Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Xzibit "At The Speed Of Life" (1996)

Seemingly always in the mood for 90s Hip Hop, It occurred to me Xzibit would be a great artist to dive into. I've always been fond of the famed MTV Pimp My Ride rapper, his features with Dr. Dre and Eminem were fantastic back in the day. At The Speed Of Life is the West Coast artists debut and one I actually got into a decade or so ago when really binging into the scene. The single hit Paparazzi holds up well over time but its not much of a surprise that the rest of the record doesn't have the same stick.

Xzibit has a very firm grip on the mic. Aggressive, coherent and articulate, he stands boldly. His vocal tone has a little flavor similar to the looseness of East Coast rappers Redman and Eric Sermon but he stays firmly on track with his rhymes. A steady flow with plenty of sensible word play he almost lacks a spark or flair of sorts. In the wake of weaker lyrics he can be unremarkable but for the most part the story telling and train of through is powerful enough to affirm himself with some serious credibility.

All these years later his more personal oriented rhymes really stuck in the mind but where the record falls short is production. Often gloomy and urban toned beats, swaying between some more rugged bouncy tracks, are all a tough thin and stiff. Somewhere in its composition a little oomph is missing. The ideas are great, the atmospheres forged make much sense but it can't help but feel sparse. The into and interludes also bloat the records pace with a lack of purpose or conception.

This debut record is a good platform to get moving as an artist, he shows his promise, puts together plenty of solid story telling as his explains his life journey to this point. The features are a little varied, he lets a handful of compadres on the mic and they often make for duller moments in the albums flow. Hurricane G on the other hand brings a lot of excitable energy that compliments X well. Its enjoyable, a fun handful of listens can be had but lacks a spark to make it memorable.

Favorite Tracks: At The Speed Of Life, Paparazzi, Carry The Weight
Rating: 5/10