During the course of the past 10 years, Xzibit has seen his career seesaw between purgatory and popularity. While his first two albums moved less than 200,000 copies, X’s later collaborations with Dr. Dre produced 2000’s platinum seller Restless and 2002’s gold disc Man vs Machine. Despite the increase in sales, though, critics felt the lyrical titan had lost some of his luster. Hosting MTV’s Pimp My Ride didn’t help matters much, as 2004’s Weapons of Mass Destruction failed to crack the 300,000 mark. Now back to square one, Mr. X-to-the-Z returns with the aptly titled Full Circle.
Reminiscent of his early work, Full Circle has X skillfully describing the world around him with vivid clarity. A prime example being the DJ Quik–produced “Ram Part Division,” where X adopts a devilish voice to break down the day-to-day life of a corrupt LAPD officer. He then goes from imitator to narrator on “Scandalous Bitches,” as Xzibit raps about a two-faced female who plays house with him and a popular R&B singer. The West Coast representer digs even deeper on “Black & Brown,” where he poignantly addresses the growing tensions between Blacks and Latinos in L.A. (“Now I didn’t come here to point no fingers/I know over the years that the pain still lingers/Over past confrontations/Shit, we all on parole or probation, and fucked up situations”).
While X’s lyrical beast remains intact throughout, his only flaw here is the occasionally spotty production. Primary contributor Jelly Roll is to blame for the scattered synths and organs of “The Whole World,” and Rick Rock’s hollow drums and warped vocal loop on “Concentrate” inspire nothing more than an equally limp hook from X. But he manages to bounce back admirably on the B-Real–assisted “Rollin’,” as he spits, “Escalation, elevation to another plateau/Sometimes you take a few steps back to mentally grow.” Judging by Full Circle, Xzibit is finally done backpedaling.—OMAR MAZARIEGO
Read the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
November 2006 issue (#86)