Review Summary: Solid rap music from a guy who is more known for Pimp My Ride and Gridiron Gang than his music.
Unfortunately known more for pimping out people’s rides and internet memes, Xzibit’s past as a rapper is forgotten and lost in the tombs of time. His abandonment of the rap industry as of recent is slightly depressing, considering his start in the industry as an affiliate of the comical rap legends Tha Alkaholiks was pretty entertaining. Xzibit’s sophomore effort 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz
isn’t the greatest album ever, but out of Tha Alkaholik’s camp, it’s one of the more entertaining and exhilarating releases out of the camp.
As a rapper, Xzibit is an aggressive emcee, and throughout the record needs to prove himself as the strongest rapper around his turf. His braggadocio as a rapper is entertaining, with at times mediocre lines delivered in a completely believable ways (“But see all that’s irrelevant/ it’s like trying to turn a whore celibate/ I dance with the devil for the hell of it”), but at the same time he has considerable wit, and even on the rare occasion, like on the Eminem-emulating “Shroomz”, and the Raekwon-esqe speeding crime story “Inside Job”, he can tell a good story. At least at the time of 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz
, Xzibit was a considerably well-rounded MC.
For guest verses, Xzibit usually picks his Alkaholik affiliates, but occasionally goes outside that bubble. “3 Card Molly” is a punchlinefest that features Ras Kass and Saafir, and although some lines are just mean ("Picture yourself crushing Xzibit with all your tough talk/that's like Christopher Reeves doing the Crip Walk"), it’s a pounding and incredibly entertaining experience. On possibly the best track of the entire album, Xzibit gets a large chunk of Tha Alkaholiks crew together on the theatric funky “Let It Rain” which brings the best verse of the entire album from Tash, whose liquid flow drives this track to a perfect close (“And up next, we got the Likwitest/It's so drunk, it's ridiculous/When Tash got the mic, I swing my *** like Jack Nicklaus/I'm spinnin' this with niggas that slept on Likwidation/Cause no matter where you go, They know the reputation”).
Production is usually what makes or breaks a rap album; most lyrical rappers have a ear full of wax for beats, while some rappers who lack skills have an amazing ear. Xzibit’s problem with his last album was the fact that the production was confusing, as he was a very west coast rapper with beats that are almost uniformly east coast, and essentially that problem still reigns on this album. However, it’s much less of a ‘problem’ here, as Xzibit has stepped up his game enough for these beats. The problem on the production, is some of it is either way too simple, or way too boring for comfort. Minimalism reeps this album, and a lot of the time it is done tastefully (“3 Card Molly”, “Recycled Assassins”, and “Los Angelos”), but occasionally it backfires and just lacks a punch, like on the Ghostface-sampling “Nobody Like Me”, the murky vibes of “Handle Your Business” , or the ghastly “Focus”.
With 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz
, Xzibit makes an unusually cohesive and all-around interesting rap album, with abilities that manage to stretch into punchlines, story-telling, and pure cockiness, which is all impressive in of itself, but the cast of guests and beats are usually solid. Any open minded music fan would be able to appreciate what this album manages to execute.