This gravely voiced, left-coast emcee has certainly carved out a nice career for himself. After going from underground star on the brink to platinum Dr. Dre affiliate, X’s career took off in an unexpected direction; television. Mr. X to the Z became the host of MTV’s hit show “Pimp My Ride” before going on host award shows and pitch deodorant. Most would expect his mainstream celebrity status to result in his most commercially driven LP to date, but think again.

“Weapons of Mass Destruction” is X’s most conscious and thoughtful effort since his 1996 debut. He shows off his excellent story-telling ability on the moving three part “Cold World.” He waxes philosophic on DJ Khalil’s blues-infused “Judgement Day,” a song that could easily find heavy rotation. “Scent of a Woman” may be the most impressive as it begins as your typical fuck-a-bitch song and ends as just the opposite. The chorus goes from “cause she was put her to defeat me, cause she cuss me out quick to leave me/cause she not what I want, not what I need” to “cause she was put here to complete me/cause she moves the earth underneath me/cause she got what I want, got what I need.” X closes the album out with “Back 2 The Way It Was” where he laments on how to make things right again.

On the other side of the fence you’ve got his blazing Timbaland produced single “Hey Now (Mean Muggin’).” As correct as X and Timbo both come, it is Keri Hilson’s hook that really puts the song over the top. “Muthafucka” doesn’t fare as well, but X does ride that beat beautifully. The second single should really be “Criminal Set” featuring Battlecat’s VINTAGE west coast beat. X finds some help on a few tracks too. “Tough Guy” with Busta Rhymes makes me think an album from these two wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. His Strong Arm Steady posse cut leaves a bit to be desired as the hook really makes the song.

Upon my first few listens to this album, I really wasn’t impressed at all. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, because I’m certainly impressed now. There are still a couple songs I don’t care for (“Saturday Night Live” and “Crazy Ho” despite the presence of the legendary Suga Free), but this is a really good album. Fuck what you think the commercials indicate for Xzibit, the man still raps like he is going to bite the mic in half after his verse. This is how the west was won.