Xzibit is a name familiar to millions across the world. It belongs to a man who is as comfortable inside a recording studio booth as he is behind a television camera. He is a performer as likely to be seen on-stage thrilling listeners in Germany as he is on cinema screens in blockbuster franchise entries like XXX 2, The X Files: I Want to Believe and National Geographic’s Seal Team Six: The Raid of Osama Bin Laden. Let him tell it and Xzibit is simply "a self made man from poverty." A platinum recording artist first and foremost, “X to the Z” is also a superstar with a loyal worldwide fan base only a Hip-Hop icon could garner.
X first came to the attention of attentive Hip-Hop listeners as a member of the revered rap collective, The Likwit Crew. Founder and West Coast Hip-Hop veteran King Tee enlisted raucous group Tha Alkaholiks and newcomer Xzibit into the clique as original Likwit representatives. From there, the ferocious X unleashed his 1996 debut, At The Speed Of Life. Considered by many to be an underground rap classic, it spawned a definitive West Coast Hip-Hop classic, the cautionary "Paparazzi." "That song still elicits a crazy reception from my fans," says its creator. "It first blew up overseas, but ended up traveling everywhere. It's a timeless record."
With enlightened Hip-Hop lovers swarming to offer their approval, he swiftly followed the release with another Hip-Hop staple. His sophomore project, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz was lauded by critics and fans alike, and its lead single "What U See Is What U Get" spent an astonishing six weeks atop the charts on BET's Rap City.
X's mainstream breakthrough came courtesy of one of Hip-Hop's most memorable guest verses. Appearing on Snoop Dogg's atmospheric "B Please," his brash aggression was a perfect partner to Snoop's laid-back drawl. With an integral assist from X, the single became one of Snoop's most successful in years. The X-Man's talents clearly impressed the track's producer, the legendary Dr. Dre. He soon offered X a spot on his epic Up in Smoke Tour. Joining a bill that included the aforementioned Dre and Snoop, Ice Cube, and the controversial Eminem, a captivating, show-stealing X was introduced to thousands of thrilled concertgoers night after night. "That tour was a turning point in my career," acknowledges X. "I was rocking capacity crowds in arenas across the country, and everyone was feeling what I brought to the table."
Forging a strong artistic bond with Dre, Xzibit got the production giant to oversee his next solo album, the platinum release Restless. Expanding Xzibit's fan base far beyond the underground’s constraints, it spawned the unforgettable "X," a worldwide smash hit synonymous with the MC. The Dre and Xzibit pairing was so successful that the Doc also served as the Executive Producer of Restless' successor, the star-studded Man Vs Machine. "It made sense to collaborate with Dre again," stresses the artist. "We have a dope chemistry and Restless had sold over a million copies - why not capitalize on that momentum?" Man Vs Machine featured appearances from fellow Hip-Hop heavyweights Snoop Dogg and Eminem, and soon earned its creator another RIAA plaque. Having now established a devoted fan base and gained a reputation as a relentlessly energetic live performer, Em wisely enlisted Xzibit as a headlining act on the mammoth, globe-spanning Anger Management Tour.
With his vibrant personality showcased expertly through his music, Hollywood inevitably began to show interest in the ascending MC. "I was open to the offers," explains X, "Because they allowed people to see the other sides of me. My raps will tear your head off, but I'm not always the aggressive dude from music videos." His stint as the host of MTV's hugely successful Pimp My Ride led to X accepting an invitation to host the network’s prestigious European Music Awards. It also prompted numerous notable film roles, including a starring role in the 2006 sports drama Gridiron Gang. Continuing to hone his acting skills, X starred alongside Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes in the critically-acclaimed Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans. Amidst silver-screen acceptance and MTV hosting duties, X found the time to release two more albums: Weapons of Mass Destruction, which featured the Timbaland-helmed club favorite "Hey Now," and the independent release “Full Circle.” Although the latter featured some of the most popular names in music, including T-Pain and The Game, X made it clear that his primary allegiance remained to his fans. Dedicating the poignant "Thank You" to his wealth of supporters, X went on to give an arousing performance of the track on David Letterman's highly-rated program. "It was important that I made a song like ‘Thank You,’" X claims, "because, I wanted to remind all the people that love Xzibit that I put my music above just about anything. My music is the foundation of everything that I do, and my fans make it possible for me to keep recording. It's only right that I thanked them."
From 2010-2012 and now in 2013, that love for his listeners remained consistent. Despite securing several impressive film roles including as a Navy Seal in the independent film Seal Team Six: The Raid of Osama Bin Laden, released in 2012, and a well-received guest host spot on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover Edition, Xzibit is still committed to making the unadulterated and unforgiving Hip-Hop that motivates so many. X's gruff baritone will be featured on Dr. Dre's future certain masterpiece Detox. In October, the rap game veteran released his fervently anticipated new solo album, Napalm, his first full album in the last six years. The project’s title track “Napalm,” produced by 1500 or Nothin, features the brash, aggressive tone X’s fans know and love. “I brought in DJ Sid from Slipknot and Travis Barker to complete the record. He flew to Iraq to the shoot the video with troops overseas. “It was surreal when we visited real, relevant places like Saddam Hussein’s Victory over Iran and Victory over America palaces,” recalls X. The album features the likes of Wiz Khalifa, The Alcoholics and David Banner, with production by Dr. Dre, Akon, S1, Rick Rock and Focus to name a few. Fans are in for a heartfelt surprise when they hear “1983,” a personal ode to X’s mother who died in the same year. He lyrically tells a story over nothing but the sounds of a 38-piece orchestra and piano, with rare snippets of his mother’s voice before she died.
In early 2013 Xzibit entered into the spirits business, becoming co-owner and face of Bonita Platinum Tequila. Bonita Platinum is the only 5X distilled tequila and has won numerous awards around the world. The product most recently won the Best in the Nation 2013 by Food and Beverage Magazine. Xzibit is excited about this venture and traveling the world meeting his fans and providing the ultra premium tequila to the marketplace. Bonita will be in stores late 2013.
A household name that will continue to dazzle on the big and small screen, X never will never forget his Hip-Hop roots. He will continue to warrant the respect of all those within earshot, and as a lyricist is intent on proving his skilled penmanship at any given opportunity. "I pray that people are receptive to my music. I feel I have a lot to contribute with the connection between my personal life, the state of world events, and the music. Napalm is a testimony to what I’ve been through in the last six years.” His inspiring grind, organic approach to music and a loyal fan base that welcomes his return with open arms, only ensure his longevity as one of Hip-Hop’s most revered and familiar icons.