Road feels good to Xzibit as he brings tour to B.C.
When he takes to the stage at Cactus Jack’s tomorrow (Nov. 28), it will be Xzibit’s first time performing in Kamloops.
No, the legendary West Coast rapper with the distinctive gravelly flow has never rocked the mic in the Tournament Capital.
But, make no mistake, Mr. X to the Z has plenty of love for Canada — and B.C. in particular.
That’s why the 38-year-old decided to head north of the border to start touring to promote the new album Napalm, his first since 2006.
“Canada’s always been a good market for me,” Xzibit told KTW on the phone from Regina — “The Canadian city that rhymes with fun,” as he described it — ahead of a show in the Queen City.
Xzibit’s affinity for Canada goes further than selling records, too.
“I’ve been here a few times [not for work],” he said.
“I’ve been fishing for sturgeon in Chilliwack. I like it up there.”
Born in Detroit, Xzibit moved to New Mexico when he was 10 and then on to California at 17.
That means any tolerance he once had for sub-zero temperatures and roadside snowdrifts has long since melted.
While it’s cold outside on Xzibit’s cross-Canada Collateral Damage tour, the shows, he said, have been hot.
“You should expect to see a little bit of the classic material, a little bit of the new material,” he said.
“Most of all, you’re gonna see me. I’m coming 100 per cent — and it’s good to be back.”
With no shortage of hits in his rear-view mirror, Xzibit said he thinks Napalm is his best record yet.
“I think I kind of create music from the standpoint, ‘What would I want to listen to?’ ” he said.
“That’s where I take it from. That’s where good artistry comes from.”
That approach has worked out in the past.
In addition to his solo studio successes — 2000’s Restless went platinum and his two subsequent albums both achieved gold status — Xzibit has collaborated with some of hip-hop’s biggest names on some of the genre’s most monumental projects.
He was involved in two songs on Dr. Dre’s 2001 and appeared in hits like Snoop Dogg’s Bitch Please and Warren G’s 1999 single Game Don’t Wait — the latter two also featuring legendary West Coast baritone Nate Dogg, who died in March 2011.
Xzibit said he is honouring Nate Dogg on the Napalm tour.
“You gotta come see,” he said.
“I definitely feel like we lost a big part of the West Coast when Nate Dogg passed away.”
The collaborations continue on Napalm, which features Wiz Khalifa, RBX and Tha Alkaholiks — a group Xzibit was a part of in the late-1990s.
The second single on Napalm is Up Out The Way, which features Yay Area rapper E-40, who has arguably gained as much notoriety for his made-up slang words as he has for his lengthy hip-hop career.
Surprisingly, Xzibit said he had no trouble speaking E-40’s language when collaborating on Up Out The Way.
“You can understand him perfectly,” he said.
“That’s E-40’s world, that’s his lane. I just think it’s dope he finds the creative space to do that — to say, ‘This word’s not good enough, I’m gonna make up my own word’.”
Overall, Xzibit said, he expects fans to like what they hear on Napalm.
“I’m very proud of the clarity, the maturity,” he said.
“This is a great representation of where I am as an artist.”
And, as for being back out on the road promoting an album?
“It feels good,” he said.
“It feels like a homecoming — like what I’m supposed to be doing.
“This is what I do.”