The artist-turned-TV personality turns real again, revealing a new side of humanitarian sympathies.
L.A.’s household-name performer Xzibit has been in the game a long time, but since his last studio album Full Circle was dropped in 2006, the rapper’s had his title hyphenated to include his recently predominant on-screen persona. His telltale mustached mug and gruff voice have shown up in a multitude of films, reality TV shows, and video games over the last decade or so, among them 8 Mile, The X Files: I Want To Believe, Detroit 1-8-7, Pimp My Ride, CSI: Miami, Loiter Squad, NFL Street 2, and The Chronicles of Riddick. But as any genuine artist is prone to do, it appears that Mr. Joiner has wearied of his current image, which has increasingly been shaped to fit a culture of memes, and one-sided show hosts.
This Fall will see Xzibit foraging a further identity through his music, with the release of Napalm, named after the track he made with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker for the latter’s mixtape Let The Drummer Get Wicked. The album has been renamed and pushed back several times since the originally proposed 2010 release, from MMX, to MMXI, to Restless 2, before the final selection.
Napalm’s statement has also since become firmly entrenched in the issues and emotions surrounding the military experience of the American forces in Iraq, whom Xzibit visited on tour to nine different Iraq bases. The performer told AllHipHop.com Friday in a private studio interview that he experienced real danger to military violence on his visits, exposed to air attacks and rocket-propelled grenades under an open sky of unrest.
“The response was dope, we were on the base that had Iraq and U.S. soldiers. Someone was screaming, ‘Concentrate,’ I could hear people were requesting my songs,” the artist dished. The bonds Joiner made with soldiers and sergeants allegedly inspired and consumed the rest of the tracklist, and led him to feature the speaking voice of real life retired Staff Sgt. Shilo Harris on “The Meaning of Life.” The inclusion of Xzibit’s son, Tre 'Capital' Joiner also adds a deep, personal touch to the impressive feature list, with Game, Wiz Khalifa, E-40, Prodigy, Slim The Mobster and Crooked I in the mix. Producers include David Banner, Dr. Dre, !llmind and Akon.
Of the West Coast inspired track “Movies,” Xzibit said in the same interview that, “The lyricists of the West Coast, we take our shit very personal we got myself, Game, Crooked I, and Slim the Mobster. Apparently ready to stop playing himself as a make believe role, Xzibit appears to have left the movies behind for a stab at a new realness that might override his memed stereotypes, and evoke sympathy for politically touchy issue of Iraq-based military experience.
The suspense ends with the release of Napalm on October 9th in stores and on iTunes. In the meantime, check out the video for the album's namesake single, shot in Iraq.