“This how you make me feel, that’s how I know it’s real
Take you around the world, cause you my baby girl
I know you feelin good, I know you feelin right
You see me ridin, you ridin wit me your shit is tight
Self-made millionaire I find myself
My success God bless not defined by wealth, c’mon
We live in crazy times, niggaz done lost they minds
We wanna fuck every fuckin chicken we fuckin find
But then there comes a time, when you start to grow
But you ain’t growin with me and it’s startin to show
Before I say I can’t live without ya
Let’s sit and have a talk about family values”

What’s this – a kinder, gentler Xzibit? Where’s the “Pussy Pop” and the “Shroomz”; hitting the “Drugs-N-Alkahol” while spinnin’ “Rimz & Tirez?” If that’s all you thought Xzibit was then you had it twisted from jump homey. Mr. X to the Z is as much of an enigma to the rap game as his name. Vocally he hits like two tons of bricks with a deep loud West coast vocal tone that growls like a lion that hasn’t eaten for three days. You’d expect somebody who sounds like that who came up on King Tee and N.W.A. records and got his foot in the door with Tha Alkaholiks to be hard for days, cold as ice and willing to sacrifice. Xzibit flipped the game on his very first record though with the single “Paparazzi” and showed even a hard West coast rapper from a hard knock life background could flip something beautiful. How many rappers rocked “Pavane” by Gabriel Faure before Xzibit, let alone anything classical sounding? How many rappers on their debut album would actually knock their fellow MC’s with the words “It’s a shame/niggaz in the rap game/only for the money and the fame” and make it a smash hit? Xzibit has built a career off of defying people’s expectations, including the expectations he’d never break through and be a huge mainstream star. “Pimp My Ride” on MTV has certainly proved otherwise, and after a ten plus year career “in the rap game” Xzibit’s read to come “Full Circle” and flip the script yet again. If another rapper has rocked the Buddhist chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” and turned it into a smash hit I’ve yet to hear it, but Xzibit and Rick Rock do on “Concentrate”:

“Meditate, levitate
Greetings from the Golden State
Mr. X, to the Z
Concentrate, come walk with me
Your shit sound so awkwardly
I don’t rhyme I just stomp down beats
Real estate, section eight
Which one would you rather take?
Concentrate, move that weight
Show me how you regulate
Hold up, wait, that shit’s fake
Get these niggaz up out my face
Shake the room, bend the spoon
Turn this up now, stay in tune
Hypnotized by the way she move
Take your time you might arrive too soon”

Xzibit mashes hard when necessary and doesn’t give up an inch of turf for what it’s worth on his hardcore credibility. He dares lesser foes to “Invade My Space” and then proclaims himself “pimpin through the city with a big ol’ pistol” in his ride on “Rollin’,” both over smooth-ass Jelly Roll tracks. He’s linked up with Cali’s hardest as guests throughout, banging with Kurupt on “Say it to My Face,” mashing with Daz, The Game and more for “On Bail,” and even reunites with King Tee for “Poppin’ Off” with DJ Quik and a sweet Khalil beat. When it comes time to show he’s not just about macking, drinking and flossing in the kind of candy whips you see him with on MTV, X proves just how well-rounded he is as a lyricist and human being with joints like “Family Values” or “Thank You”:

“You ’bout to hear some words, that you ain’t probably heard
With all of these rappers pullin triggers and flippin birds
I know it sound absurd, cause they don’t tell the truth
They prostitutes, fuckin contaminate the youth
But yet I’m guilty of, the things I said above
No matter my faults still continue to show me love
Naw I ain’t perfect mayne, but yet I stay the same
I play chess not checkers but this is not a game
And this is not a song, and this is not a verse
It’s not conceived, or simulated or been rehearsed
Spent the first half of my life, thinkin that I was cursed
Could have been hit with a hollow, follow behind my hearse
That wasn’t meant for me, I spent a decade
makin it what it’s ‘sposed to be, hopefully brought you close to me
All these people approachin me, don’t even know the half
I could be facin life but X is signin autographs, damn”

X to the Z could have hung up his mic for good and made a full-time career out of acting and hosting television shows, two areas where his infectious personality and charisma shine as much as they do on wax, but unlike some rappers who have found success in Hollywood X is staying true to his roots and showing he’s still serious about his hip-hop craft. “Full Circle” is a record that now only shows he’s got respect for where he’s at in life but also shows fans they can still respect him without the accusations he crossed over or sold out. He’s still as down today as he was on day one.

Xzibit :: Full Circle
8.5Overall Score