Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A brief review of Xzibit's "Napalm"

Mr. X to the Z returns with his first album in six years, "Napalm". After a slew of forgettable releases in the form of "Weapons of Mass Destruction", "Full Circle", and "Man vs. Machine", Xzibit returns to form with this album, as he's seemingly inspired with a more aggressive style of lyricism, very good production (a sense of an updated West Coast sound), and a respectable list of guests, which I'll get to later. 

One thing I like about most albums is their length (and it does depend on the artist, lol), and when it comes to an album that has 20 plus tracks (with little to no filler), I'm usually happy about that. When I first saw the tracklisting to this album, my first thought was "will this be too much or just enough of Xzibit"? Well it's definitely an excellent album, and after listening to it on October 9th via Spotify, it'll be added to my collection, but first, here's my review.

As mentioned, lyrically Xzibit sounds better than he has in years, especially on the album's opener, "State of Hip Hop vs. Xzibit", which is a banger. He also gets introspective on good tracks like "1983", which details that beginning of his life and now, and the apply titled "Meaning of Life". The production suits him very well this time around, as names like Dr. Dre, Rick Rock, and Illmind provide great tracks for the West Coast MC.

The guests also provide some good to great moments, starting with the Dr. Dre produced "Louis XIII", featuring the reunion of the Likwit Crew (Xzibit, Tha Alkaholiks, and King T). They all sound at home on this Dre banger and it's clearly one of the album's highlights. The Game (and RBX) makes an appearance on "Dos Equis". It's a good track, however, Game seems to be heading into Lloyd Banks territory, as he's seemingly changing his voice to where he doesn't sound the same. It doesn't hurt the song otherwise. Prodigy of Mobb Deep blesses "Something More", and you wouldn't think it's the same P that dropped the horrible "HNIC 3" this year. The Game also shows up again on "Movies", along with Slaughterhouse's Crooked I (who delivers his usual great verse), Slim the Mobster, and Young De, and everyone does their thing on this one. A surprising guest spot comes from E-40, someone whose music I'm not a fan of, but I respect his longevity in hip hop, and he drops a decent verse on "Up Out The Way". 

Even though the majority of this album is on point, it's not a totally skip free product. There are two Wiz Khalifa features (not a fan of this guy at all), the first is "Forever A G", which isn't bad, but certainly not that good either, and the second, "Enjoy The Night" (which also features David Banner and Brevi) is forgettable at best. The rock influenced title track probably could've been left on the cutting room floor too. 

And this is not all. The Deluxe Edition features three tracks, all with features courtesy of Kurupt and 40 Glocc (Phenom), Black Milk, Phats, and Tre Capital (Throw It Like It's Free), and B-Real, Jelly Roll, and Demrick (Crazy), respectively.

Overall, I like this album a lot, and I feel it's his best album since 1998's "40 Dayz & 40 Nightz". A recommended purchase.

Rating- 4 stars

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