Xzibit definitely had something going for him from day one. His lyrical depth and awareness is untouchable. Put that together with some great, rugged beats and you have At The Speed Of Life. Xzibit mainly clowns commercial rap which is fine with me. But also he takes on subjects such as life, females, gangsta tales, and sometimes just flat out lyricism. If you like Cash Money, do yourself a favor and don't buy this. If you like REAL hip-hop, you'll love this. The beats are dark, and the sound of this album is extremely East Coast. Actually, if Xzibit and his homies weren't claiming Los Angeles on this album, some of the tracks may even sound East Coast in a way. But it's still a classic from the intro to the outro. Also, Xzibit's joined by a lot of his friends, such as Tash, J-Ro, Hurricane G, King T, and others. The styles of beats range from classical loops, jazz tunes, and underground rappin' beats. "Gets you open like Nicole Brown Simpson".
The first song on the album is the deep, "At The Speed Of Life". Here Xzibit basically introduces himself, and what you're going to hear on the album. It has a heavy drum-beat, and a nice laid-back feel. One of my favorites is "Just Maintain". This song features J-Ro and Hurricane G, and they rip up fake rappers. The beat has this cool little keyboard loop I really like. "Eyes May Shine" has more of a menacing beat to it, which sounds really good, and strings in part of it. Xzibit gets rugged on this one, I love the way they put the chorus together on this track. "Positively Negative" almost has a Death Row-like sound to it, and features King T. The two talented emcees trade lines over a bumpin' beat. I now want to clear up this thing about "Paparazzi". This song doesn't sound radio friendly at all, in fact, it condemns fake gangsta rappers over a classical-loop. This is a great song, excellent pick for the first single to represent Xzibit. "The Foundation" is produced by DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, it is a nice piano-laced track, and definitely has a message. Xzibit spits true game here. "Bird's Eye View" is HILARIOUS! It's a posse cut with Tash, J-Ro and Hurricane G along with E-Swift. J-Ro does a verse making metaphors fitting with alcohol for each city: Brew York, Mi-Ti-Ami, 40-O-hio, crazy lyrics! Xzibit and Tash rip it up too. Classic track. And when Tash says "Lookin' down on your Moms from a bird's eye view", it's bound to get someone laughing. "Hit And Run Part II" is a slower song, but has this great, laid-back keyboard lick. It's the most relaxing thing. Indescribable. Xzibit raps about females here, and there's a skit with Ron Hightower, from the Steve Harvey show. "Carry The Weight" is definitely the most personal song here. Xzibit talks about his life and the things that went wrong. It makes me sad every time I listen but it's true and beautiful. With another classic sample-loop. Then comes the funny songs again: "Plastic Surgery" featuring Ras Kass and Saafir. A song with a jazzy little bass loop, and the three perform "plastic surgery" on all fake emcees to enhance their styles. Classic. Funny song too.
To conclude, this whole album is quite good. It shouldn't be slept on. It's better than Xzibit's newer stuff, but that isn't bad either. Xzibit put it down here. No contest, check this one out.