There is a sonic sort of desperation which can be heard throughout Xzibit’s latest album release, “Napalm.” After a six year foray into the acting and entertainment industry, the former Pimp My Ride host returns to the urban music scene with something he considers to be explosive. Anyone would agree “Napalm” is certainly destructive, and will no doubt be revered for consistently maintaining that the state of hip hop has not budged since 1994; it will please many old school hip hop fans to know that misogyny apparently never goes out of style. But after listening to the album in its entirety, one may start to recognize in Xzibit an unsubtle front for sadness in the form of extreme anger. In both lyrics and execution, “Napalm” is violently emotive. It seems this rapper- turned-host got smacked around one to many times by a baffling epiphany: in reality the hip hop world won’t be still, blue with bated breath, just because one of its own decides to leave orbit for a while.
As ever, Xzibit’s flow is fully charged, aggressive and not a spot cleaner than thick, curdled and grimy. For that alone this album can be commended and recommended to fans of this particular style – reminiscent of DMX. For the most part, the tracks have weak hooks, and the production leaves a lot to be desired. There is barely a memorable melody line to be found amid its bone rattling bass lines. The sole track with just enough pop appeal and potential for a techno-revamp to perhaps catch on at clubs and bars is “Up Out the Way,” featuring E40.
Where “Napalm” disappoints the most is an overall bad attitude which rings thematic throughout all 21 tracks of the Deluxe Edition LP. This particular ego trip goes beyond spitting redundantly about a puffed up lifestyle. The money, drugs, women and violence masks a much deeper vendetta. Xzibit is downright paranoid (bordering on homicidal) over the encroaching competition of the opposite coast. He is bitter about being abandoned and ignored by his former crew of collaborators. At one point he goes as far as to declare that he is not about pushing a positive message with his music at all. The whole thing proves an odd set of obstacles to be facing a man who proclaims to have “Everything.” Everything, as it turns out, are a bad few years of ratings followed by a good-enough plan b for Xzibit to get by on.