When Xzibit said he would come back Full Circle with his newest LP, many anticipated heat. After all, if you recall "Paparazzi" and "Welcome to L.A.," you know what X can do with a pen, pad and a mic. Sure, he's become Mr. Pimp My Ride over the years, but he's steady gotten better as an emcee with each album, even if his beats have gotten worse and his limelight duller. This album is no exception.
His story telling becomes vivid as ever with "Rampart Division," a rhyme written from a crooked LAPD officer's point of view. With it, he manages to be humorous, critical, insightful and controversial. His social commentary is enhanced by "Black and Brown," a touching heart-to-heart piece composed in the wake of a violent race war going in the streets today between gangs. His growth as a man is prevalent. First, he discusses how men should treat women and family life in "Family Values." Later, on "Scandalous Bitches," X gets vulnerable; explaining his animosity for Usher, after confessing Usher broke up his wedding plans when he found Mr. Raymond messing with his fiancé. I guess that explains their "beef." But, most importantly, X doesn't sound trite, preachy or corny on any of these tracks.
Too Short, Game and DJ Quik make notable guest spots in support of X but the album could have easily done without T-Pain or Daz. It also could have done without a few sluggish tracks. Furthermore, the production is noticeably weak at times. Make no mistake about it: this is not up to par with the grittiness of his early work or the polished bang of his Dre-helmed albums. Nevertheless, some of the instrumentation, including "Say It to My Face," "Thank You" and the other aforementioned standouts, are great in that they allow X to shine with his words.
He's been an Likwit emcee and has traveled At the Speed of Life. He's been Restless and has battled The Machine. And, yes...he's pimped out rides. But through it all, X kept writing, spitting and churning out hits (and some misses) along with lyrical dopeness. This album may not be a return to the start, but it's definitely a good indication of how far he's come in his career and hopefully the standouts are a great indication of his future. This LP could have been iller, but you have to give props where due. For his part as an emcee, X gives an absolute top notch performance; unfortunately, his beat selection wasn't as admirable. A decade in the game since his debut, the West Coast representative has been very consistent, yet just as many will argue that he has progressed as those who say he's regressed. Positively negative right?