On this day, October 1, in hip hop history…
1996: After making a name for himself with guest appearances on various Likwit Crew songs in the early 1990s, Xzibit released his debut album, At The Speed Of Life, on October 1, 1996. Considered by many fans to be an underground west coast classic, At The Speed Of Life would serve as an excellent showcase of X’s lyrical virtuosity, reflective songwriting and hardcore aesthetics.
Featuring production by DJ Muggs, Diamond D and the Alkholiks’ E-Swift, the album would become a seminal album in the west’s growing underground rap scene that included artists such as King Tee, Ras Kass, Hieroglyphics and the Alkaholiks in the 1990s. The album would spawns X’s breakout single, “Papparrazi,” that many consider to be his signature song to this day. The song would feature a operatic violin-sample and feature X waxing poetic about rappers who are only in the rap game for the fame and the money, and not the music and the art. An instrumental version of the song would be famously used on HBO’s mega-hit The Sopranos on the episode, “Pax Soprano.”
17 years later, At The Speed Of Life remains an acclaimed record and one of the best releases in Xzibit’s discography.