Xzibit says he's still the underground rapper he was on his first two
albums, 1996's At the Speed of Life and 1998's 40 Dayz & 40
Nightz. He just also happens to still be the mainstream powerhouse he
was on 2000's Restless.
The West Coast rhyme slinger vows to bridge the gap between his past
releases with Man vs. Machine, a concept album of sorts about the
backlash a seasoned artist faces after achieving commercial success.
"I've got a lot to prove," X to the Z said backstage at Saturday's taping of
the MTV Movie Awards. "I've made some leaps and bounds as an underground
artist. I got a lot of prejudice. I got a lot of pressure. I got a lot of
stuff built up against me, and I look forward to it. I love a challenge. I'm
one man, and I have definitely pulled this little wagon a long way, and I'm
about to pull it some more."
Helping Xzibit along will be guests Eminem, Snoop Dogg, DJ Premier, M.O.P.
and, of course, Dr. Dre, who is also executive producing the project.
Although Dre said recently he is hardly needed on the album (see "Xzibit Finishing Up New LP With Minimal Help
From Dre"), Xzibit disagreed.
"Dr. Dre definitely gets in there and brings out the best in an artist,"
Xzibit said. "He'll get you in there, and he'll allow you to paint the
picture and then, with all his experience and his knowledge, he'll help you
hang it right and present it correctly. He's not in the studio with some
anal-retentive methods of how to produce music."
Xzibit said Dre's stable of artists, which includes himself, Em and Snoop
along with veteran Rakim and newcomers like Truth Hurts, all have the same
goals with their music, so working together comes naturally.
"We want to come out and change the game," Xzibit explained. "You don't want
to come and be the same cat you were last year. You want to do something
better, push the line with your music. That's how we get it done. As hip-hop
artists, you have to take the music seriously, not just as a way to get
Xzibit and Dre are finishing the final song on Man vs. Machine this
week. The album is due September 3, though the rapper said he hopes to
release it sooner.
In the meantime Xzibit will begin promoting the album when he heads out on
the second Anger Management Tour in late July (see "Eminem, Papa Roach Line Up Anger Management Dates").
"Last year [Anger Management] was an experiment; this year is an event,"
Xzibit said. "The rap and rock fusion seems to work because the crowds are
the same. The same kids listening to Papa Roach will listen to an Xzibit
Xzibit's set will be a bit longer than it was last year. "Going out there
this time, we got four records to pull from," he explained. "We gonna do
some of the classics, we gonna do some of the new stuff and just go out
there and have a good time."