He was born in Detroit, Michigan and spent his teenage years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but somehow, Xzibit ended up dominating West Coast hip-hop.
Born Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, Xzibit is a multi-platinum-selling rapper who did not move to California until he was 18 years old, but it was on the West Coast that he quickly became a hip-hop icon.
It’s all about creativity, which also allowed him to expand his repertoire. Xzibit is also a reality TV star, actor, producer, and entrepreneur.
“I see it as being able to come into an environment that was thriving and had rules and regulations and I was able to assimilate and blend well with the creative process that was happening,” Xzibit said during an episode of the RUN GPG Podcast hosted by David Morrell. “When you level the playing field, with creativity, that’s how you stand out in that environment.”
Xzibit wanted to be an architect and considered hip-hop a pastime. However, he built a solid reputation in the West Coast underground hip-hop scene. Eventually, he caught the eye (and ear) of Grammy-award winning rapper and producer Dr. Dre, who executive produced and helped name Xzibit’s third album Restless.
Dr. Dre also secured Xzibit a spot in the memorable ‘Up in Smoke’ Tour with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, and Snoop Dogg, among others.
Xzibit’s popularity transcended hip-hop when he hosted MTV’s Pimp My Ride from 2004 to 2007. He became so popular that he was more recognizable than the pope!
Following the popularity of his reality TV series, the acting offers started pouring in. He had roles in 8 Mile, which starred fellow rapper Eminem, whose framed photographs were on Xzibit’s background during the podcast, and XXX: State of the Union, which starred another fellow rapper, Ice Cube.
Other memorable roles were in the award-winning TV series Empire and films Gridiron Gang and X-Files: I Want to Believe.
Despite his success, there was a time when Xzibit experienced some setbacks that led to a five-year depression.
It wasn’t until he mentored James Savage, formerly known as Jayo Felony, that Xzibit was inspired to believe and start the creative process again.
“I was able to put one foot in front of the other and go from a crawl to a walk, to a run to a sprint, and it took me out of that hamster wheel that I was dealing with,” said Xzibit of the experience.
He shared this and so much when he sat down with David. Here are the other things Xzibit discussed in the RUN GPG Podcast:
- The West Coast hip-hop experience.
- Xzibit’s early music influences.
- How Alvin Joiner became Xzibit.
- Xzibit’s creative process.
- About the Up in Smoke Tour with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, and many more.
- Xzibit’s working relationship with Dr. Dre.
- Some of Xzibit’s favorite collaborations are those outside of hip-hop.
- What Xzibit says about Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Obie Trice, and Apathy.
- How Pimp My Ride introduced Xzibit to a much bigger audience, which brought in acting offers.
- Xzibit’s five years in a dark place.
- James Savaged asked Xzibit for help, which in turn helped the rapper get out of his own head.
- Xzibit is hesitant to embrace the term ‘mentor’ but says that he can dish out some good pieces of advice.
- Xzibit says you cannot believe your best praise or your worst criticism.
- The rapper says he had a choice between being a storyteller and telling his story, he chose the latter.
- Acting is something Xzibit really had to work on, unlike music, which comes out naturally.
- Xzibit shares something about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Nicolas Cage, and Ice Cube.
- Xzibit launched his new business last year.
- Who are the three people invited to Xzibit’s dinner?
- What Xzibit plans to celebrate a year from now.
What’s next for Xzibit? He will be releasing his next album, King Maker.
“Hip-hop is where I started; a successful life is where I end up,” Xzibit said during our podcast when asked how he wants to be remembered.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/xzibit Instagram -https://www.instagram.com/xzibit/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/xzibit
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMqLx2g4eAN3_gJ2qefQ0Xg
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/4tujQJicOnuZRLiBFdp3Ou?autoplay=true
Contact David Morrell
Tiktok – https://www.tiktok.com/@morrellionaire
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thegreaterdavid
Twittter – https://twitter.com/fearofdavid
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Xzibit - Podcast Transcript
Today. I am pleased to be joined by a man who needs very little in the way of an introduction. Alvin joiner, better known as Xzibit is a multi-platinum rapper. He’s an established actor producer as well as a successful entrepreneur and businessman from iconic albums and legendary tours to TV and blockbuster movies.
We’re excited to talk about his incredible career, some highlights, what he’s doing now, and a lot more with the one and only. X to the Z Xzibit X, welcome to the run GPG podcast. Thank you for having me. Yeah. We’re excited to have you and man, there is so much, I do want to talk to you about today. But to start with, I do want to paint the picture and get a bit of the, you know, the pre Xzibit biography, which is interesting.
It’s super, super interesting because when you say the name. You know, you’re automatically thinking west coast legend. You know, you’re synonymous with the history there, but you’re actually from somewhere else. So the first question is, take us back to the beginning. Who is Alvin joiner? Where are you from?
Where did you grow up and how did your journey in hip hop begin? Wow. Well, I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and, I was born in 1974. You know, both my parents were teachers, they had met in college. My sister and I were, were, you know, we, that was the nucleus of the family. And, you know, we were just in Detroit, you know, I just lived in the Midwest.
I was there for, you know, till I was nine. When I was nine, my mother passed away. And then, my dad got remarried and we lived out and they wanted to move to Albuquerque New Mexico. So I lived in Albuquerque for, you know, I guess like seven, eight years, you know, till I was like 17, 18. And then I moved from New Mexico to California, where I started my career and my life in general, you know?
Yeah. And like I said, I think that’s surprising. I think that’s, you know, one of the most bad-ass things about you is that you weren’t native to like Los Angeles or the west coast, but you ended up dominating the locals and becoming a part of that west coast, history. Is that the way you see it too?
I mean, I, I see it as being able to come into a environment that was thriving and had rules and regulations and was able to assimilate and able to blend. You know, well with the creative process that was happening. I think when you level the playing field with creativity, I think is how you stand up in that environment.
And I, I think that’s a better explanation of what happened when I came to west coast, because by no means, do I feel like, you know, west coast wouldn’t be here. If I wasn’t here, that’s not true. You know, what it was is it was a, that was that I had to rise to. And so that’s exactly how I feel about when I came to California and started learning how to become an artist.
And then what that entailed and what that took from me and the sacrifices that it took for me to get. There was something that was willing to. Yeah, it’s interesting. You kind of touched on it. Maybe had to up your game a little bit, cause you weren’t from there. Okay. So I always like to ask this question, like, who are your earliest influences in music?
Like what hip hop albums, did you grow up listening to, or did it. When I was first learning of music, I didn’t come in immediately with hip hop. I used to actually listen to my, my family’s albums. My parents used to have get togethers in the basement. They would play all the Motown. They would play, you know, all of the old classics, you know, everything from, you know, the, the greats, you know, Marvin gay, old to Christopher Cross, you know, you name it.
You know what I’m saying? It was like, you know, a wide variety of music and also was playing the violin when I was at. And so I was really influenced by music period. And then once I found hip hop, I was able to like, that’s mine, that’s my expression. If music had an expression and everybody had to pick one, that was the one that I fell in love with.
So once I started listening to hip hop, then it was like, wow. You know, I came, I think the first rap song I ever heard was the rapid. The Honda and he was rapping, like, you know, I guess he was doing like a John Wayne impression or something like that. And so then from there, you know, it was like, oh, wow.
You know, I started listening to, of course, run DMC. My big brother brought home the raising hell. I was there to see all of these things happen as a fan first. And then when I got introduced it to actually being an artist, then I was able to have these guys become my peers and be able to meet them and be able to speak with them.
And they appreciate my craft. It was quite a. Yeah, it would have been mind blowing. So, so that’s the question, like, how did you get involved with hip hop and rap specifically? Like, I guess the question is, did you jump in as an MC right from the beginning? Or were you involved in, you know, something else in the culture there?
Like, were you a graph writer, a beatmaker or did you just jump in as an emcee and just start, you know, doing versus no, I mean, when I first started rapping, it was because it was just. Just leisure. You know, I went through many rap names as, as a kid and I never looked at it as a profession. I wanted to actually be an architect.
I was taking like computer aided drafting in school, stuff like that. Building bridges. Doing diagrams on nuts and bolts and drawing them and, you know, figuring out how to make them fit together. And that’s kind of how I fell in love with putting things together. I used to take apart radios when I was a kid and put them back together and you know, sometimes I did it right.
Sometimes I didn’t do it, so, right. So things didn’t work as well, but. That’s where my curiosity took, took me into it. And so once I started doing music, it I just started like, taking it seriously until I came to California and got around keen T and alcoholics. Yeah. Interesting. And I wanted to ask you, where did the name Xzibit come from?
Like, what’s the history of that? Ah, interesting. So, my first rap name, when I first started rapping was ice. And then I was like, you know, like at the time, It was like ice cube, ice tea, you know, vanilla ice, all these other ices that were out there. I was like, I can’t use that. So then I started like, oh my name’s Alvin.
So let’s do MCA, you know? And I was like, can’t do that to some record label. That’s, you know, that’s one of the Beastie boys. Like I can’t, I can’t use MC. And so at the time MC was in front of everybody’s name. And so I was like, okay, so let me, let me go somewhere else. And so, as I was trying to do this, I was still freestyle.
And then it was a guy named David and Tony that used to like beat box in my high school. And so I would always battle these guys. They be David would beat Boxford for David. I mean, David would beat box for Tony and they would just house everything. Cause Tony was like selling, saying things off the radio.
So I would just come in and do my original written stuff. And so one day I was like Xzibit a and one of my freestyles. And then one of my friends was like, yo, that’s that? That’s it. That’s, that’s a stick that, you know, that Xzibit a line. So I started using Xzibit a and I spelled to the way he was supposed to be spelled it.
And so once he Bonox came into play, I was like, okay, cool. Let me, let me drop the, a, it just put an X. And then that’s how Xzibit was born. The accident is Z. And so that’s how I kind of came up with it because M seeds was just all over the place. And I was tired of, you know, doing things that people kept coming up with and I want it to be totally original.
So I went to the end of the alphabet, chose the X and the Z to say, That’s the history of the name. Yeah. Very, very interesting. Okay. So you had your first record deal done at the age of 19, right? So how did that happen? And can you describe that time? What it was like for you when you, when you did sign that first deal?
Well this was back in like 95, 96 when, well, actually it was like 96. Because when I got signed, they took me about a year to put the album together. But at the time, Los Angeles had a really vibrant hip hop scene. It was like the far side was out as well as, you know, the classic gangster rap and the souls of mischief was coming down from the bay area.
It was a vibrant, diverse. And, I was still, you know, learning from the alcoholics and Katie was the first person to ever put me on the record. So having a lot of respect for, you know, what, where that came from, I was just part of the scene. I would go to these freestyle battles. I would just be going to the wake-up show, whereas casts and fear, you know, all these other grades that were coming through, these freestyle kind of like underground hip hop scenes.
And so. I never made a demo. I never made a demo tape to be turned in. I never sought out a record deal. I was just in the scene. I did a song called freestyle ghetto. We can’t T on his fourth album from there. I was about to go do a show and gland slam, which was Prentice nightclub in downtown. And as I’m about to go out on stage with alcoholic, Steve Rifkin comes backstage and says, Hey, you know, literally before I walk out on stage, Hey, I want.
I was like, oh, you know, okay, I’m about to go do this show. He’s like, yeah, just go to the office tomorrow. That’s literally how it happened. And that is crazy. Yeah. Man man, some, I think some up and coming, hip hop artists might be very, very jealous of that story.
I do want to ask about the creative process because I always find this very interesting, like, you know, you’ve been responsible for some of the most iconic, you know, hip hop tracks and albums collaborations of all time. What did your creative process look like at the time? Like, do you think of words and phrases and write them down as they come to you?
Or do you start with a beat and work on lyrics after. What does the process look like? Well, I mean, I use different processes for different times. Sometimes I can write a song or even a piece of a verse and just write it down because I think the word sound good. And then from there, it’s pretty easy to create from that aspect.
And then sometimes I’ll get a beat and then I’ll just, you know, be able to write to the beat. But the writing is the most important to me as. Progressed as an artist, I learned to express myself better by not just accepting the first thing I write down. Sometimes you gotta be your own worst critic. And so as I started writing and progressing and progressing, I would listen to, you know, the playback and I would see how it hit me and how it felt.
And when I wasn’t satisfied with that, I will go back and do it again, even though it may be, you know, rocking the room or something that people in the room appreciate. I just don’t see. You know, I always pushed myself a little harder and I think that’s what the end goal is. When you have a process like creating music, creating things that you want people to relate to.
So that’s exactly how I go into creating music. Yeah, the great lyricists like you, you know, of course I, you know, I’m friends with apathy. I mean, it just, the brains are different, you know, perfectionist too, to a degree, you know, cerebral. So very interesting to hear that. Now I do want to ask you about the up and smoke tour, which is the legendary tour.
It was one of your career highlights. I know you’ve mentioned, I’ve also saw a quote from you or read a quote from you or something that said it was. Imagine reading the Avengers and then now you’re one of the Avengers right on that tour. And I thought that was really interesting. Can you tell us what that time was like and maybe, you know, how one of the craziest stories from that tour, or maybe the best live moment?
I mean, you, you have to remember, I came in as a fan and being a big fan of, of not only west coast hip hop, but doctor. In particular, it was amazing to be able to be seen in that light that not only did I rise to the occasion as an artist, but I was being seen by people that I looked up to as a compliment to what.
So once I was able to be on the doctors, Ray, 2001 album, as a feature with, you know, the biggest stars on the planet, I felt accomplished. I felt like I didn’t waste my time. I feel like I was being acknowledged in a fashion that, you know, not that I deserved, but, it was acknowledgement that I was on the right path.
And so once I was able to go into, you know, the other smoke tour, that was another highlight that I could never, you know, be thankful enough for, to Dr. Dre for allowing me to come on his platform and be seen in that light. So the tour itself would all put out a hitch. I still believe that it is the best tour that has come out of the west coast and the best balance that has launched careers and, and still legendary to this day.
So, I mean, it, it was crazy to be able to. Come on that set. You know, Dr. Drake gave me a choice before we went out while we were rehearsing. He said, Hey X, you know, I want you to come on this tour with us, but you here’s two options. You can have 20 minutes before Warren G at the top of the show by yourself.
Or you could have four songs or three songs on my set that was like, oh, No problem. So, so much of a choice, not much of a choice was like, okay, cool. So I’ll just wait to be on his set. And, it was worked out crazy. You know, I came out there with Snoop. I did a song with him and it just turned out to be like the launching pad for the rest of my.
I’ve heard you talk about, you know, what that tour was like, it’s legendary. I mean, it’s, it was history making at the time. Do you have a favorite live moment from that tour? Like one significant moment that you can think of or is the whole, well, I mean, there was one magical moment that I don’t think anybody will ever forget.
We had worked our way back to the west coast and I think it was our first LA show. I think it was an. We are all, Hey, come back into town. Dre was very specific about, you know, time and everybody being on top of their stuff and, you know, up the schedule. So as soon as we get back to LA, you know, everybody’s getting ready to go back to the arena.
And so it comes on the news that Nate dark has been arrested. Nate Dogg had, you know, been arrested for setting a car on fire and some others, I don’t know what happened, but it was like really bad. And so, so we have a show that. Dre is trying to figure out a way to, you know, fill in for Nate. We had a couple of RV artists.
I’m not gonna say no names, but a couple R and B artists w you know, we’re trying to come in and sing. And so this one particular artist didn’t know the words to the song. So I’m S I’m sitting next to Dre. He, as a guy, you know, that wrote out all the words, holding up this cue card, you know, next to the sound booth and the, and the R and B singers up on stage.
Try to hold up, wait months to saw. It’s just not worth. So Dre sitting there, I’m sitting there and then he’s like, So Dre takes off, fast forward to the night on Nate’s part, the lights go down, everybody knows this is fight he’s in jail. And so when, when the spotlight comes on, Nate dog walks out on the stage with the band, still from the jail on his hand, Dre had went and bailed him out and he was able to make the show and the electricity in that state.
