Xzibit has pimped his career.
With Full Circle, due October 17, the rapper is six records deep, but he feels brand new. "Not only because the audience is broader," X explained, referring to his "Pimp My Ride" fans, "but because of the energy. The way that I'm coming out on this record, it feels like a rebirth. A lot of the politics and bullsh-- that went behind making so many records in the past don't exist anymore."
In other words, Xzibit has cut ties with his former label and gone back to being an indie rapper (with Koch distributing Full Circle).
"I took a strong stand to get away from Sony Records," X explained, detailing how he believes the label failed to promote his two most recent releases. "I sold 2 million records on Loud, which was one-tenth of the size of Sony [2000's Loud release Restless has been certified platinum by the RIAA]. Going over to Sony, they can only push my records to gold [500,000 shipped]. And I'm not going to sit here and believe it was the music. It was the people behind the music.
"So I refused to put another record on there and that's where 'Pimp My Ride,' film and television and everything came from," he continued. "I'm going to show you that I can do something else. We had to pull some strings to get off of Sony ... so I'm taking this as an opportunity to not let music run me. I run the music. I reorganized, rearranged some things — and man, it is so much better."
A spokesperson for Columbia Records did not return a request for comment.
As an independent artist, X has never worked harder on an album, but he believes the reward will be much better, creatively and monetarily. "It's a difference between 15 cents a record or 7 dollars or 8 dollars a record," he said.
To assist in making Full Circle, Xzibit enlisted Keith Shocklee of the Bomb Squad (Public Enemy, Ice Cube) to co-executive produce, and friends like the Game, DJ Quik, T-Pain, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, King Tee, Donell Rawlings and Jelly Roll to contribute production or guest spots.
Longtime collaborator Rick Rock produced the first single, "Concentrate," which samples a Buddhist chant. "It has a lot to do with tranquility, with having peacefulness and everything coming together, moving in one motion," X said. "I think that was the feel to this whole album. Not to get religious on anybody, but it was a good element to provide for the first single."
Full Circle is full of classic Xzibit boast tracks, but it also goes in a few more serious directions. On "Black and Brown," for instance, he addresses the tension between Latinos and African-Americans in Los Angeles, much like Snoop Dogg's "Vato" does (see "Snoop Reclaims His Old Doggystyle, Goes Gangsta For 'Vato' Video").
"I come to this with some experience, because I had altercations with Latin dudes," he said. "I could have come with, 'Man, f--- this, we can perpetuate the cycle.' Or I can sit back and show a different perspective, show a different sign of something that is learned with maturity and learned with some kind of sense about yourself."
On "Rampart Division," Xzibit raps from the perspective of police officers working some of L.A.'s most dangerous neighborhoods. "We got to say, 'F--- the police,' but now we get to hear what the police have to say back to us," X said. "I actually didn't even have to do any research, because as crazy as the song sounds, I actually just took real things that happen in the news. It's not like I'm making it up.
"When the flak comes — 'cause I know you're all coming — when it actually falls on me, all I got to do is just point out places that it actually happened," he said.