Joining in on the celebration of 50 years of Hip-Hop, Cali rapper Xzibit shared the first song he heard that made him fall in love with Hip-Hop, his biggest Hip-Hop influences, and how Hip-Hop changed and shaped his life during a recent talk with Audacy.
LISTEN: Hip-Hop Made - Xzibit
“We can’t start with me, cause y’know Hip-Hop turning 50 years old it still has the lifespan of a human who could still be with us today. So the amount of impact that Hip-Hop has had on pop culture, on the world of entertainment itself is pretty remarkable," explains X.
"When I first fell in love with Hip-Hop I was a really young kid, and I was in the back of a station wagon, and my father was driving and this song came on the radio and it was The Rappin’ Duke," Xzibit shared, going on to recite the chorus of "Da Ha Da Ha.”
“It was the most simple, straightforward rap you could think of, but at the time it was something that was totally different because my parents grew up listening to Motown… Contemporary Pop… Soul. And so when I first heard Hip-Hop,” Xzibit revealed, “I knew that was my music. That was my relatable form of entertainment, that’s what I gravitated to the most.”
After that Xzibit was hooked. “I was on top of everything coming out, I was listening to everything. But here’s the twist, my parents were very religious and they hated Hip-Hop. They would break every CD and every headphone and every type of thing that I would get my hands on, I’d have to hide it under my bed and in different places. They were trying to protect me from the content, but what they missed was the art.”
“Hip-Hop saved and changed my life," X went on to share. “Y’know when I was trying to figure my way in the world I went in a couple different paths that could have went in totally different direction. And so I was able to find Hip-Hop, or Hip-Hop found me, I’ll say it like that. It gave me a voice that I didn’t know I had. And I was able to kick and scream and do all these things I was doing endangering myself, and now I have a place. It was like a padded room almost, able to just get all my frustration out. It led to a lot of the music I made at the beginning of my career and it was beneficial for everyone, it was only a positive. I learned how to turn a negative to a positive, and a positive into accomplishment, and that’s what kinda really defined my path in music.”
Discussing his list of early influences, X said, “its a very clear list of people,” including Chuck D from Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Rakim, Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers. "I was a fan of Hip-Hop and I would seek out lyricists. That’s why the style of music I like to create is based in the lyricist type of punchline and metaphors, like I love that.”
“The other things that I was influenced by is like DJ bass music from Miami… a lot of the things coming from the South… Ghetto Boys. Before Cash Money, it was like Scarface was the man from the South and so I would listen to everyone. And then what really shaped and included something different than what I was doing in the West Coast, was that my first single ‘Paparazzi' went Gold in Germany first. So my first touring experience was overseas, in front of people who didn’t speak English,” giving him a different perspective of musical tastes and expectations.
Listen to Hip-Hop Made: West Coast and more on the free Audacy app
Stay tuned as Audacy continues to celebrate the birth and trailblazing influence of Hip-Hop. Check out audacy.com/hiphopmade all through 2023 for more. And listen to your favorite music on Audacy's Hip Hop Made suite of stations, as well as Conscious Hip Hop, Hip Hop Uncut, Women of Hip Hop, and more -- plus check out our talent-hosted Ed Lover's Timeless Throwbacks and Greg Street's Dirty South Hip Hop!
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