As an applause from a crowd dissipates, eerie synths glow in the backdrop as former president Bush's voice gives a chilling speech of his nefarious plans and ill intent. It grabbed my attention by the neck, a fine piece of work stitching his many hours of recorded voice together. Listening casually, it almost sounds legit, on closer inspection the details can be examined with a keen ear. I'm not sure I've heard a manipulation that good before! It certainly set the stage for Xzibit to kick off the record with firm fiery raps and a big stage beat on the album's second track L.A.X.
Unfortunately its a swift downhill trend from here. The production team bring this over assertive musicality to the project. Tracks are scarred by sung hooks deploying overt melodies and the instrumentals follow. A dense use of music theory that lacks the ear for what works. Even Xzibit gets in on these gaudy hooks by singing, which doesn't work. Its mostly jovial, upbeat and cheery. The vibe doesn't mix and there is a lot of repetition for an approach that wants to load in melody and layers. Its a better setting for something with a little Jazz Fusion yet this musicality is packaged into stiff loops.
X actually drops a fair amount of decent lyrics. At times he is tight, on point with a lot to say. Cold World sticks to the albums theme with a Middle Eastern perspective that is hard hitting. When not at his best, the loud droning beats tend to take over attention. Without his usual entourage the shift in tone and style fails to yield much that is memorable and produces more of whats mostly on the irritating side. The project is obnoxious, aiming for a more musical, tuneful Hip Hop record that could grab the Pop audience in the record sales charts. Its execution however is deaf to what makes that work. Its sub-par and at an hour in length its over bloated and hard to get through.
Favorite Tracks: State Of The Union, LAX, Cold World