X to the Z, AvireX to the Z, Malcolm X to the Z or just plain old X, has been one of the West Coast’s most underrated lyricists. Maybe he has been overshadowed by his side projects as of late: movies (Grid Iron Gang, Derailed, or maybe even the low budget joint with Bussa Buss, Full Clip) or his most recognizable spot as the host of MTV’s Pimp My Ride which has spawned video games, soundtracks, and not to mention the fact that it has given mainstream America an entirely new definition for the occupation of colorful characters, such as Detroit Blue, Money Mike and the Don Bishop himself. People may have thought that all this exposure would have caused Mr. Big, Bad, Insane, Black John McClain to lose a step or two, when in fact, this is just the opposite. Full Circle has X coming off so sharp lyrically that you would think that it was ’96 and he was standing next to King Tee, J-Ro, and Tash. Taking notes from his big homey Cube, this former Likwit MC is a perfect example of how to go TO Hollywood without GOING Hollywood.
Xzibit has been the target of much criticism, due to his lyrical prowess. Some detractors feel that he has tried to mimic his Eastern counterparts with his vocabulary, sharp wit and fluent flow. On Circle, he proves everyone wrong by staying true to his verbal voraciousness but at the same time delivers classic Los Angeles content backed by an equally coastal sound scape. The album starts of with Invade My Space in which he attempts to steer clear of haters, but still pledges to handle his business if necessary. This is one of several tracks that was produced by and features Jelly Roll, who not only shares Executive Production credits, but sprinkles flavor throughout the album. X manages to keep our attention with Ram Part Division which is a narrative told from the perspective of a corrupt LAPD officer a la Training Day(think Alonzo on steroids). He flexes story telling muscle on Scandalous Bi****s where he tells us of several stories involving a few unscrupulous women and a few unsuspecting men. On this Fyre Dept produced track, he displays his signature humor when speaking on a situation that places him in a love triangle between his lady and Usher. He gives us a good laugh when referring to the singer, A little over dramatic/In Rome I called him a faggot/In front of millions of people/Funny but shouldn’t have done that/I was makin a joke I wasn’t tryin to offend/like when I introduced Destiny’s Child as Boyz II Men.
Full Circle also showcases a much more mature X. On Family Values, the man who once stood alongside the Doggfather himself and demanded that women drop to their kneecaps, contemplates settling down and addresses his future soul mate with lines like Now before I devote the rest of my life/Can you at least show a nigga you can boil some rice. He goes even further with You may be thinking, Hey X you just a hypocrite/ You actin like you ain’t never called a girl a f****n bi***/Nah its not that/But its like this/We need change and I’m just man enough to say the shit. He continues to man-up with Black & Brown which addresses the ever-growing tensions between Blacks and Hispanics in Los Angeles. Thank You has Mr. X to the Z showing appreciation to fans for the support of his career and even King Tee pops up to join his long time homeboy and DJ Quik on Poppin’ Off.
In lieu of the album title, this seems to be everything but a return to the beginning for X. He continues to show growth and maturity but sounds more like a seasoned veteran as opposed to a post golden era has-been. Even though he managed to drop a solid project, Full Circle still has its flaws. Some of the tracks seem to be filler, which there is really no room for on a disc with 14 tracks. Say It To My Face features a non-rapping, trash-talking Kurupt who is entertaining but would have been more useful livening up this dull track with a hot 16 as opposed to hot air. Some of the production doesn’t match up to Xzibit’s lyricism, which leaves us with several unbalanced tracks. Despite this fact, he still manages to solidify his place in Left Coast Hip-Hop and shows these young bucks “how to do this son”. Many people are looking to another ex-Eminem affiliate to utilize his youth and resurrect the West; however, they may want to take a look to one of their more experienced delegates. Regardless of what has been said in some of the more recent disses pointed at MC’s who are closer to black-balloon parties than celebrating the departure from their mama’s house, I’ll put my money on the elder-statesmen any day.
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