Xzibit enjoyed a mighty run between the late nineties and mid-two-thousands, dropping off albums like At The Speed Of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless, and Man Vs. Machine. Viewed by many as one of the best lyricists to hail from the West Coast, X to the Z's early musical roots featured a rugged underground aesthetic. Nowhere was that more present than on "Paparazzi," a breakout single captivating enough to land a spot in The Sopranos.
Driven by an orchestral instrumental laced by Thayod Ausar, "Paparazzi" found a young X delivering a passionate performance. "See, I don’t need no lights, no cameras, just action, goddamn it, never no superstar, I'm more like a planet," he spits, in the second verse. "So my composure is kept while others start to sweat, emergin' from the fog with my fucked-up dialogue." Thematically, Xzibit puts fake rappers on blast during an era many now deem synonymous with "real hip-hop." Seems like everything is a matter of perspective.
As the idiom goes, same shit and different day; though this track was originally released in 1996, some lines still ring true today. "Either you a soldier from the start or an actor with a record deal trying to play the part," raps X, hitting the nail on the head with a sledgehammer. Revisit this hip-hop classic right now, and do yourself a favor -- check out At The Speed Of Life in its entirety.