence felt on cuts like "Symphony in X Major." Featuring Dre, the track, laughs Xzibit, is "Crazy! It's gonna fuck people up!" Equally bananas is the uptempo and bouncy "Break Yourself" and "Harder," which gives Xzibit's group Golden State a chance to shine. As one might expect from a Who's Who of Los Angelinos talent "Harder" is pure Cali chaos and seriously off the hook. After doing time as an unsigned hero of the LA underground, Xzibit got his first taste of mass appeal when, in 1995, he toured with Likwit Crew, an ad hoc group that included Tha Liks, Defari and King Tee. The following year Xzibit signed to Loud Records and released At the Speed of Life which gave folks access to his uncut artistry and mic technique. His sophomore CD 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz followed in '98 while the video for the single "What You See Is What You Get" held the #1 position 6 weeks consecutively on BET's "Rap City," breaking the network's record. Xzibit followed that up with an attention grabbing cameo on Snoop Dogg's "B Please," and the Dr Dre-produced track helped take Xzibit to the next level. That level was Restless (2000). Yet another project with Dre, the RIAA platinum-certified Restless would become the biggest selling CD of Xzibit's career and the video for the explosive single "X" became a staple on both BET and MTV. Xzibit's singular "slanguage" also caught the ear of his fellow artists and lead to several high profile collaborations with Eminem, De La Soul, Fred Durst, Erick Sermon and Korn's Jonathan Davis. Xzibit also took his skills to the stage and participated in the hugely successful "Anger Management" and "Up In Smoke" tours. After getting off the road, Xzibit spent time with his son and then focused in on the task at hand: recording MAN VS. MACHINE.
With expectations running high, Xzibit made sure his mind and body were prepared for his next move. "I spent time bettering myself. I got on some crazy workout shit, limited my drinking and smoking and dropped 25 pounds. I trained for this album like I was training for a fight. I haven't had this much energy since high school. I feel good." If Xzibit feels good, he's sounding even better. Armed with a new determination and bolstered by the respect he's earned, Xzibit re-enters the ring packing punches that will make your head nod and your body rock. Xzibit will embark on a sequel to the Anger Management tour next fall with Eminem, Papa Roach, and Ludacris. Asked how he views MAN VS. MACHINE, Xzibit is forthright: "I love this album. I take my music very seriously and to heart."