Was. Off the charts. It was like, shit, I get chills thinking of it right now because it erupted because everybody knew that this girl was in jail jail, and he was able to walk out of that stage that bad night and really just rock the show. And we were glad to have him back. It was, it was just one of those moments.
You’ll never forget because the energy was so live in there. So, you know, it’s just a Testament to, you know, when things have to happen, then nothing can get in the way.
And that’s incredible. You’re the first one to answer. Probably the best in the worst moment live moment together. They were both very, very interesting. It was recently, the 20th anniversary of the release of restless, right. Restless. And I’ve heard you talk about how much that album actually meant to you, its longevity, you know, personally what it meant to you personally, but I also heard the story about how Dr.
Dre saw the restless tattoo on your neck and that’s where the album name came from. Is that true? And where did the restless tattoo come from? I guess? Well, I G I got a lot of work done for Mr. Cartoon and, Mr. Cartoon put the restless, font on my neck. So it’s been there since I was a kid. And, when I was recording the album and I was, you know, about to be done, Dre was standing at the mixing board with me, I guess he saw it.
He was like, why don’t you name it? That restless. I was like, Ooh, That sounds crazy. You know what I’m saying? And when you get a suggestion from Dr. Dre on something that is a creative choice, you might want to consider it. So that’s exactly how it happened. You know, it’s a tattoo to Mr. Cartoon put there and, you know, and, and it ended up, you know, having more meaning as a one-on-one.
Speaking of Dr. Dre, I know you’re close with him. Would you say he’s a mentor? Like what was it like working with him? And can you think of some of the best advice he ever gave you? Well, I mean, he started out as a working relationship and grew into a brotherly relationship. I think that, you know, Dr. Dre considers me a little bit.
Like he, he has great expectations of me and I never want to disappoint that expectation. I want to rise to that occasion because he’s bringing the best out of himself. He’s also expecting all of us to do the same. So, that’s kind of how I see our relationship. And I’ll always look up to him as that.
And, you know, it’s, it’s dope because to have someone of that stature, you know, look at you in that light is really a really good place. It really don’t place. Yeah. What’d you call him a role model? I mean, a role model in certain aspects, you know, Jess in certain aspects, you know, you, you have to look at is everybody’s living their own life, you know, and, and I never looked at people that demonize their good or bad or whatever I’m indifferent when it comes to that.
I look at him as, as a brother and nobody’s perfect. So, you know, I always look at the way he gets. From his mistakes and the way that he can move past his mistakes and, and continue to be who he is. So that’s, that’s what. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, for me, you know, for a lot of people, he he’s about more than hip hop, you know, he’s a true entrepreneur success from that perspective.
Now you have worked with all the legends, right? Dr. Dre, we just mentioned Snoop Dogg, M and M many others. Like when you look back, do you have a favorite collaboration and album or a period in your career that stands out as particularly significant to you? Or do you just look at it as one big body of. I mean, I think it’s easy to, for me, the way the, my career has gone to, to stay in hip hop.
I think the things that I’ve done outside of hip hop musically are the things that are hard to do. You know, like I’ve done shows with Metallica, I’ve done songs with Alice Cooper. I’ve done, you know, songs within temptation. You know what I’m saying? Like, like things that are outside of. You know, my realm of creativity or where people don’t expect me to be.
I think that’s a Testament of where it stands. When it comes to, you know, my favorite moments being able to exist in hip hop would still go out and be seen as television star in a movie star. Those are the things that I feel like, wow. You know, like I like I’m able to transcend what people’s expectations.
And go for things that require a real focus intention. Yeah. That that’s, that’s a good way of explaining it. If it’s cool with you, I want to get a couple of, I want to name a couple of names and I want to get your first thoughts that come to mind. Just a couple of names. We did talk about Dr. Dre.
Oh man. That’s my brother too, man. A Snoop dog is an icon. He talked about this transcending he’s everywhere. You know what I’m saying? Like everybody knows who Snoop dog is, you know, arguably the biggest hip hop persona on the planet, Snoop dog will always be synonymous with west coast hip hop and to be able to stand with him and stand next to him is an honor.
Yeah, absolutely. Oh man. I mean the goat, you know what I’m saying? Like Marshall is, is really a unicorn. I like to call him and Dre and all those other guys, unicorns, you know, you don’t find them. They just. And so, you know, when you, when you look at M and M and what he’s done to with hip hop and what he means to hip hop or what he means to Detroit and how he decides the direction of his career, no matter what he stands firm and that’s admirable.
Yeah, a hundred percent. I was going to ask you about Nate dog, but I don’t think we can top that story that you laid out there. I don’t think we can do that. You now you actually toured with Obie Trice, right? I’m not sure if you collaborated with him at all, but, first thoughts that come to mind when you think of OB Trice, another legend, right?
I’ll be Treisman. I see him as, as a lyricist. I feel like, you know, a lot of, a lot of guys don’t get the flowers they deserve. While they’re, while they’re doing what they’re do, what they do. And OB Trice is one of those. I mean, I think that, you know, the music that he created, it’s still viable to this day.
Then I feel like, you know, he, he deserves more acknowledgement than he gets. Yeah. That’s that’s interesting. And then the last one I want to ask you about is apathy. Yeah. Apathy is also one of the lyricist. It’s like he, there’s a whole bunch of, of white rappers. You know what I’m saying? Marshall being the top of the scale, apathy is up there in my opinion, because he is not only his own person, but his persona, the way he delivers, he understands hip hop in a whole other level.
