*“What U See Is What U Get” is considered by some to be one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time. But, it's the furthest thing from the truth when talking about Alvin Joiner otherwise known as Xzibit.
The West Coast legend has become somewhat of a chameleon in recent years. X to the Z has morphed his edgy, tough guy image into one that is camera friendly; and the move has certainly paid big dividends.
From transforming junkyard cars into classic show pieces on the MTV reality show “Pimp My Ride” to starring along side some of the biggest names in Hollywood in films like “Gridiron Gang” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, where he played a football coach leading juvenile delinquents back on the right track. Or “Hoodwinked” along with Jim Belushi where he provides the voice of Chief Grizzly in the animated remake of Little Red Riding Hood, and the list goes on.
In his upcoming film “American Violet” (opening tomorrow, April 17) he plays the ex-boyfriend/baby daddy of a woman who is wrongfully caught in a drug sweep and forced to fight for her children and her freedom. EUR got a chance to speak to Xzibit about his role in “American Violet,” his acting career, and the music.
In this film the rapper plays Darryl Hughes, who has fathered two children with Dee Roberts (Nicole Beharie) and is fighting her for custody of the kids. X talked about how he wanted to portray his character:
“I think the pressure that he put on her in addition to what she was already going through with the system was definitely how I was supposed to play this role. But I think it’s deeper than that. It also speaks to how we treat each other in the midst of trying times.”
In “American Violet,” X comes off to the audience as the bad guy. This was perfectly fine to him. He spoke about how tough it was for him to play this part because of some of the violent scenes in the movie:
“The most difficult part of the scene was me having to raise my voice like that around the kids. The kids were troopers but it was still difficult. Because I would never treat a woman like that in the first place, but in acting it has to be choreographed just like a stunt. It was rough because I don’t have that kind of interaction in my day to day life.”
Xzibit also stated that he only chooses roles that have some range and show a change in the character which is why he turns down more roles than he actually takes. He discussed some of the roles he refuses to play:
“I don’t want to play stereotypical parts. I mean they hand those out every hour on the hour. If I plan to make more important movies as I go along, then the choices I make now are very important ... certain roles that come around are just not attractive. It’s not about the money. It’s not about me thinking I need to be in a big budget film. I don’t think I’m prepared to carry a movie by myself right now, but I want to work to get to that point. But the fact of me knowing that is going to save me a lot of headaches and the audience a lot of bad movies ... so you won’t see me on Soul Plane 6.”
With all the upcoming acting projects, X still makes time for what got him known in the first place, the music. He says he is still touring and in the studio working on new material for an upcoming project. When asked about one classically shelved group collaboration called “Golden State Warriors” with fellow West Coast legends Ras Kass and Saafir, he responded:
“That’s one of the big things I talk about as far as what I would like to complete. I’ve done lots of solo albums and there has always been talent on them that I want to release or I’m associated with.
If Xzibit doesn’t release another rap album he has already cemented himself in Hollywood as real actor. This gives him the ultimate freedom as an artist to create only music that he wants and not be pressured to sell records because it is his only means of income. X to the Z has come along way since “B**** Please,” and if he keeps making good movies the only thing he will be pimping is movie executives.