Xzibit's third record, Restless, unites the West Coast rapper with legendary producer Dr. Dre who brings his Aftermath entourage. Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mel-Man & Nate Dogg all participate in the product. Their worlds collide, what seemed an inevitability giving the influential tone of 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz. This record was like unearthing a lost memory, the beats, hooks and features had the temperament of an era I knew fondly growing up with Em and Dre dominating MTV day in and out. His hit single X is the one song I remember from its airplay on the music channel.
After many spins, my take away is mostly disappointment. I'm sure I'd love it if I heard it at the time but the music mostly feels second hand to the style of production. The tone and temperament, flows and hooks echo of 2001 and his aforementioned guests dominate attention with their styles of the era. Don't Approach Me with Eminem is a fantastic track but as the two exchange verses and Em sings the chorus its practically a Marshall Mathers b-side as the songs weight is clearly on one of their shoulders.
A couple tracks sour with weak hooks or trashy lyrics. Snoop on D.N.A is just ridiculous, made me reflect on how mean and vicious his attitude was at this point in his career. Its not all bad. X brings on other legends like Erick Sermon and KRS-One who put together two fantastic tracks, the loose yet sharp, goofy beat Alkaholik and Kenny Parker Show an old school banger bringing back the classic echos on rhymes.
What about X himself? I felt like he had less to say overall. The immediacy and thirst lacking a little which seems to be a common thread in Hip Hop once success is reached. His rhymes are solid and flow aggressive and rugged but a lot of the lyrical topics were mainly self affirming and defensive of his ability on the mic. Its the most common theme but unless bringing the sharpest arrangement of words its wont stick.
One track, Sorry I'm Away So Much, stands out as a thoughtful song about being a father from his the perspective of X's lifestyle but its a lone track of reflection among a lot of typical hard headed rhyming. Restless is a curious record, a project with a lot of hands on deck, bringing many sounds together that tend to cloud its focus where quality is sparsely found between mediocrity.
Favorite Tracks: Alkaholik, Kenny Parker Show, Double Time, Don't Approach Me, Rimz & Tirez, Get Your Walk On