He’s not opposer. He’s not trying to just get in to beat. He actually loves the culture and he takes times for the crunch time with his craft. Then I think that’s something that is, you know, unique to him. I’ve seen him, you know, say some real underground and I’ve seen him do some punchlines that wow. You know, like he understands that he gets it.
And I think apathy is going to, you know, be surprised how he’s acknowledged through his. when it comes to hip hop. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve, I’ve seen him work his new, like his new body of work. Like his new music that he’s doing is so hard, so dark and so incredible to me. I just, I’m blown away.
You know, when you hear some and his references, I mean, he’s always referencing stuff from the eighties and the nineties, and it’s like a flashback he’s re. And you got to listen close. That’s why I think fantastic lyricist. Okay. So, I do want to ask you one question about reality TV. I mean, you were, you were incredibly popular.
You blew up, and now you’re on reality television on a show. I’m not going to name the show, but it was a cult classic, you know, to some degree, like people still recognize you from that show. So what did you like or dislike about the experience on reality TV and what did it teach you about the entertainment business?
Like, I guess. You know, to boil it down. Is there anything that you wish you knew before you went through what you did with that show? I mean, it was different. I went through a couple different emotional changes when I did pimp my ride pimp. My ride was the first of its. And back when I did start at the show, no other hip hop artists wanted to be on reality TV whatsoever.
It was taboo. It was like, yo, I’m a real star, you know, so I don’t have to do that. But what I’ve viewed MTV and pimp my ride ads as a vehicle for the music. That was my initial thought like, oh, if I do this show, then I’ll get more exposure to play my video. Which was not the case, but it did expose me to audience that otherwise would not have any kind of interaction with me.
And so it, it took me around the planet and introduced people to me, through my character and through my personality and not through my music. And so it was a weird re-introduction to the. But it opened up my audience to a bigger way, bigger audience. And that’s the way I felt, you know, as, as a, as a show group.
And then it got to a point where, you know, people knew me more for that than anything else. And so that’s what I struggled with once I understood how big the show had become. And I, it was, I was too close to it at the time. And in the end, it, it, it didn’t sit well with me and T. I was able to, you know, go pass that show and, and understand that, you know, my Q rating was that of the posts.
Like I’ve heard. Anywhere and recognize me, which was very difficult to do. Yes, I had sold millions of records. Yes. I have been involved in some really big like music looks, but that show kicked open the door and allow, you know, a large amount of people to come in and not only see me as an artist or a musician, but see me as a personality and allow me to go into do, you know, acting and movies and whatnot.
Once I understood that part of it, the blow was caught slightly lessened, you know, and I was able to accept it on a different. Xzibit was more recognizable than the Pope.
After that, I could be wrong about this, but it seemed like you, you kind of took a break from everything a little bit. Right. You know, I’m breaking that down a little bit. I heard you talk about a turning point in. I don’t know where I’ve saw this. Exactly. But you talked about a turning point in your life where you were in your words, you were feeling sorry for yourself a little bit.
And then you helped, jail felony, James Savage in the studio, and you realize that reignited a fire within you to move forward, feel accomplished. And so this is kind of a personal development question, but how does helping others help yourself? Wow. Well, I’ll give you a little backstory on what that is.
I had a tremendous of my after, you know, after becoming an artist, rarely do you have the faculties to understand that being a businessman and being an artist are synonymous, you have to be one in the same. I was more focused on being an artist than a businessmen in my earlier years and that came back to heart.
So I was under a tremendous tackle. I was under a tremendous amount of exposure for that tax debt, you know, hip hop each zone. So as much success as I had my finances and my stability in my foundation didn’t matter. So I was really depressed about that. And without having a college education or people that I felt like I could trust and bring it to my circle and, and make me whole again, didn’t exist.
So I fell into a deep depression and I spent about five years. Literally sitting on a couch, there was no help. There was no person I could go and talk to about what I was going through specifically. And it really put me in a dark place. And so towards the end of that hamster wheel, I was on, I literally had to stop myself.
I was drinking heavily. I was, you know, in the depression, it was just day in, day out, same cycle, no matter. And I was really in a place where I couldn’t get out of it. I couldn’t shake it. And so jail felony I was doing, I think I was doing a radio show or something, called open bar radio. And I was just like doing that in descending into Qaeda.
It was, it was like a radio show I was doing. And I really wasn’t doing anything else except that. And he had come to the studio and heard some of the music that I was working. And, you know, a little while later, he calls me say, Hey, I want you to help me with my music. And I was like, I want somebody to help me with my music too.
And I didn’t know what he exactly wanted from me. Cause I was only used to producing music for myself. And so when he came in, I was like, okay, well let’s just go in the studio and see what happens. And so one start that started happening. I started going into the studio producing for him, producer for him.
And the music that was coming out was really like really solid, really dope. And he was believing in it and, and everybody around us was believing in it. And somehow during that belief system being transferred around the room, it landed on me too. And so I was able to kind of put one foot in front of the other and go from a crawl to a walk, to a run, to a sprint.
And it took me out of the. Hamster wheel that I was dealing with. And I guess I say all of that to say, you know, sometimes being inspired doesn’t have to necessarily be a selfish thing or be for you, in particular sometimes, you know, sacrifice and being creative can be put towards other people. And.
Process you’ll be able to be inspired yourself. And that’s exactly what happened. I was able to break out of my depression and focus and get out of my own head and put that down. It’s okay to put it down. If it’s too heavy, you know, you’re not a quitter, you just have to keep moving forward. And once I got that into my daily routine, I was able to focus like, okay, cool.
