Music News

Xzibit

The youngest MTV viewers know Xzibit primarily as the host of Pimp My Ride, in which he comes across as the benign, good-humored benefactor of shitbox autos. Musically, though, his grin turns to grim on a regular basis. Weapons is characteristic of his work: a spare, stern hip-hop foray that emphasizes hyper-articulate street wisdom over honey and hooks.

Current events are on Xzibit's mind judging by "State of the Union," in which a heavily edited George W. Bush is made to say, "The tyrant is me." For the most part, however, X sticks to the usual motifs: the gangsta life ("Ride or Die"), those damn women ("Crazy Ho") and so on. As a result, the main attraction is often his delivery, which is crisp and authoritative even on tracks that fail to rise above the ordinary.

It's not that Xzibit's approach is radio-hostile: The propulsive "Hey Now (Mean Muggin')," overseen by Timbaland, sounds great coming out of a boombox. But most of the other vehicles on display are pretty stripped down. As any Pimp My Ride viewer knows, it pays to accessorize.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts