On his classic 1996 track “Paparazzi,” Xzibit voices his disgust toward rappers elevating the paper over the spitting: “It’s a shame, niggaz in the rap game only for the money and the fame.” Guess things done change. Xzibit is now Mr. Pimp My Ride, urban celebrity spokesperson for Right Guard Sports Stick and Diet Pepsi. Record companies fold, artists lose touch with the masses, but corporate checks never bounce. The streets are talking, and the kiss of death is being uttered: “Sell-out.” Whether it’s “slangin’ bean pies and St. Ides” or crooning duets with J-Lo, the words have been directed at everyone from Ice Cube to God’s Son. It’s Xzibit’s time for a little real talk, but trying to find it in Weapons of Mass Destruction is like trying to find a link between Saddam and al Qaeda.
From the jump, Xzibit is laser-guided. He blends a grip of previous Bush Jr. speeches to create lines including “my ultimate ambitions are to control the people of the United States and to blackmail the rest of the world with weapons of mass terror.” Such bold political statements are liable to get Xzibit’s album banned from Wal-mart and targeted by the right-wing media mafia. He even goes as far as to lace a story rhyme about a 13-year-old teenager from Baghdad: “And a man named Bush on a search for weapons/ Now here come the U.S., to crush Saddam/ Wit 88 thousand tons of missle and bombs /But his family’s too broke to move or find shelter/ If they all had to die, they would die together.”
Focused on making a grand political statement, Xzibit’s train of thought is quickly derailed by terrible attempts at mass appeal. The lead single, “Hey Now (Mean Mugging),” is a stale leftover in Timbaland’s collection, with an industry standard R&B hook by Keri Hilson. It gets no better on the Jelly Roll-produced “Muthafucka,” where Xzibit’s coarse voice completely overwhelms this up-tempo candy-sweet beat.
Weapons of Mass Destruction does have its moments, including the Hi-Tek gem “Scent of a Woman” and the Battlecat-produced “Criminal Set,” which oozes Dodger blue. It easy to speculate and criticize Xzibit for his notoriety in the mainstream, but I say let ’em hustle the game dry. Just remember: There’s a thin line between a sell-out and an entrepreneur.