So what I was really concerned about and worried about. Which was basically what people were saying about me, which really I don’t give a fuck about that now was holding me back. And the people that I’m thinking about, aren’t thinking about me like that. I just have to focus on, I need to do to move forward.
And that’s exactly what happened when I was working with jail. We came up with a product. They came out really well. People, you know, really ignited what he was doing and ignited what I was doing. And from there, you know, all of these things started happening for me again, and I was able to make my own choices and be able to make better decisions going forward.
What a profound story. And I hope the listeners took notes on that one because there’s such valuable takeaways in that story. You know, ex I don’t know if you know this, but James Savage actually did an interview last year, where you talked about how you specifically, Xzibit changed his life. Did you know that.
I did not know that. Yeah. Yeah. I can send it to you. He mentioned how Xzibit changed his life specifically. And, and have you thought about how you’ve become a mentor and maybe a guru to others now? Well, I don’t know about a mentor, but I I’ll tell you some good advice the way you made it sound the way you made it sound.
Yeah. I mean, I appreciate that, man. If I can give people information. About my experience. And if we can get into, a conversation that is productive and I’m all for it, you know, I’ve made a lot of great decisions. I’ve made a lot of poor decisions. But at the end of the day, I’ve been able to live with all my decisions.
And I think that’s where you, you kind of. Get yourself to no one is perfect. No one is, you know, is able to go through life without any struggle. If you’re not, if you don’t have any struggle, if you don’t have any fears, then you’re not living you, you have to be able to, to hit the wall a few times and pick yourself up and keep moving forward.
People can learn from my experiences directly or indirectly. Then I’m all for that, you know, but I still feel like there’s things that I need to accomplish that I’m still striving forward and I’m still pushing towards. And when I get there, I’ll be able to, to, to say that I’ve accomplished a lot with my life.
I’ve done some really cool stuff, but I still, like, I feel like there’s more and I want people to be able to go through this with me, and be able to see, what it feels like to win and live on your own. A hundred percent. Yeah. I agree with that. I got two questions as they relate to that. The first is, you know, you’re talking about it.
You’ve started over a few times. I don’t want to say reinvented yourself, but what can you say about that? Internal motivation, like pushing yourself, finding the motivation from within, you know, to get up and go, because I think you have a very motivational story when you look back and you can speak with authority about starting over and becoming successful.
Right. I just think that people get so caught up on what other people think. That’s a dangerous thing to be involved with. We all have 24 hours in a day. You know, what you do with that 24 hours is totally up to you. I’ve been subject to some of the worst criticism, some of the best praise, and you can’t believe either of them.
If you believe what people say negatively about you, then you’re going to hold yourself back. Why just, you know, living, letting people live rent free. So that’s a dangerous place. Failure is part of success. So you have to be able to know that, oh man, that didn’t work. It’s not a reflection of you as a person.
It’s, it’s a reflection of you try. At least you’re trying, you know, and so for me, I’ve never been afraid to step out on faith. I always encourage people to, you know, do things. That are in your wheelhouse to take the time, to learn what you need to do and make the sacrifice and the time that you need to better yourself and what you’re attempting.
And those don’t just throw your hands up at it and be like, oh, well I gave it a shot. It’s not going to work for me first. You have to be centered. First of all, I always tell people that you can’t just go out and just try everything. Be centered, find out who you are, be okay with it. And once you okay with that, then what you love is going to present itself to you.
And then you can make better decisions from there, everything isn’t for everybody, you have to be able to push yourself in the right direction and hold yourself accountable. And so I always try to make sure that the things that I’m focused on, I complete them. I’ve never been afraid of starting over, but I had to stop listening to what other people say about me in the interim, you know, and I think that’s a big, big.
And so many takeaways there. You know, this is going to be one year. You’ll have to listen to a few times because you know, you spoken like a true entrepreneur, you know, execution trumps all, you know, when you get to be about the same age as us, roughly, you know, you start to care less about what people think.
And it’s funny, the younger you are, the more you care about it. As you get older, you realize you have less time. So we’re just going to do it. I also read a quote that said Xzibit has lived through many dramatic times in his life. So he raps primarily about his own life experiences and is not afraid to reveal himself on a track.
And I think, you know, a lot of your fans, if not all of your fans would agree with that, you’re authentic and real. I mean, that’s coming through on the interview. Can you touch on the importance of authenticity as an artist and why that’s so important for longevity? Well, excluded entertainment. Hip hop, exclude notoriety.
What you have is an individual. And even though we are all individuals, none of us are unique in our, our journey in life, right? We all have ups, downs, sad, happiness, family, you know, issues, happiness, you know, just all of these things that we all go through in our individual lives. When I had the opportunity to become an artist.
On a large scale and people started listening to me. I could be a storyteller or I could tell my story. There’s a difference. I decided to tell my story because I knew from being a fan first and being a human and then becoming an artist that my struggles were not unique, even though they were unique to me, everybody’s going through.
So why not be able to put myself on the line? And my interpretation that hip hop was always telling the truth. So when I was able to tell my truth and people accepted it and people understood what I was going through, I felt like that was the way I wanted my music to be interpreted. And so that’s where it came from, you know, like I’m not afraid to be vulnerable.
