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After seven years and three albums you'd think you know someone. You'd figure you've been checking his rhymes and diving deep into his flow, and would have some insight into his mind. One would think, but when it comes to Xzibit, one would be dead wrong. That's because on his fourth album MAN VS. MACHINE (Loud/Columbia), the West Coast warrior blows the lid off preconceptions of what an Xzibit release should and can sound like. Featuring production from heavyweights like Ric Rock, Bink, Rockwilder, Erick Sermon, DJ Premier and Dr Dre, who also served as Executive Producer, and boasting cameos from the Golden State Project (aka Ras Kass, Sincere, and Saafir), Snoop Dogg, Dre, Anthony Hamilton, M.O.P., Nate Dogg, and Eminem, MAN VS. MACHINE is Xzibit's assault ratcheted up several notches. Tough, smart, focused, bass-blessed, funkdafied, and full-out hardcore, MAN VS. MACHINE is not only a side of Xzibit that he's never exposed, it's also the hottest album of his career.
After doing time as an unsigned hero of the LA underground, Xzibit got his first taste of mass appeal when, in 1995, he toured with Likwit Crew, an ad hoc group that included Tha Liks, Defari and King Tee. The following year Xzibit signed to Loud Records and released At the Speed of Life which gave folks access to his uncut artistry and mic technique. His sophomore CD 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz followed in '98 while the video for the single "What You See Is What You Get" held the #1 position 6 weeks consecutively on BET's "Rap City," breaking the network's record. Xzibit followed that up with an attention grabbing cameo on Snoop Dogg's "B Please," and the Dr Dre-produced track helped take Xzibit to the next level.
That level was Restless (2000). Yet another project with Dre, the RIAA platinum-certified Restless would become the biggest selling CD of Xzibit's career and the video for the explosive single "X" became a staple on both BET and MTV. Xzibit's singular "slanguage" also caught the ear of his fellow artists and lead to several high profile collaborations with Eminem, De La Soul, Fred Durst, Erick Sermon and Korn's Jonathan Davis.
Xzibit also took his skills to the stage and participated in the hugely successful "Anger Management" and "Up In Smoke" tours. After getting off the road, Xzibit spent time with his son and then focused in on the task at hand: recording MAN VS. MACHINE. With expectations running high, Xzibit made sure his mind and body were prepared for his next move. "I spent time bettering myself. I got on some crazy workout shit, limited my drinking and smoking and dropped 25 pounds. I trained for this album like I was training for a fight. I haven't had this much energy since high school. I feel good."
If Xzibit feels good, he's sounding even better. Armed with a new determination and bolstered by the respect he's earned, Xzibit re-enters the ring packing punches that will make your head nod and your body rock. Xzibit will embark on a sequel to the Anger Management tour next fall with Eminem, Papa Roach, and Ludacris. Asked how he views MAN VS. MACHINE, Xzibit is forthright: "I love this album. I take my music very seriously and to heart."
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