Xzibit Explains Why Pimp My Ride Was Profitable For Everyone But Him
From 2004 to 2007, Pimp My Ride brought custom car culture makeovers into living rooms around the world. It was hosted by Xzibit and the show further introduced the platinum-selling Los Angeles, California MC to a worldwide audience as a media personality. Centering around L.A.’s car culture, the series hooked up drivers of vehicles in dire need of restoration with West Coast Customs, an auto-repair shop that’s been around since the 1990s. Each episode followed X as he surprised drivers by showing up at their houses and announcing they were chosen to have their rides pimped. It became a pop-culture phenomenon, reportedly ranking second only to MTV’s most iconic reality show of all time, The Real World.
Despite the show’s success, however, its host claims he didn’t profit as much from it as others. In speaking with The Breakfast Club, Mr. X-To-The-Z explains how the show affected his career and legacy. After DJ Envy says that “a lot of the kids don’t necessarily know you as a rapper” due to Xzibit’s success in film and television, the rapper who worked closely with Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg tells his hosts why he did the show in the first place. “When we did [the show], I was already getting my cars done at West Coast Customs. The producer, Rick Hurvitz, came in and asked if I wanted to host a show. I had never hosted anything before. It just happened to happen like that,” he says at 1:50.
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“Did it help or hurt your musical career?,” Charlamagne Tha God asks his guest. “In the beginning, I felt like it hurt my career,” admits X. “I wasn’t able to tour, I wasn’t able to continue building Xzibit as an MC. All of a sudden, it became almost bigger than the music. It was worldwide, it was on MTV, it was on these networks that were pushing it around the world, more than they were pushing my music.” He continues, “I love Hip-Hop, I love being here, I love creating it, I love being a part of it. So, when it came to Pimp My Ride, it became soccer moms and sh*t like that coming up and really recognizing me. Now, as I look back at it, whether people know me from music or film or TV, I’m just glad to be recognized.”
Charlamagne keeps the focus on the “why” by commenting that, at the time X signed up to do the show, his Rap music was “super profitable.” X responds by saying he’s never been afraid to take on new challenges and enjoyed the unscripted nature of the program. However, he sheds more honest light on the thought process behind taking on the hosting gig. “Honestly, I thought if I did Pimp My Ride, they was gon’ pump my videos. But then it became bigger than anything.”
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“They started pimping Xzibit,” Charlamagne quips at the 4:03 mark. Xzibit laughs at his remark before saying “Basically, yeah.”
X explains that he didn’t see any of the profits West Coast Customs received from its participation on the show, after Envy says the show “gave them so much publicity” and suggests Xzibit had a rightful piece to the profit. “They didn’t feel that way,” X says of the shop, adding “MTV didn’t feel that way. I feel like the show was built on my back, my credibility in Hip-Hop. I feel as though it became profitable for everyone else except me. When it was over, everybody couldn’t believe that I didn’t want to continue.”
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Angela Yee tells X she, along with presumably many others, assumed he was “making millions” from the show. “You would assume that,” he replies. “When that show was over, it was interesting…I couldn’t wait to be done because I had a tour booked. It was my first touring experience since I started the show,” he says before telling a story about how the show “forgot” to tell him there was one more episode that needed filming. X says the production company for Pimp My Ride told him “We’ll fly you back from wherever you are to film this episode.” He told them, “OK, just give me $1 million.” Xzibit says they refused his offer and replaced him with Houston, Texas rapper Chamillionaire for that episode.
“The show fell apart from there,” he says at 6:46. “It’s sad, because it was a really dope show. And it was one of the only shows that dealt with wish-fulfillment. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about the car, it wasn’t about the kid.” Following that statement, Charlamagne expresses his dislike for networks who operate as if the host of their successful shows don’t matter. “I think, actually, they said that,” says X. “They was, like, ‘Anybody with braids can do what Xzibit does.”
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At 17:00, Envy asks X if he would consider re-launching the series. “Well, I’ve been asked before. I’ve always turned it down. I’m never gonna say never.” Envy asks why the Michigan native passed. “I’m into ownership. The people that have the rights to Pimp My Ride, have done whatever they’ve done with it, [and they] let me know early on that I’m not part of that. So until they’re ready to have that conversation, there will be no Pimp My Ride with my participation.”
Earlier this year, Xzibit partnered with B-Real and Demrick to release Serial Killers: Day Of The Dead on his recently-relaunched Open Bar Entertainment.