interview XZIBIT - Man Vs. Machine | Review By: Nima

Man Vs Machine is Xzibit's long awaited fourth album as a solo artist. After his first two albums, who were more underground, (although he had two hits with Paparazzi and What U See Is What U Get), Xzibit's name really got out after he appeared on "Bitch Please" on Snoop Dogg's Top Dogg Album. And after doing to Up In Smoke Tour, he released the Restless LP, executive produced by Dr. Dre and much more successful sale-wise. But a lot of his original fans from back then were very disappointed, and couldn't wait to see how Xzibit would come off on Man Vs Machine. Here is review of the album, which came out October 1st, 2002.

1. Release Date - No intro for this album, straight to the music. This joint is laced by Rockwilder and has a very dark beat, with dominant strings. The bass is very deep and the drum is hard. A hot beat for X to flow over. And he starts rapping' without a warning. His verse is hot, he rides the beat well and comes off tight. I like the subject matter of the track, which is about Xzibit getting released from jail. He goes pretty deep, the Xzibit most of ya'll like to hear best.

"I been here four years, eleven months and twenty nine hot ones, one more day and I'm a free man walking, leaving behind these gates I payed my dept to the state".

I'm really feeling the production Rockwilder shows us here, its perfect for this track. Xzibit doesn't show too much emotions, like a prisoner who is released and doesn't know what to think after so many years behind gates. He tells us about the things he missed in there and all this is rhymed and rapped professionally. I think real convicts and ex-prisoners will be feeling this song, as they will be able to relate to it. X rips it, good way to start off the album. 4.75/5

2. Symphony In X Major - Contrary to what everybody believe, this is NOT a Dr. Dre beat. Since he was featured himself, most people thought he'd laced the production too, and the very opera like sounding beat will really lead you believe it. But no, Rick Rock did this joint. The horns, keyboard and organ keys are alike to Dre's and i gotta say its a good beat. But does it fit Xzibit's rough and rugged style? X's first verse is nice, he flows. But in my opinion, it gets boring. The beat isn't variable enough and Xzibit's flow is pretty monotone. Still, it's a good track and after the short chorus sang by Traci Nelson and Barbara Wilson, Dr. Dre lays down his part. It's the typical Dr. Dre verse we've heard in the last years.

"From NWA to whatever's next, make sure it says Andre Young with bold letters on big cheques. Your shit ain't selling, fuck it! Get Dr. Dre on it, you got a budget, i'll be down, gimme half of it!"

The "bragging", "I'm great" verse we've also heard on the Eminem album and on most his appearances since "2001". But I have to say, he was the right to say that, he's put in work more than any other so he can brag all he wants. Still, we'd all like to hear something new from the good Doc. I guess we'll have to wait till Detox! Xzibit's third verse is similar to his first one, unspectacular, but solid. We've got some singing at the end of the track, nothing special, just nice. Overall this is an ok track. Nice beat, solid raps. But nothing mind-blowing. 3.75/5

3. Multiply - The albums first single. I have to admit, I highly disliked this track after I heard it the first times. But it grew on me madly, and now I really like to bump it. Again, this is NOT a Dr. Dre production, a producer called Denaun (Kon Artis from D-12) did this. It has Dre all over it though, and Dr. Dre mixed it. It has bouncy drums, a hard bass-line and some nice side instruments. It BUMPS, all right. And Xzibit sounds way more hungry here. He raps with emotions.

"I flirt with the idea of quitting the game, nah! Ima evolve, continue to change, it takes brains balls and backbone to get it on and keep it on, we keepin it movin, to each his own!"

He spits some hot bars and it has a similar subject matter to "X", although he sounds more "big-headed" here. Nate Dogg's chorus is nice, but not one of Nate's best. Xzibit's second verse is just like his first one and then Nate has a little Bridge which is very nice as we hear him singing. Xzibit spits a last and third verse too, and then we just hear the chorus again and the beat bangs like one more minute. I'm not sure if this single will blow up like "X", I don't think so. It has grown on me alot and I like bumpin' it though. 4/5

4. Break Yourself - At the beginning of this track we just hear a banging bass drum which prepares us for what's to come. The beat is crazy, fast and I gotta say off the hook. Producer Rick Rock really laced a head bopper here. The Drums are very hard hitting and he has some fast little special effects in the beat to give it a tight feel. Xzibit sounds good over the it, he flows. He starts immediately, this is something that's kinda new here, there's no talking in the beginning of the track (i.e. : X, Paparazzi etc). The beat makes it sound as if he's rapping at high speed, but actually he got a normal speed. He's got three, pretty short verses.

"Neva seen heard felt befo, Wanna rumble wit us just start the show, Fill up the chamber let me go, Out of town before the shells hit the floor"

X's ruff voice sounds good to the beat and the chorus is pretty tight too. Truth Hurts has a tiny appearance during the chorus too. Overall a good track, specially the beat, I was really feeling it. Good to bump, but nothing mind-blowing. 4/5

5. Heart Of Men - Most people will immediately recognize the sample this track used. It's "Africa" by Toto. Jelly Roll produced and mixed the track himself and the production is top notch. The African drums, the guitar strings, the bass, everything fits together. And Mr X To The Z spits some fire again. I'm feelin' the way he flows over this unusual beat, he handles it perfectly. Now one thing that I don't like too much, is the chorus. At first it's ok, but it really really gets annoying after some time. But the X Man makes up for it with a couple hot lines and bars. He said a couple things that stuck me:

"Yo I put that on all creation; Haitian, Jamaican, African, Asian, Caucausian, Indian. Whatever your persuasion, this is the message. Time is of essence especially when you're countin your blessings"


"It's a shame, graduated to the rap game, Only to find out crack and rap was the same thang, damn!!"

X comes off really tight here, and spits some fire. But as I said, the chorus brings this track down for me. I think its especially the way the chorus is kind of "echoed" together that makes it annoying. But the track is still a burner. 4.25/5

6. Harder - This is the long awaited brand new Golden State Warriors collaboration. Ras Kass, Xzibit and Saafir together is a DEADLY combination. The beat surprised most people as its a very bouncy, "happy" Jellyroll production. It has a dominant bass-line and funky drums, and the melody leads the whole track. Ras Kass starts it off with his verse. He's got his usual hot flow, and I'm feelin his shit. Only thing that is pretty disappointing is that Ras doesn't spit the usual deep and lyrical shit he usually does. Instead, he goes:

"Show me a bitch and I'm a slay her like Sarah Michelle Gell-ie, Rap star, trash tellies blow up my sprint celly"

He's got a line that had me rolling though, "Haters act like under-age hoes so what's really-,Can't fuck wit y'all, paging R.Kelly". Now to the chorus. I dislike it. It's just "lalalalalala" and could have been left out. Or at least replaced by a better one. Saafir flows over the track and comes off nice, I'm feelin his verse a lot. And after the (annoying) second chorus, X drops his part. He comes off as tight as the two before him, and overall its a tight track. And its a nice party track, but not what I want from Golden State. These three could release lyrical miracles! But we'll see on their album, I can't wait. On this song, they all did their job and came off correctly, the chorus brings it down again. 4/5

7. Paul - Skit

8. Choke Me, Spank Me (Pull My Hair) - A girl goin' "Choke Me, Spank Me, Pull My Hair" is the first impression of this track. I guessed this probably was the "Fuckin' You Right" of Man Vs Machine. After I heard the first verse starting, I looked at my booklet to see who's featured. I didn't see any names, but couldn't hear X! It's just after listening to it closely that I notice that that is actually supposed to be Xzibit! He experimented on here and changed his style completely! It actually sounds nice and I like it. It's just that I'm shocked that this "beat" is a Dr. Dre production. What is this? A bass, some drums. Fast beat, and really simple. Kinda like "What You Say" on Eminem's album (the simplicity). And what's up with that chorus?

"I don't want to love, you
I just want to fuck, you
You should bring your friends, through
I'll fuck you and them, too"

Oh well, if Xzibit needs to have a "bitch" song on his album, all right. His verses are nice, his new style may not be my favorite, but he handled it, and it sounds good. But as an overall track, the only rating I can give this is a 2/5.

9. Losin' Your Mind - Wow what's this? The beat sounds really good, off-beat drums, dope keyboards and the bass is deep. Is this Dr. Dre? Yes it is! Now this is A LOT better than Choke Me Spank Me. The off-beat rhythm gives the track a special feel, that I really like. And Xzibit starts droppin' some lines, like an introduction, with Snoop goin "and what? what? then what?" at the end of them. It sounds really good, Xzibit's voice fits the beat perfectly. And I love Xzibit's first verse. This track sounds like it's gone be my favorite till now. I want to hear a Snoop verse! After the first chorus (which is very nice, Xzibit does one part and Snoop Dogg does another part, I love it), I hope he'd drop his shit now, but Xzibit spits his second verse.

"First taste of the future, we all hands on, Amputating Satan's last legs to stand on. Head strong re-match, dollar for dollar, bullet for bullet, Niggas dont want it, then dont pull it"

Wheew its even better than his first one. It's shorter, but he sounds better. After another chorus, we have that part we had at the beginning again and then another chorus. And then? Nothing. What happened to Snoop? Oh well, it's a hot track like this too, X ripped it, Dre did a great job and Snoop was a nice addition. 4.75/5

10. BK 2 LA - M.O.P appear on this one. The beat is crowded and has horns and sirens all over it. The snare drum is pretty loud and the bass drum hits. The bass isn't too dominant. It's mostly all those extra sounds that carry this Ty Fyffe production. Typical MOP shit. Xzibit drops the first verse and he comes off nice. Although the beat isn't my type, Xzibit flows on it and rips it.

"Watchin paper thugs tryin to hide behind the industry, From here to infinity, love thy enemy, Niggaz got the knowledge but don't know the chemistry"

Then we got M.O.P. who drop their shit, I gotta say I don't like their scream-rap type. So I knew from the beginning I wouldn't be feeling this track. But they actually weren't that bad. They just scream too much. Xzibit does the chorus along with MOP yellin'. I liked Xzibits first verse best, and he got another small part at the end too. Lil Fame & Billy Danze did their thang though, and I'm sure M.O.P. fans will dig this. So more power to them. But I don't like their yelling. 3/5

11. My Name - This track was anticipated and awaited by a lot of fans. Xzibit, Eminem & Nate Dogg! That MUST be good. Eminem produced it himself, and it has the Dre signature all over it. I have to say, I LOVE the beat. Eminem is really improving and gets better and better at producing. The drums are regular and hard hitting, same goes for the bass. The keys carry it and I like the way they vary. Now to the raps. Eminem takes shots at Moby and Canibus in his first little verse and then passes the mic over to Xzibit. Damn he comes of dope. I'm really feelin' his verse but the best is still to come! Bigg Nate! His chorus is fire. He sounds like a robot, but a robot with a smooth voice! Incredible. "Seems like your mouth is not connected to your brain" is my favorite part of the chorus. Xzibit has another verse after the chorus, more aggressive and with more emotions. This is totally different than the X/Nate collabo and restless. It's better. Now Slim drops a second verse and brings up the Jermaine Dupri/Dr. Dre issue again and tells us:

"I never really smashed on Jermaine's ass, Dre smashed him, Nobody ganged up 'til he came back and jacked him. I never really brought it to his ass, I tapped him, I coulda been like Treach, boom-bapped and slapped him".

At the end of his verse, he has an interploration of Nas' "Ether" too, where he takes over the chorus of the Jay-Z diss from 2001. After Nate Dogg sings his chorus one more time, the beat plays till fade. Hot track, they all came off tight. 4.75/5

12. The Gambler - Now this is FONKY! Another off-beat production, this time by Bink! (who did some tracks on Nate's "Music & Me"). He has some nice effects and extras in his production, and I really like the drums. He has some horns, trumpets and saxophones in there too. Xzibit rides it. He rips the mic, I like his flow on here. But my favorite part of the song is definitely the chorus:

"Thirty-eight albums and still no dollars (Come on), And you wanna know why I hit the block for mo'? (Yeah), These madd street (Uh) Got me puffin on dro' (Uh), I'm guilty .. For tryna make a living "

All this sang by Anthony Hamilton, funky funky!! He really does a GREAT job. Xzibit handles another verse, similar to his previous one. Good shit, I like how he flows over this unusual beat. After a singing part, he drops a third verse too. There isn't really anything special to say about his raps, besides that his flow is flawless. Anthony Hamilton carries the song for me, he's the major reason why I dig this track. 4.5/5

13. Missin' U - Rick Rock. His third track on Man Vs Machine. I liked all his previous productions here. And I'm sure he wanted to have a good beat for the Dedication to Xzibit's Mom. A very bass-oriented, dark beat, which slow drums, who still are pretty twisted. And this is one of my favorites on the album. This is Xzibit at his best. He goes lyrical, deep, thoughtful:

"What I Wouldn't Give, For One More Day Witchu, One Last Embrace, Face To Face Witchu, Explain Everything What Made Me What I Am, A Grown Man From The Ground Up With My Own Hands"

I love it when Xzibit goes away from the "Party" or "Gangsta" and does this type of songs. This is my favorite Xzibit. And once again, a GREAT chorus, handled by Boogie Wilson. He did a very good job, singing this. X drops three verses, one as tight as the other. It seems like everything here fits together. The dark beat, the raps, the chorus. What I call a complete track. I wish he would have more deep songs, like Release Date. 4.5/5

14. Right On - A very bouncy, bumping Erick Sermon production right here. Funky drums, funky bass and very nice choice of instruments. I like the way the bass and these little effects flow over. It sounds really good. It has the flair of the Golden State track, but better. To really be able to bump this track, you gotta have a stereo system. He says couple words on the left, then replies on the right. Nice concept. I don't know why, but this system reminds me of "Double Time". Xzibit rips it, he's pretty aggressive, and he handles the chorus by himself too.

"You Fucked Her, You Raped Her, Twenty Five To Life Cause You Can't Control Your Anger"

I really really like this production, and this isn't the typical Xzibit beat to flow over, but he does a great job, I dig his lyrics too, it's a perfect kick-back-in-the-sunshine-and-bounce song. Erick Sermon laid down a nice beat right here. I want to add that the Good Doctor mixed this, so Dr. Dre had this hands on this too. Good track. 4.25/5

15. Bitch Ass Niggaz - Skit

16. Enemies - This was the track where a lot of people wondered if he was pointing at Snoop Dogg. I don't know, it could be, but at the same time it could NOT be too! What IS sure, is that he points at Suge Knight. First let me tell you about the beat. J-Beats did this song and it sounds like its gone be fast and heavy at first. And it is! A very heavy beat, hard hitting drums, very grimy atmosphere and fits to the lyrics. "With friends like ya'll, who the fuck needs enemies?". And his first line makes clear what he's talking bout:

"I heard they callin me a immigrant; well this motherfuckin immigrant came to yo' city and started runnin shit"

Xzibit sounds like he takes what he's saying serious and he raps from the heart. Dr. Dre mixed this too. The beat is prefect for X's anger. I like the chorus, I can get annoying, but what he says is very true, shows that X still got that lyrical genius in him. This is a tight track, but I can't listen to it more than three times a day, I can tired of it too quickly. 3.75/5

Bonus Material :

1. My Life, My World - Wow the beginning of the track sounds very promising. I love the piano that Bink! used for his beat. The drums are pretty hard and that's basically all the beat consists of. Hard drums, tight piano accords and bass. And X just rips. He raps his ass off. Flow: flawless. Voice: raw. Beat: top notch. All this gives us a masterpiece. Why is this on the bonus CD? It's one of my favorite tracks off the whole album. I love the chorus too, a female singer handles it. Love it.
Xzibit's second verse is even better.

"A new position, got a couple of pots to piss in, Got the aim of Oswald nigga I ain't missin'. If everybody eating' who the fuck gone clean the kitchen, I got vision, and a real deep suspicion."

I think the thing that makes the beat so good is the combination of this HARD bass drum really blowing the speakers off and these melodic piano accords just jumping. An awesome combination and combined with Xzibits wild flow we have a track that I can listen to 100 times without gettin' tired of it. The beat always sounds fresh. Props to Bink! for this. 4.75/5

2. What A Mess - The one and only DJ Premier had his hands on this. Its the typical Primo beat. I has a funky guitar and tight drums. Raw. Xzibit is ruff & rugged on here, I love his verses. Are these bonus cuts gonna turn in to the best of the album? I love the scratches Primo used during the chorus and Xzibit really rips it. My favorite line of the whole track is probably this one, taken out of Xzibit's second verse.

"God blessed me with a chin, And a heavy right-left combination that'll cave your face in, So don't make me hurt you, patience is virtue, They only got a few of us let, huh."

We have no real chorus, just scratches handlin that. The scratches really make this track a lot better, I don't know what it is, but I just love them! Primo and X sound good together, who would've thought that? At first I was suspicious about this team-up but it turned out hotttt! Seems like Xzibit can flow over any kind of beat! That's a gift that not many have. 4.5/5

3. (Hit U) Where It Hurts - Rockwilder up in the house! And one more time, Rockwilder laced this production. I really like it, the melody is basically based on the chorus of the track. Rockwilder used a very repetitive loop, which doesn't make it monotone or boring though. The melody he used is catchy and makes your bop your head. And Rockwilder has the usual little effects that pop up at times in there too which let you discover a new feature every time you listen to it. And Xzibit starts rapping with his usual style, raw.

"Holdin Two Black X's For The Smiling Faces, It's A Chess Game Nigga Better Count Your Spaces"

Im really feelin' the chorus "Make shit happen, stompin' smashin' on and crackin', who want action, pistol packing, hit you where it hurts". It fits really into the melody and rhymth of the beat. Rockwilder did a good coordination job. Xzibit rips it as usual. Another tight track. 4/5

What can I say? The only track I don't like is Choke Me Spank Me (Pull My Hair). All of the tracks are pretty good, some of them excellent. My favorites are "Release Date", "Losin' Your Mind", "My Name", "Missin' U" and "My Life, My World". Xzibit came off tight on nearly all tracks, his flow was flawless, voice was as usual and his style is tight. But my problem with this album is that its nothing that would get me to say WOW. Most tracks are above average but they weren't BLAZIN'!! They are just very good. Now you might say "But what do you want, he's just a rapper!". Well when you hear Xzibit on some tracks, you KNOW he can do it. Xzibit was at his best back in 1996. Tracks like Paparazzi are classics today. But I can't see a track on Man VS Machine, that I could call a CLASSIC in 6 years. That's my only beef. Xzibit did a good job, all producers were good, its a nice album, nothing wrong. But most Xzibit fans want X to show us his lyrical skills.

3.75/5 Dubs!


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