Album: Xzibit <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Full Circle, ESSENTIAL
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The Independent Culture

MTV's Pimp My Ride, in which Xzibit plays a streetwise Jimmy Savile granting wishes to owners of old bangers in need of renovation, is a constant source of surprises - never more so than when some old lady gives the rapper a hug for kitting out her ancient runabout with a 1,000-watt sound system and chrome tailfins. The ease with which he surmounts such culture-clashes helps explain why Xzibit is the closest thing hip-hop has to a crossover folk-hero. The same kind of divide-straddling takes place on Full Circle, where the usual bragging and thug-play is leavened by a political dimension that sees X reflecting in "Invade My Space" how "money over everything seems to be the theme in the land of the philistine". His music is just as distinctively individual, with grooves built on string samples, scurrying guitar riffs, and even a droning Buddhist chant on the single "Concentrate". A contender for hip-hop album of the year, at least until El-P drops his latest.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Invade My Space', 'Family Values', 'Black & Brown', 'Concentrate'