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HHV Exclusive: Xzibit talks years in the game, “Napalm,” and “Geronimo” with K. B. Tindal

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HHV Exclusive: Xzibit talks years in the game, “Napalm,” and “Geronimo” with K. B. Tindal

By K. B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Contributing Writer

If you analyze the transition of musical artists that end up going into acting, or other entertainment-based themes, sometimes they get lost in the sauce. It takes someone with an avid love of the craft to be able to start from scratch. Knowing that you’re going into a world of an actor coming from the world of musician and you still have to gain the respect of the actors in general. Xzibit is one of those artists. He’s transcended the boundaries of Hip Hop into acting and he is not one of those actors that you look at and say, “It just doesn’t work.” Xzibit is one of those actors that you can feel and touch and you know that he practices and studies the craft.

If there were funny stories to be told I’m sure the Hip Hop would breed a whole lot of funny stories, but when you talk about a legend like Easy E and you listen to Xzibit’s story about meeting Easy E as one of his most memorable moments in music, you get the idea that the humor is something beautiful and bold called the truth. With a new album out, a new movie on the way and a new tour beginning very shortly; Xzibit really has his plate full. He loves being Xzibit and he loves being that model that people look up too. Hip Hop Vibe got the time sit down and kick it with Xzibit on his new endeavors and how he feels about being veteran in the game.

Read the entire interview below:

Him I’ve been a fan since The Speed of Light. Does it feel like you’ve been in the industry for 14 years? I mean it does and it doesn’t I feel like you know the time that we take to put into our records out and to prepared to do what we do, I feel like time has passed relatively quickly. I have the scars to prove that has been that long. (Laughs).

When you first came out in 96 why did you choose the name Xzibit and what was your mind state like when you first got on in 96? Well, because everybody was calling themselves MC this and MC that. Everybody had an MC before their name and it was also like Ice Cube and Ice-T. I wanted something totally different and original, so I used a battle where I was real loud and animated and motherfuckers would tell me you should be Xzibit because it’s like you on display. So, I started calling myself Xzibit A. My mind state was just me always trying to be original and trying to be different. I mean I’ve called myself Mr. X to the Z or the Black John McLean and things like that but I never thought about changing the name Xzibit.

Paparazzi and Foundation and What You See Is What You Get were all great songs. One of my personal favorites was Three Card Molly, so whatever happened to the collaboration that was supposed to happen with you, Safir and Ras Kass as the Golden State Warriors? It was just a timing thing you know certain rappers had conflicts at the time you know and it came down to everybody being able to come to the table and had to be in a timely manner because that’s what the label wanted but those are my niggas and I wish it would happen and I’ll never say never.

What was it like in those early days with the Likwit? I enjoyed touring and the camaraderie and it’s always good to get out there and rock at the shows for people.  Even now the live performances are where it’s at and that’s what I love.

I know you’ve done a lot of movies and you have a lot more stuff coming up as far as movies are concerned but I wanted to know if you saw Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap, directed by Ice-T, and if you did see it we think about it? I thought it was well put together. I thought it was very poignant and I thought he did a hell of a job.

You were overseas when you met with Staff Sgt. Shiloh Harris so what was it like being there and seeing what people see at war every day during the war? Well it was surreal to see places that I only see on the television but to actually be there and be on the ground and witness things was real. It was definitely an experience that will stick with me for quite some time.

Please expand for me a little bit about when you were on The Up in Smoke Tour and you said that that was a turning point in your career. So what made that tour the turning point in your life? Well it was the embodiment of the three to four year run that I was on and you know it was all building up from the single “Bitch Please” and at that time things finally came together and that was the pinnacle for me as a musician and what I had accomplished up until that time. So for me it was definitely a wonderful time.

What are your total album sales overall for all your albums throughout your career? I have no idea. (Laughs).

I know you worked with Wiz Khalifa and David Banner on the album as well. What I’d like to know is how did the collaboration with Brevi come about? Brevi works out of the studio that I have in the Valley and she’s always had a lot of respect for me. She’s very down to earth and this is an opportunity for her to get down and sing on one of the tracks that were working on, so she got down came to the studio and she nailed it. She was dope.

Okay let’s talk about your new album why did you name it Napalm and what can we expect from your vision on this new project? Actually it was the title track to the album and I did it with Travis Barker and 1500 or Nothing and DJ Sid from Slipknot and it was the backbone of the album and it was different for me. Everybody was telling me that it was good and I definitely wanted to use that particular track on the record and it became the title track and that’s what is.

Tell me about your role in the new movie Geronimo. Well, the Weinstein’s just made a deal with National Geographic and they debuted the movie on November 4 before the Election and I played one of the Field Team Six members that went in and did the raid on Bin Laden’s compound.

Which do you like better music or acting? The acting is something that I have to work at, something that I have to rehearse; something that I have to practice but the music comes naturally to me. So, I would say that the music is the catalyst that makes everything else work and that’s pretty much just very clear and straightforward for me.

Now you also said that Napalm is a testimony of what you’ve been going through for the last six years so please touch base on why it took you so long he came out with another release and what it is that you may have been going through. We all have ups and downs. I had my own personal issues that I chose to attend to, so I put everything else on the back burner and focused on what was really important, and that’s what I’d say to me so long to actually get back to recording.

I know you’ve talked about the song “1983” and first of all say rest in peace to your beloved mother, so why did you wait until now to put this song out? Was it something emotional, was it a work in progress, why now? Well, I just recently got the tape and I really wanted to share that with my fan base. It was very important to me hearing her voice. After 20 something years that was something that happens once in a lifetime and people don’t get to hear that happen all the time you know because we didn’t have video recorders and camcorders back then you know to have a cassette tape that was so clear to use I looked at this as an opportunity for me to have that conversation with her that I never had with her as a man.

What if you had to leave Earth tomorrow and you had to leave one thing behind where everybody would be able to look at that one thing and they would say exhibit was here what would that one thing be? (Laughs). I’m an asshole so I’m not going to tell you the first thing that came to my mind but I’d say my legacy would be my children.

What’s your favorite food? Steak.

What is your favorite drink alcoholic or non-alcoholic? Water.

What is your favorite sports team? The Lakers favorite sports figure, dead or alive?

Favorite sports figure, dead or alive? Evil Knievel.

What is your favorite movie? Braveheart.

Where is your favorite place to visit? San Lucas, Mexico.

What is your favorite car? Bugatti.

What is your favorite fashion brand? Ben Davis.

The artist or the person that made you want to become an artist? Chuck D.

What is your most memorable moment in music history? Meeting Eazy-E because he was actually in Albuquerque, New Mexico doing it a show with Above The Law and Kokane and he was backstage before I met him.  He was talking with this girl and she turned away from him and he kicked her dead in her ass, I swear to God. He had two twin bodyguards so as she started screaming he had his bodyguards escort her out and he turned around back to me and said, “So what’s happening?” (Laughs) That’s no bull shit. That’s on everything.

If you could name one person that you befriended in life since you started making music or even before that, who gave you a jewel that you still live by today, who would that one person be and what would jewel be? I have so many. The first time I rode in a  Bentley was with Ice-T. When I went overseas, it was surreal to me. But, I think Dr. Dre gave me my best piece of advice and that’s when he told me that your outside studio activities have to be just as good as you inside studio activities, because if you’re not being a businessman at the same time you’re being an artist, you will lose stuff and that’s what it is.

Any last words the fans of Hip Hop Vibe? Napalm is out now, please go get that off iTunes and look out for the Collateral Damage tour, that started earlier this month.

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