Album: At The Speed Of Life

Xzibit's got plenty of thumping, Aftermath g-funk hits to his credits. His earliest, underground, very best songs, however, were rather extravagant appproximations of gangsta ballet. I'm thinking of "What U See Is What U Get" and "The Foundation," of course, as well as "Paparazzi," the lead single from Xzibit's debut album, At the Speed Of Life. "Paparazzi," produced by longtime collaborator Thayod Ausar, is the most rapturous and pacific of all those songs; the late director Michael Lucero even hired a seaside symphony for the music video. At this point his career, Xzibit was as jaded as Prodigy and as anti-social as Treach, but with a sympathetic fondness for New Testament verses and wise solidarity. In 1996, Xzibit was at his best, if not his biggest. "I don’t need no lights, no cameras," he rapped. "Just action." —Justin Charity