*For most of the television watching world Xzibit is most famous for being the host of the now defunct VH1 show “Pimp My Ride”, but the truly enlightened music fan knows that he was once considered in the top 10 among his contemporaries.
Who were his contemporaries at that time? Oh, we don’t know, something like Eminem, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, Kurupt, Rass Kass, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Game, Dr. Dre and the like. That’s all. His first 3 albums were certified west coast classics, but his last album, released in 2006, was a commercial disappointment. Recently we had the chance to sit down and talk with Xzibit about his new album, “Napalm.” The first single off the selection is also titled “Napalm.” Here, X explains to EURweb’s Lee Bailey the imagery and sound behind the video for the aforementioned singled.
“I spent two weeks on the ground in Iraq last year and I took the opportunity to film the video clip for ‘Napalm’, said Xzibit. “It was at Saddam Hussein’s palaces. It was real to be on the ground there, and those other places that you see on the news. I felt like Iraq was the perfect backdrop for the song. I went to go rock for the troops,” he added when asked why he went to Iraq. “I did about 9 shows there on different bases. We flew commercially into Kuwait, then by military transport into Iraq.”
There have been times in the past when hip-hop musicians would dabble in hard rock inspired production (Run DMC comes to mind) but the overall production in those instances is clearly hip-hop infused with rock. The sound of “Napalm” appears to be more rock than hip-hop due to it being a pseudo-collaboration with Travis Barker of Blink-182.
“I don’t usually lend my sound to rock motivated music, but I just really like the emotion and the aggression of it,” he explained. “I felt it was something different that I had never done before, and I like originality I like to do different things with my sound and not really be stagnant. I always try to move forward and do something different. I had no qualms about it. I was ready.”
“It’s been great. It’s really the beginning of how I plan to roll out this album,” continued X. “To have a video this intense for the roll out of this album is a good step in the right direction. This is the title track of the album, but it’s not the direction of this album. The rock track is the only track of it’s kind on the album and the rest of it is what I consider traditional hip-hop. ‘Napalm’ is actually traditional hip-hop because of the ‘boom bap’. That’s always the center, the drums are always the center. 1500 did a terrific job of making it his own but he still makes it hardcore hip-hop.”
Long time fans of Xzibit are aware of how deeply effected he was at her untimely demise. This illustrated best on “Missing U” from his third album “Man Vs. Machine”. On “Napalm” the rapper takes it a step further by actually incorporating the voice of his deceased mother into the production of “1983.”
“My mother passed in 1983 and my uncle recently gave me a cassette tape with her voice on it,” he told Uncle Lee. “She was speaking to him about a book reading she was about to have, because she wrote poetry. So, she was describing on this tape how she wanted the book reading to go. She passed a week before the book reading. She never got to actually do it. So, my uncle gave me this tape with her voice on it and I took excerpts of her speaking and made ’1983′. That song is more of a conversation with her. That’s how the song formed. It was an emotional outpouring from me on the record. I’m glad to share that intimate moment with my fans.”
“Napalm” was released on October 9th and features guest appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Prodigy, E-40, Game and many others. In addition, fans can expect to see the X-man on the big screen sometime soon as part of the upcoming film “Codename: Geronimo”, the story of the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden. It’s slated to open in Mexico first on October 26 but no word yet on its release date in the U.S.