That’s a big thing. You know, being able to go out and not only be have the tough bravado. Yeah. I’ve lived through some really tough things, but how you feel about these things is just as important as the bravado you get from the tough tar I’ve ruined relationships. I’ve ruined, you know, things that have potentially been positive in my life being who I am.
And I’ve also, you know, been able to show the aftermath of these things in my music, you know, and it hasn’t always been pretty. And so I feel like that’s the balance. That’s what needs to be said. That’s, that’s what, that’s where we are. And I think that the more people are able to be themselves and the more people that are able to hear my story and hear my words and relate to.
That’s what music is for, for me, you know, not to be like viewed as the toughest guy on the planet, because I’m not, there’s always somebody tougher, but to be able to say like, Hey, this is what I’ve been through. This is what I did. Sometimes it worked out. Sometimes it didn’t, there has to be a balance in music.
And that’s where, you know, you have to lead by example, you know, and that’s why my music plays the way it plays. That’s why I speak the way I speak. You know, when I was a kid, I was very. I went through the system. I was in group homes. I was at halfway houses, even though I had a family, I had a whole family there, but my behavior and the things that ha had, had transpired in a house, put me through the system and my mother passing early, didn’t help either.
So, so I was a very angry person. I was doing violent things and danger in my life and my freedom, you know, because. When I found hip hop, I was able to check scream, you know, do all these things in a padded room literally, and not bring harm to myself or others, but be able to express myself through hip hop.
And so through that, I think a lot of people felt that a lot of people heard it and it was able to become turning negative into a positive. And that’s very important to be able to recognize and be able to do. And I think that’s what hip hop was for me. And what a breakdown of authenticity and the importance of it.
I really appreciate you explaining that. That was awesome. Okay. I do want to touch on your other career briefly, which is the fact that you started making movies. And if you take a snapshot and look back, you have a pretty incredible acting career, right? Like eight mile the X-Files movie, derailed, bad Lieutenant Gridiron gang, and most recently the empire series.
Right? So. Nuts. When you, when you think about it, now you look back and you’re like, you’re actually an established actor, right? Like how does acting compare to the music industry for you? Like, is it still a rewarding creative outlet? Absolutely. Acting is something I had to work on. Literally at the height of pimp my ride.
I got an offer for people that don’t know acting and it’s realms and its levels. An offer means that you, they just want to put you in the mood. You don’t have to audition. You don’t have to do anything except just show up, read the lines. We want you in this movie. The fact that, you know, I was such a popular figure and that Q rating was jumping.
I got my first offer, which was, you know, triple X, two with ICU. Yeah. Once I saw myself on the big screen. That’s different on TV because on TV, you’re in people’s houses, but in a movie, your face is like seven feet, eight feet tall on the screen. Right. Whole different kind of communication. Right. I saw that movie immediately thought, wow, I really suck at acting.
You know what I’m saying? Like, this is really. All right. So then I knew at that moment that Hollywood would give you enough rope to either pull yourself up or hang yourself. So I decided to not waste that opportunity. I took myself and put myself into some acting classes. I started doing, you know, like different things to sharpen my skill.
And because I took that seriously, it was then something that became a revenue stream, something viable for me to actually do. And then once I took that series, I had to do a different process, the music, because music comes naturally. I could be music in my sleep, you know, but with acting, you have more things to communicate.
You have body language, you have facial expressions, you have dialects, you have inflection. You have, you know, the it’s a lot could be said with the eyes right now without saying a word. And so I had to incorporate all of these things into what I already knew and music and add things to it. So that’s why I had to really work at it.
But because I worked at it now, it will become something that people you respect me for. And so now there’s something that is, again, like I took it back to transcending people don’t expect me to, to do films like the X-Files or play an FBI agent, or, you know, it’s easy to play gangster number. You know, it’s like, it’s like, okay, great.
Yeah. All I got to do is just show up and just be Xzibit, you know what I’m saying? Like, but to, to step out of these roles and pick things that, you know, are out of my wheelhouse and people don’t expect me to be, was referring to. It is something for me to get focused on because if it’s intriguing to me, then I’m going to put a hundred percent into it.
And that’s what acting was. It was like, wow, this is really dope. I’m seeing a different side of production. I’m seeing a different side of preparation and it was exciting to me. So that’s why I kept going.
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And that’s so cool. Like a true artist, right. You know, dedication to the, the craft, you know, the discipline it takes to actually be good at it, you know? Interesting breakdown. Okay. Same thing. I’m going to give you a couple names. First thoughts that come to mind when I say the rock, what was it like working with the rock?
Well, truly an incredible human. To see him where he came from and his wrestling beginnings, his story of coming to Los Angeles with literally like $7 in his pocket, something like that. And to see where he is now, the highest paid actor in Hollywood inspiration, the people gravitate to him is a gift, you know, so I’ll have the utmost respect for Dwayne, the rock Johnson.
And I’m really glad to see how far his star has. I gotta ask you about Nicholas cage. Yeah. Yes, Nicholas. That’s my guy too, man. You know? We’ve we filmed the movie bad Lieutenant port of new Orleans and yes, he is as fun as people think he is. He’s really, really dope to be around. He’s really, easy to work with.
And man, I just learn a lot, you know, work, even working with Verna Hertz off with that film was amazing. I mean, like he’s a legend in himself. So, you know, being able to get around these people in the same way that I felt like when I was around Dr. Dre going out on the upper smoke tour, these doors were opening.
