It seems like it was not that long ago, does it? Was it not that long ago when Xzibit was giving major shouts to his brethren, the Alkaholiks? Though he is billed at the dysfunctional member of the Tha Liks family, he has been running with Dr. Dre as of late. Man Vs. Machine, the X’s fourth solo set, has been talked about and speculated over all year long. At The Speed of Light dropped in 1996 and became an underground classic,(and was) followed up by 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz, which earned him a better position in the commercial rap sunlight. Although 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz went gold, it was still considered an underground classic. 2000’s Restless kicked in the door for X to the Z, which brings us to his new joint.
In addition to Dre, the X has gone out and garnered himself a considerable supporting cast of guest stars on the set. Not only do we hear tracks from DJ Premier, Erick Sermon and even from Eminem, we also get contributions from Snoop Dogg, M.O.P., Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Golden State teammates Ras Kass and Defari on the MC side of things. In addition, the album features Eddie Griffith laying down his wisdom on the interlude “Bitch Ass Nigga.” The set is worthy of its lineage and is at least as good as the other albums Xzibit has released, though, in my view, it is less supercharged than Restless. That is to say, this album is more laid back in its production.
The set starts out with “Release Date,” a song that uses an inmate’s release date from incarceration as a metaphor for an MC dropping an album. It is masterfully worded and inventive. “Symphony in X Major” is a bouncy, bass-heavy joint that features what sounds like a synthesizer. Though it gets major points for bump ability, with Dre providing support lyrics, the chorus is a little bit comical. “Multiply,” “Harder,” “Break Yourself” and “Heart of Man” are good to go, but nothing spectacular or different; just typical X-man dopeness. “Missin’ U” is an ode dedicated to X to the Z’s deceased mother. “BK to LA” is a high-powered riot-inciting shout-out that is worth a listen. After Jermaine Dupri came out of his face against Dr. Dre early this year we knew there would be a rebuttal and that rebuttal is “Say My Name,” featuring Eminem and Nate Dogg. Yeah, as you may have expected, it is fire. All and all this CD is dope and any true fan would do themselves a favor by copping it, but I just felt it was going to be hotter than it is. Maybe I succumbed to the hype and ended up being unreal in my expectations…oh well.