Xzibit had just flown to New York on Sunday after bringing the ruckus all night at a Baltimore concert, and he was in desperate need of a quicker picker upper.
“I didn’t even know it was Sunday,” he told one of the members of his small entourage on the way to breakfast. “I just went to the [Loud Records] office and they were closed.”
The best way of waking up for the Golden State mic warrior isn’t Folgers coffee. All you have to do is let him know you’re not an L.A. Lakers fan.
“How can you not like the Lakers?” X asked rhetorically over his cell phone, making fun of one of his crew members’ aversion to Shaq and company’s game play. “[Philadelphia] had no answers for him.
“I wasn’t even there for the [Lakers’ NBA championship victory] celebration,” he said. “I haven’t been home in so long.”
Constantly touring since last year, X is trying to spend more of his time holding things down at the fort. He’s started to lay down the blueprints for his fourth album, and his top priority is making time to record it.
“I’m definitely gonna take my time with it and make sure the next [LP] we come out with is a big one,” he said. “We got a lot of people pulling for us. We made a lot of movement in the last year and it’s time to ante up and make it happen.”
The rapper has learned from Xperience.
“Restless was cool,” Xzibit said of his current LP, which was his first platinum success after two previous efforts. “I wish I had more time to put it together. I was traveling, I was on the Up in Smoke Tour, I was helping Snoop do his record. There was no set time where I had months and months to sit with the album and work on it. It came out good but we can do better.”
“We” meaning himself and Dr. Dre. The rhyme hurler said that hip-hop’s most acclaimed beat maker will not only once again act as executive producer for his next album, but for all of his future releases as well.
“Everything from here on out we gonna make it crack,” X said. “Dre gave me a CD with 38 beats on it.” (Some will be used for Xzibit’s album, some for Dre’s upcoming Detox). “That dude ain’t playin’. We just gotta sit down and collabo and make sure that we pick the right tracks.”
With four songs already in the can, Xzibit said his next LP, Man Vs. Machine, will be addressing issues such as the industry’s high expectations of him, its obsession with SoundScan, and any notion of him going commercial.
“Once you get [success], it seems the whole hip-hop game is stuck on if you platinum or if you doing this or doing that. That’s the machine,” X lamented. “I got a lot of answers. They want to know ‘What you gonna do now?’ I’m just one man. I’m gonna show you what a man can do.”
What he did was call on a few familiar men to help him with his latest opus.
“Right now, we working with the same people who did Restless,” he said before disclosing that along with Dr. Dre, producers such as Rockwilder, Mel Man and Rick Rock will lay tracks.
On the MC side, the husky-voiced rapper said he’s going to keep that in the family as well. “[I’m going to have] the usual suspects – Snoop, Em[inem].”
X is hoping to get Man Vs. Machine out by Christmas, though with summer outings scheduled for Europe and Japan, as well as a few spot dates, he concedes that early 2002 might be a little more realistic.
“I’m so sick of the road,” X said. “Whenever I’m not on these shows, I’ll be in the studio. I got a busy next three months.”
Part of his studio duties will be recording the Golden State Project with Ras Kass and Saafir (who will also appear on Man Vs. Machine). However, X said do not expect to see him go in the booth to lay vocals for the long-talked-about Likwit Crew family album anytime soon.
“We’re cool. We are cool,” X said. “There are no problems whatsoever, but musically we go different directions.” He said he’s looking to make more gritty, street-oriented songs as opposed to Tha Liks’ style of party-flavored b-boy freestyles and battle raps.
Funny, because X is in full battle mode Sunday morning, defending Shaquille O’Neal’s elbow throwing while being defended by Dikembe Mutombo.
“Shaq’s real big,” he said with a smile. “He’s just moving around. Give that man some room.”