Xzibit, a hip hop veteran from Dr Dre’s camp, remembers the West Coast battle rap scene being small and bare. And he also remembers Eminem making big waves there.
During his recent appearance on the Adam Carolla Show, Xzibit mostly talked about the cannabis business and cars. Still, at some point, he was steered back to his early days in hip hop and making acquaintance with a certain white rapper. Xzibit said:
I’ve come from the battle rap scene. When I first started on the West Coast, it was very small clicks of MCs, and we all used to go to battles, either at Unity or we would go to the Wake Up Show with [King] Tech and Sway. That were our only outlets, there was no Internet, there was no place for us to really do that. In New York, they had different things, Lyricist Lounge, they had mixtapes, and they had a vibrant scene. And LA had its own scene as well. Eminem was very famous for being a battle rapper. Even when he spelt his name with the M and M like candy. He was talented back then, and he was grooming himself. Everybody was doing the same thing, grooming themselves. You heard of him because to see a white guy with that much skill coming to the scene was pretty amazing. His reputation preceded him. I met him through that first. It wasn’t like, oh, we’re going to work together and do all this stuff later. No, we are both from the same kind of place. Once, he came for the Rap Olympics, and he was ready to throw in a towel at that time. But he was giving out tapes. One of the tapes from that Rap Olympics got to Dre and Jimmy [Iovine]. Jimmy took it to Dre, and then they called Em in, and that was history. I got to Dre through a different way, but we all ended up in the same camp. It was all for the same push and a certain talent that we brought to the table with our rhymes. That’s how we got together. But he’s had a crazy story as well. I’m glad I was in “8 Mile”, I’m glad I was able to work with him in the capacity that I have. Nothing but respect for Marshall and the rest of his team.
Indeed, Xzibit caught Dre’s attention after putting two albums on the Billboard 200. But working with Dr Dre was a life-changing experience for both artists, and their Up in Smoke tour will forever stay in the hip hop history books.