The past year has been “a f**ing nightmare” for Jayceon Taylor, better known as The Game. Over the course of 12 months, the Compton native has been kicked out of his adopted group (G-Unit), dropped from his label (Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment), been arrested on at least two occasions, dropped possibly the sickest diss record in the history of hip hop (the epic 15-minute long “300 Bars And Runnin’), and fallen out with his own brother (former Black Wall Street CEO Big Fase).
Many questioned Taylor’s credibility, and ability for that matter, speculating he could not make another great record without the help of his mentor Dr. Dre, or former promotional muscle 50 Cent. I must admit when Game debuted 2 years ago with “The Documentary,” I was not feeling his style whatsoever. In fact, I was initially a full out hater of his music, partly due to the annoying G Unit cameos. However, the first time I ever heard the track “Dreams” my opinion changed drastically. When I heard the “300 Bars” joint I was instantly hooked on his unique voice and clever punch lines.rnrnAlthough his second outing is called “Doctor’s Advocate,” the Dr. himself does not make a single appearance on this disc. That proves to not necessarily be a bad thing though. The production throughout this album is absolutely flawless. Tracks from Scott Storch, Just Blaze, J.R. Rotem, Swizz Beats and many more hold Game’s sometimes repetitive subject matter up on a pedestal. He’s still name dropping Eazy E, Biggie and Snoop, he’s still rapping about khaki suits and getting blowjobs, but his clever metaphors and deeply personal lyrics are what sets him apart from many of his peers.
The album’s lead single “It’s Okay (One Blood)” is a bonafide banger, which samples reggae artist Junior Reid on the hook. Even on the album’s most commercial moments, the back-to-back Scott Storch produced tracks “Let’s Ride” and over the infectiously hypnotic keys of “Too Much,” Game maintains an underground vibe with a hunger and excitement which is extremely rare these days in mainstream rap music. Although the constant comparisons to Ice Cube and Eazy E that Game himself administers can get kind of played out at times, he definitely lives up to the title of “the one-man N.W.A.” He proves his value to the West Coast on tracks like the surprisingly hot “Compton,” produced by Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am.
“Wouldn’t Get Far” is probably my favourite beat on here. Then again, it seems that everything Kanye West touches turns to platinum anyway. This witty homage to video vixens is full of hilarious punch lines. “One Night” seems to be the fan favourite on this album. Nottz mans the boards on this one, while Game addresses the issues surrounding his very public fallout with his brother, LA-based DJ Big Fase. On the album’s title track, Game delivers one of his most personal offerings to date, basically rapping an open letter of apology to Dr. Dre, with Busta Rhymes lending a hand in trying to dead one of hip hop’s most infamous feuds. “Ol’ English” is a nostalgic joint produced by Hi Tek. Other guests on the album include Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Snoop, and the album closing “Why You Hate The Game” featuring Nasty Nas himself over a Just Blaze beat that, well, just blazes.
This is only the third album I’ve purchased from a mainstream music outlet all year, but it’s definitely worth your $12 if you’re a fan of rap music, old or new