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Carol Fenelon

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With a raspy voice and impressive microphone skills, rapper Xzibit has crawled forth from the muck of the rap world to become a major force in a musical genre that has seen its share of mediocre talent and imitators. Though the rapper hasn't sold a great deal of albums-only one in four have gone platinum-Xzibit has managed to inject heart and soul into his lyrics, mainly because he's one of the few to have actually lived what he raps about. Meanwhile, Xzibit has expanded his entertainment universe to include hosting duties on the popular MTV series, "Pimp My Ride" (MTV, 2004-07). A take on such popular makeover reality shows as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo, 2002-) and "Extreme Makeover" (ABC, 2002- ), "Pimp My Ride" turns an otherwise worthless piece of junk into a tricked-out ride complete with chrome mags, spoiler and hydraulic shocks-the envy of every pimp on the block.Born Alvin Nathaniel Joiner in a rough part of Detroit, Michigan, Xzibit spent most of his life without the company of his mother, who died when he was only 9 years-old. Xzibit went to live with his dad and soon moved to New Mexico and Arizona. The youth spent his time getting in and out of trouble, and by the time he was...

With a raspy voice and impressive microphone skills, rapper Xzibit has crawled forth from the muck of the rap world to become a major force in a musical genre that has seen its share of mediocre talent and imitators. Though the rapper hasn't sold a great deal of albums-only one in four have gone platinum-Xzibit has managed to inject heart and soul into his lyrics, mainly because he's one of the few to have actually lived what he raps about. Meanwhile, Xzibit has expanded his entertainment universe to include hosting duties on the popular MTV series, "Pimp My Ride" (MTV, 2004-07). A take on such popular makeover reality shows as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (Bravo, 2002-) and "Extreme Makeover" (ABC, 2002- ), "Pimp My Ride" turns an otherwise worthless piece of junk into a tricked-out ride complete with chrome mags, spoiler and hydraulic shocks-the envy of every pimp on the block.

Born Alvin Nathaniel Joiner in a rough part of Detroit, Michigan, Xzibit spent most of his life without the company of his mother, who died when he was only 9 years-old. Xzibit went to live with his dad and soon moved to New Mexico and Arizona. The youth spent his time getting in and out of trouble, and by the time he was 14, his care was administered by the state. At 17, Xzibit was released, and he moved to California to start a career in rap (he'd been writing rhymes out of boredom since he was 10). Xzibit hooked up with the Likwit crew, which led to collaborations on LPs by The Alkaholiks and King Tee. LOUD Records head Steve Rifkin soon offered the rapper his own deal. Xzibit's first release was At The Speed Of Life, widely considered to be an impressive showcase for his nascent talents. However, the album registered less-than-impressive sales, and the single, Paparazzi, though an underground hit, failed to make a significant commercial impact.

His sophomore effort, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, confirmed the hype that this blunt and unrelenting artist was for real. Xzibit typically ripped into faux-MCs who liked to talk the talk, but not walk the walk. Once again, however, Xzibit failed to crack the charts, and the single, What U See Is What U Get, suffered the same commercial fate as Paparazzi. But it was his next LP, Restless, that put Xzibit into the mainstream. After a few delays, the highly anticipated and much-hyped album was released in December 2000. With the contributions of such famed rappers as Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Restless managed to sell over two million copies, making it the first platinum release of Xzibit's career despite mixed reviews. His fourth record, Man Vs Machine, didn't fare as well commercially, but did mark the maturation of the rappers hardcore lyrics.

With this breakthrough into the mainstream complete, Xzibit felt sage to pursue other goals-mainly acting. Xzibit made a few cameo appearances in feature films, starting with the Snoop Dogg production, "The Eastsidaz" (2000), a straight-to-video release about a gang leader sent to prison after being framed by his homeys. Xzibit's next cameo was in Disney's "The Country Bears" (2002), followed by the Eminem vehicle, "8 Mile" (2002). Xzibit finally played a more meaty role in the upcoming crime drama, "Full Clip," the first feature helmed by music video director Mink. But Xzibit's biggest exposure came with "Pimp My Ride," where as the host he demonstrated an easygoing, fun-loving hipness and a love of clever wordplay that brought out the best in the show's young car-owners, as well as the inventive customizers. In a mere eight episodes, the popular show helped solidify the position of the once underground rapper in mainstream culture.

In the noir thriller "Derailed" (2005), he was the muscle behind a sadistic robber (Vincent Cassel) who blackmails a Chicago ad executive (Clive Owen) into a series of violent and dangerous crimes after breaking into a hotel room and discovering him with his mistress (Jennifer Aniston). During the summer of 2005, Xzibit filmed "The Gridiron Gang," an uplifting sports drama about a probation officer (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) who tries to rehabilitate a rag-tag group of teenage inmates by forming them into a high school level football team as a means to teach them self-respect and social responsibility.

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