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

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?