The same way that happened. It happened in film and television for me. So, you know, you never know until you take that first step, Nicholas cage was really, really dope to work with and, you know, hopefully we’ll be able to work together. What was it like working with ice cube on a movie? Oh man, I can really dope story with ice cube.
So, so again, this is my first movie that we filmed together. There was like these big car chase scenes. So I’m sitting in the car with ice cube and we do our first shot and I’m steering the car. You know what I’m saying? We, you know, we, we, we finished the shot and he leaves already. When you drive a car, do you really like drive it like that?
Or you, cause I was going like this, you know what I’m saying? Like Batman, you know what I’m saying? The Batman TV shows and he says, yeah, when you drive a car, show me how you drive. And I was like, oh, well, one hand, you know, usually don’t move that much. He just like, yo, well you have to less is more right.
Then the next scene, I was just kind of kept my hand still and it look more real. You know, cube gave me some real pointers, like, like on the spot as we were shooting this movie. Cause he saw, I was very inexperienced. He understands on a different level what the creative process is. So whenever I can learn from the people that came before me, I take heat to it.
Yeah. That’s awesome. Thanks. Thanks for breaking that down. That’s hilarious. That’s actually really funny. Okay. Let’s move on to what you’re doing now. Like what projects are you working on? What’s your company now? Can you tell me? Well, you know, 2020 was difficult for all of us. Nobody could move.
Nobody was really doing anything that was, you know, essential, you know, it wasn’t essentially, it was the, you know, central businesses. So, you know, I have been in the cannabis industry for quite some time. And so I started a new brand. April of 2020, and right before the pandemic and it’s called napalm cannabis.
It’s been really well. It’s been doing really well. And, you know, we’ve had a lot of market penetration and, you know, it’s something that I enjoy doing. I like creating businesses from the ground up. So as I was sitting idle, I D I never have idle time. You know, never wanting to get back on a hamster wheel.
So I keep myself going forward. And so we’re just feeling good about what we’re doing here on music is always the nucleus of what makes everything cool for me. So I do have a new project coming out called kingmaker and television and film. I’ve been kind of. You know, on the side for a minute, because once they start working out the kinks, then everybody gets vaccinated and put together and how that all works.
I’m going to let that kind of build itself. And then when it’s time to step back in, I will. Yeah. Very cool. Sounds like you’re content with everything you’re doing. This is okay to find a few questions here. This is the wrap. This is in French. We call it the denouement Daniel mall. It’s a couple of fun ones, a really pick your brain.
Get to know who, Xzibit is in here, in here in here. If you could have dinner with any three people in history, past or present, who would they be and why? Dinner with three people, three people, any three people. Bob Marley. His energy and his wisdom and his insight on life was very unique to him and it transcended through his music and.
You know, even like having a moment with him to really just kind of hear what his, you know, take on my life and his life and if there’s any comparisons whatsoever. And if there’s any advice that he could give going forward, I would have definitely enjoyed that interaction. I would like to have dinner with Barack Obama simply because.
You know what he was able to accomplish in life and we’ll just be inspirational all the way around. I don’t think there’s any comparisons between me and him, but I mean, yes, of course, that, that would be awesome. And I guess the last one would be, man, I’m not sure. I’m not sure. Definitely. Okay. So Bob Marley, Barack Obama, and, it’ll come to you as you’re answering the next question. It will come to you, Donald Trump, something like that. But anyways, here’s, here’s the next question? Acts it, you’re opening a bottle of champagne a year from now celebrating something you’ve accomplished. What would that be? Just being alive, you know, a year from now, nothing, nothing is promised, you know, every day is a gift.
That’s why it’s called the present.
So I don’t know. I think just the way that I built my, my life, it changes from day to day and I’m okay with that. So if I get a year from now, Hmm, still making good decisions, positive decisions. Then I could celebrate that all day because the things that I’m setting myself up for are progressive. They are positive and they are going to benefit my life in some way, shape, form, or fashion.
Got you. Okay. So, and this is the, the, the last question, which is, have you thought about your place in hip hop history? Like, what is the legacy of the Alvin Joyner, AKA, Xzibit body of work? Like what will you be remembered for your legacy? I want people to. Look at what I’ve been able to accomplish and just realize that nothing good comes easy, persevere or see it through go forward, get up seven times.
If you got knocked down seven times, move in a fashion that you want people to respect you and give back to you. You have to be the change that you want to see. And if in hip hop, this is where I started, but that’s successful. Life is where I end up. That’s where I want people. To get from me, not just materially material things or monetization of, of opportunity.
It’s about like I did and live my life according to my own value system and was able to do it on my own terms. And at the end of the day, I crossed the finish line and was able to bring a lot of people with me. I think that’s where I need to sit. And that’s where my new album is called kingmaker. That’s the one thing that I haven’t done yet is put other people in positions of power.
And that’s a good goal to have. Oh, that’s fantastic. What an interesting thought when you, when you look back at, I mean, we’re still young, we’re still young, but when you look back, it’s incredible. You still have an extra seat at that table. So I will be joining you for dinner that night, but, I’ll give you my three, my three would be, Xzibit
Dr. Dre and ice cube. I think that would be, that’d be, that’d be a great dinner.
Let’s go X, what an absolute honor it was to have you on the show today. You’re a true legend you’re creative icon in so many ways. And it was so. To hear your story in a bit more detail and appreciate, your creative body of work. Talk about that as well as some personal development questions and some business takeaways.
I thought that was really, really good. So I do really appreciate your time today, man. Like I’m a big fan have been for a long time and, I know a lot of our listeners are as well.