One of The 48 Laws Of Power states: “Too much circulation makes the price go down: the more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity….”
Xzibit may very well have employed this law in his strategy for his return to the game with Napalm. Thanks to MTV’s Pimp My Ride, Mr. X-To-The-Z almost found himself over-exposed to the average American, despite coming off of a pair of stellar LP’s with Restless and Man Vs. Machine. While the seasoned west coast emcee’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004) and Full Circle (2006) received lukewarm responses, X’s next move was a wise one; to take some much needed time off.
It’s been six years since Xzibit’s last LP, giving the rapper ample time to stop and retaliate, and giving the crowd enough time to reflect on the emcee’s career with fond memories. With Napalm, his seventh studio album, Xzibit has figured out exactly what his fans want from him, and has delivered.
This time around, there are no bad attempts at “going commercial”, as Xzibit instead aims at pleasing his core. Xzibit is a gruff, raw emcee, and his beats reflect that on Napalm; no “Choke Me, Spank Me’s” or Toto samples this time around. The album gets off to a strong start with “The State Of Hip-Hop vs. Xzibit”, continuing into “Everything” and “Dos Equis”, both of which bang in true X-Man fashion, while he proceeds to cripple each track with his brand of brash, uncompromising rhymes. This continues on “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Something More”, the latter featuring a kept-thoro guest verse from Prodigy, getting the album off to a strong start.
But before he can be criticized for simply arming the album with bars of braggadocio and battle rhymes, X inserts a heavy amount of substance into the record as it progresses. “1983″, arguably the album’s best track, examines different stages of his life, as it touches upon his time with MTV, spitting for Dr. Dre for the first time, and falling out with Eminem & Paul. Later on “Meaning Of Life”, he examines the importance of family, while on “Napalm”, he rhymes from the perspective of a hoo-rah, battle-ready marine. But there’s still fun to be had, as “Up Out The Way” with E-40 is sure fire club-knocker in the tradition of “Function”, while the stellar “Louis XIII” reunites the Likwit Crew over a Dr. Dre beat, with perfect results.
The problems with Xzibit’s last few LP’s seemed to be a struggle for identity, while Napalm knows exactly what it is. Xzibit’s rough, rugged demeanor has always demanded equally abrasive production to match, and with this LP, he zeroes in and hits the intended target.
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