It's only appropriate that Xzibit's highly anticipated, and often-delayed, Restless concluded hip-hop's millennial melting pot. After all, Xzibit's association with Dr. Dre and his Aftermath regime attached very lofty expectations to Restless; X was publicly anointed as the next MC expected to blow up. Surely, with Dre as executive producer and guest shots from Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Dre himself, Xzibit was virtually assured of acquiring the mainstream success that eluded him on previous efforts (At the Speed of Life and 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz). Thanks largely to Dre's knob-twisting input, Restless became aural kin to Dre's own 2001 comeback vehicle, as the head-nod factor is immediately established on "Front to Back," the heavenly synth stabs "X," and "Get Your Walk On." The main flaw in Restless' formula lies primarily with Xzibit's extensive list of guest collaborators. While contributions from Dre ("U Know"), Snoop ("D.N.A."), and Eminem ("Don't Approach Me") are all welcomed, appearances from DJ Quik and KRS-One, among many others, take the focus off Xzibit's formidable lyrical boasting, which precludes Restless from forming a desired level of cohesiveness. On "X," Xzibit pledges to "Rearrange the game with my rugged sound," and he periodically delivers on that promise. However, it would have taken nothing short of a masterpiece for Xzibit to appease hip-hop's finicky masses. And while Restless isn't the crowning achievement many predicted, it is X to the Z's most consistent effort to date. ~ Matt Conaway, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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