A history lesson for the kids who only know Xzibit as the premier ride pimper. Back before he met Doc Dre, X to the Z was one of the rawest West Coast rappers of all-time.  He recorded for once loss-less Loud, mocked his peers’ “pussy pop,” and repped the Likwit crew (King Tee, Defari, and Tha Liks when they still had “Alka” in their name”).

His debut, At the Speed of Life, remains one of the best post-adolescent, drink-away-the-pain bankruptcies ever filed. Hate life and the bullshit required to fit in? Play “Birds Eye View” at avian-killing volume and scream “never see a 9 to 5, cuz it just ain’t me.” He was the most dysfunctional member of the Likwit family. While Tash, J-Ro, and E-Swift hit the bottle to get rowdy, Xzibit guzzled cognac to ignore his past. His turbulent childhood with a dead mother and an abusive hypocritical preacher father is poignantly unburdened on “Carry the Weight.” It is the anthem of the defiant and alienated– ideal for anyone who has ever drank silently in the club and considering breaking off the bottle and beating people with the wrong end. Raspy maladjusted rap at its finest.

His sophomore album, 1998’s 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz lightens up a bit, but it’s still hard as flak helmets. Even the hallucinogenic ode “Shroomz” is struck with paranoia as X starts bugging out, cursing out the white boys who gave him this shit, grabbing his gun and firing. After he aligned himself with Dre, he avoided all shrill commercial moves. He was an underground rapper who became famous due to the natural ebullience of his personality — a side that only emerged after much musical catharsis, maturity, and success. He is the funny dude who heard that you liked cars so he put a car in your car so you could drive while you drive.

Following his MTV success, Xzibit maintained a low profile over the last half-decade. Rather than debase his brand with lame crossover attempts and pop bids, he stayed out of the booth, leaving his legacy intact as the black Bruce Willis, who taught us how to get our walk on. “Louis XIII” is the perfect single for those who have been down since “Paparazzi.” King T and the resurgent Liks prove that 2 Chainz isn’t the only endearingly drunken uncle in the game. And X strikes a balance between his snarling youth and pimped-out present. The chemistry between all four is as good as it ever was. You never forget how to fix a drink when you’re professionally inebriated.

MP3: Xzibit ft. Tha Liks & King T – “Louis XIII” (Left-Click)

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