Xzibit’s biggest weapon on his upcoming Man Vs. Machine LP may be the element of surprise.
Yes, we expect him to throw them bows at his adversaries on songs like “Enemies,” and considering they were once labelmates and both have no problem getting dirty in lyrical mud fights, his collaboration with M.O.P., “BK to LA,” isn’t a complete shocker. But the West Coast battle cat has a few wild cards up the sleeves of his jersey — he experiments with flows and rhymes about everything from his deceased mother to social turmoil.
Dr. Dre took the reins for the album’s first single, “Multiply.” The Doc starts the beat off with an understated, off-kilter rhythm, not too dissimilar from the sound of hitting switches on a lowrider. Meanwhile, X explicates with a half-singing sermon before going into a full-throttle rage about, among other things, how the game is “10 percent skills and 90 percent Hollywood.” Clearly X’s co-star on the song, Nate Dogg, is taking the whole Man Vs. Machine theme very seriously: The gangstafied soulman goes from the church to the spaceship, singing the chorus, “We back on line/ We came to ride …” with a robotic croon.
Man Vs. Machine is supposed to drop sometime in the first couple of weeks of September, but the album’s most important “Release Date” is the LP’s first track. There X rhymes from the perspective of an inmate who’s on the brink of getting out of prison. But before he leaves, he exposes his mental scars from a life behind bars filled with fights, rape and seclusion.
The X man is anything but isolated on “Choke Me, Spank Me, Pull My Hair” — he has more women than the law allows. Sounding like we’ve never heard him before, X switches up his scabrous monotone in favor of a high-pitched swagger reminiscent of Bootsy Collins. Xzibit wants to take big pimpin’ to the next level, insisting on the song that he’s not in love, but rather wants lovin’ from as many girls as can fit into a room. “Choke me/ Spank me/ Pull my hair,” a female exhorts on the chorus in her best naughty voice.
Eminem wants to give Jermaine Dupri a spanking of the verbal sort on “Say My Name.” “It ain’t beef man, I don’t know what you call it,” Em laments before he starts to rhyme and call out JD. Snoop Dogg swears up and down that anybody wanting to compete with him and X-to-the-Z have gone batty on “Losin’ Your Mind,” and it’s a West Coast verbal demolition derby with X’s Golden State Project members Ras Kass and Defari on “Harder.”
X will take his acclaimed aggression out on camera within the next couple of weeks: He’s currently gearing up to shoot the video for “Multiply.” He’ll soon be in front of a multitude of fans as well, on the upcoming Anger Management Tour.
—Shaheem Reid mtv.com