Falling on Halloween yesterday, the team of Xzibit, B-Real, and Demrick released the second installment in their Serial Killers series since 2015’s The Murder Show with the seven-tracked, Day Of The Dead. In promotion of the freshly released project, Xzibit sat down with Adam22, aka Adam Grandmaison, of the No Jumper Podcast to discuss the aforementioned project, X’s career, and an update on his current insights in the Hip-Hop scene today.
After Mr. X-To-The-Z discusses his understanding of the path that Rap has taken since he picked up the pen some 30 years ago, X reminisces about his own early days. Growing up in a military family, Xzibit admits he was no stranger to punishment as an angry, rebellious youth. X recalls a story in which his father ordered a massive pile of gravel to be dumped in their backyard. To reprimand Xzibit for his transgressions, his father would make him get up at 4 am every day with a shovel and a wheel barrel to move it from one side of the yard to the other (14:45). It was a punishment akin to a sequence in Cool Hand Luke.
Despite his father’s call to obedience, Xzibit remained defiant of authority, but it was Hip-Hop that would become his escape. “My love for Hip-Hop was one of the outlets that saved me. It was one of the only things that I could escape with. So I would listen to the music. I would imitate the music. I would put on my brother’s Kangol [hat] with no shirt on and rap LL Cool J lyrics…It just drew me in.”
In this time, Xzibit moved from Detroit at age nine to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he began writing at age 13 under the name Xzibit A. At 17, Xzibit moved to Los Angeles, California alone to begin recording for the first time and burgeon his career in Rap. “When I first got to L.A., there was no cell phones going down. I had a pager. I had a contact of a guy named Jay Johnson who lived in Duarte, California. So he gave me his pager number and said if I’m ever in California to hit him up; he had his own place. So, long story short, I come to L.A., and he’s not answering the pager, so I go to Venice Beach. My first night in California I spent homeless on Venice Beach. I had a black-and-purple Geo Tracker, $3,000, some cross colored clothes, a Kool G Rap & DJ Polo CD, some Snapples, and an AK-47,” he says at 24:30.
Xzibit, who thought Johnson lived alone, came to find out he was living with his parents. After coming to terms with Johnson’s living situation, he gave his family the $3,000 as collateral for rent. Once he realized that the family and the people who surrounded him wouldn’t allow him to sell drugs like he used to in order to get by, Xzibit turned to music.
“I eventually moved out with James Broadway and 360, it was a group in Pasadena, and by that time I found a clique to roll with and kinda merged in with them. [I] met King T and the Alkaholiks from the 360 Clique, and one thing happened after another and ended up having a career from it,” said Xzibit. “The song that got me signed was on King T’s [IV Life] album; it was called ‘Free Style Ghetto’ (embedded below). I never made a demo. I never made a mixtape. They didn’t exist at the time. It was kinda just like word of mouth. I was just going around L.A. just eating MCs alive. It was these battles and sh*t that I would just go to Unity… and [Married With Children actor] David Faustino used to have this club called Balistyx that we used to frequent. But it was all MC based. L.A. had a really dope MC scene at the time, so everybody was cliqued up trying to go around and see who had the business.” (28:00)
Later, Xzibit remarks, “It [the clubs] wasn’t necessarily about battling each other. Unity was the first place I got to see Wu-Tang [Clan], and Ol’ Dirty Bastard used to do a lot of solo shows there. It was the first place I saw Redman and Method Man. He would bring all of these dope MCs and bands out to play Unity, and all the local MCs would get to be on the opening bill. So that’s where I cut my teeth, and that’s how I got introduced to the L.A. market,” (29:30).
Although Xzibit isn’t from Los Angeles County originally, a la Nate Dogg and Kurupt, X’s place in West Coast Hip-Hop has been permanently stamped in history since his arrival. From his role in the Up In Smoke Tour to his critically acclaimed release of Restless, to his recent work as the Serial Killers with B-Real and Demrick today. In conjunction, be sure to check out the Serial Killers latest release, Day Of The Dead.
#BonusBeat: The song that got Mr. X-To-The-Z signed by Loud Records: