We gave it a B+
In Dr. Dre’s posse, the new kid on the Glock is Xzibit, a former member of Tha Alkaholiks whose cameo on Snoop’s 1999 single ”B Please” (followed by appearances on Dre and Limp Bizkit records) made Xzibit a contender after two middling solo albums. Restless, executive produced by Dre, is Xzibit’s certified shot at the big time, complete with party joining appearances by Snoop and KRS One.
The focus, though, remains on Xzibit’s gruff, no frills intonation, which he uses to huff and puff (”I was voted most likely to have a psychiatric evaluation”) and engage in booty calls (”Veronica/ She treated my d— like a harmonica”). But in his own words, the former Alvin Joiner is ”too complex to break down in black and white,” and ”Restless” does tuck in moments of insight.
Cautioning fellow inner city kids at war in ”Front 2 Back,” he advises, ”Leave it alone/ Because the life you save might be your own,” and he continues his earlier swipes at superficial rap stardom on ”Kenny Parker Show 2001.” Addressed to the young son he doesn’t see when he’s on tour, ”Sorry I’m Away So Much” is clumsy (”On overseas plane rides, I miss you too”) but heartfelt.
Xzibit isn’t as singular a rapper as an elder statesman like Snoop. But Xzibit’s subsidiary lineup of producers, like DJ Quik and Rockwilder, are inclined toward leaner textures than most. Taking his own producing turn, Eminem joins Xzibit on ”Don’t Approach Me” and finally articulates how he’s handling the media coverage of his marital problems (not surprisingly, he fantasizes about being a sniper). It’s still unclear whether Xzibit will eventually rise to the level of Eminem and Snoop, but ”Restless” demonstrates Dr. Dre was right to add the rapper to his investments.