The Game – The Documentary

The Game - The DocumentaryWhen I first heard The Game, I kinda liked him. He didn’t suck, he wasn’t excellent, and (in my mind) he definitely didn’t deserve the hype he was getting. My opinion of him hasn’t really changed since then. Through months of the newest G-Unit member’s bragging about being the one to bring the West Coast back into the center of the mainstream I looked forward to this album simply waiting to see if–and hoping–he could prove it.

 

1) Intro (Produced by Dr Dre)

Just an intro.

2) Westside Story ft. 50 Cent (Produced by Dr Dre & Scott Storch)

The beat comes in first. It’s pretty good, a deep piano chord with a higher piano chord over it; only problem being it gets a bit repetitive. For being produced by two of the hottest single-producers past and present, it’s pretty disappointing. Game begins by shouting out various gangs (how else?)..his first verse is pretty good, though a bit simple and lacking in substance (nothing WOW) but it’s not bad, either. This continues through the rest of the song. 50 Cent jumps on the chorus, yelling Westside. (Decent)

3) Dreams (Produced by Kanye West)

For Kanye, this beat is exceptionally simple. The producer seems like a shadow of himself by this beat–no soul, no chanting chorus, no catchiness, though it has his trademark strings near the chorus. The sample of a man chanting “dream” in the background gets annoying, though it’s clearly supposed to be used like Fabolous used Blaze’s “breathe,” though it doesn’t seem to work quite as well. Game again shouts out his producer and pretty much everyone else, while simultaneously boasting about his own life. (Poor)

4) Hate it Or Love it ft. 50 Cent (Produced by Cool & Dre)

Here, finally, is a catchy beat. Complex snare with a solid kick, over an upbeat Christmas-sounding slightly jazzy xylophone/sax chord. 50 comes on first; typically, his flow is on point, though his lyrics are lacking. He again sings the chorus, joined by Game–chorus being the best part of the song after the beat. Game’s lyrics are a bit better on this one, but AGAIN shouts out 3 or 4 people. (Good)

5) Higher (Produced by Dr Dre & Mark Baston)

The second single. The beat, being a little more layered, is better than Westside Story’s; four synth keys and a short chord, with some dramatic horns in the background. Game gets right down to shouting out other artists, though otherwise his verse is decent and flow is good. The chorus is good and catchy, but still involves shoutouts, as does the rest of the song. Good club track. (Good)

6) How We Do ft. 50 Cent (Produced by Dr Dre & Mike Elizondo)

The beat, again a simple one, is at least a bit catchy; it consists mostly of a high string and a dramatic, deeper chord. Game’s first verse (and those following) are below average, plus his flow is off. 50, singing the chorus again, manages to be forgettable..his verse is pretty bad but his flow, at least is on point. (Decent)

7) Don’t Need Your Love ft. Faith Evans (Produced by Havoc)

It’s a shame, really. The first really good beat on the CD, Havoc seeming to recover from his Amerikaz Most Wanted slump, with a Kanye style sample all warped and screwed over a sullen chord…and Game’s rapping starts to sound like 50 Cent’s–but only until about mid-verse, then it jumps back up to average. Faith on the chorus sounds angellic, fitting almost perfect over the Hav track. Game’s second verse is better, but overall what was clearly supposed to be a deep cut simply isn’t done right. (Decent)

8) Church For Thugs (Produced by Just Blaze)

This is a beat that sounds very little like Blaze’s usual production. Over upbeat horns and a marching drum, Game demonstrates his half-thought-out attempts at combining consciousness with gangsterism: “I just shot a video for it and spent half the budget/I’m Gangsta!/Let the 40 Cal go in public/More hatred inside my soul than Pac had for Deloris Tucker/” followed directly by “Every time one of my niggas get shot, the more I suffer/Cuz we trapped inside a world where you forced to die for your colors/” (Poor)

9) Put You On the Game (Produced by Timbaland)

This particular beat sounds very southern, very much like Tim’s usual. It’s a pretty nice beat. Game spits typical, by-now-boring shout out/car/gangstaness which is supposed to represent his life. (Poor)

10) Start From Scratch ft. Marsha of Floetry (Produced by Dr Dre & Scott Stortch)

The beat is less minimalist than the last Dre/Stortch cut, in fact it’s pretty good. Game spoke on his cut in an interview, the one where he comes into the studio drunk and spits; he never should have done that, since it completely destroys the beat and Marsha’s singing, what could have been The Game’s own Many Men. (Poor)

11) The Do*****entary (Produced by Jeff Bhasker)

It seems a more aggressive beat spurs Game on to spit more aggressively; his flow is better here, over an ever-changing beat several layers deep, a hard chord with electric guitar riffs and a high string–basically what Dre’s beats should still sound like. Through above-average verses, the chorus is the best part of the song: “I was Ready 2 Die without a Reasonable Doubt/Smoke Chronic and hit it Doggystyle Before I Go Out/Until they sign my Death Certificate, All Eyes On Me/I’m Still At It, Illmatic and that’s the Do*****entary/” Game’s whole album SHOULD sound like this. (Good)

12) Runnin ft. Tony Yayo (Produced by Hi-Tek)

Tek’s beats are usually good, and so is this one–more because of the crooning over the backdrop than the uniform drums and feverish string that make up the track itself. Game relies on his usual, the widely effected three-syllable rhyme style, once again. His lyrics are slightly more metaphorical, but it obviously takes effort not to start shouting out people or telling us what he drives (he does let us know what shoes he wears). Yayo drops a pretty bad verse, nothing really rhymes and he reuses the same words (with the same meaning) several times. (Decent)

13) No More Fun and Games (Produced by Just Blaze)

Ironically, the album’s most G-Funk-sounding beat comes from a New Jersey producer who routinely does tracks with New York and Philly artists…Blaze. It’s a good beat, though, a funk sample with a “crowd” that gives the song the atmosphere of a party, and makes Game’s lyrics secondary. (Good)

14) We Ain’t ft. Eminem (Produced by Eminem)

It’s not a great beat (as you can imagine) but it’s not a horrible beat, either (a step up for Shady). With Eminem on the track, Game can’t resist shouting him out about three times in the first verse; on the upside, he raps about releasing racial tension, but on the downside he probably only does it cuz he feels he has to. Em’s verse is one of the best I’ve heard him spit in a long time, both lyrically and flow-wise. Game’s second verse sounds ghostwritten, it’s in Em’s style. (Good)

15) Where I’m From ft. Nate Dogg (Produced by Focus)

The Aftermath staff producer does a good job with this one; nicely laid back, with Nate crooning the hook, it just sounds good. However, Game’s first verse is probably the biggest orgy of name, car and shoes-shouting on the entire CD. The rest of them are decent, but again just average. (Decent)

16) Special ft. Nate Dogg (Produced by Needlz)

Needlz is an unknown producer to me, but if this beat is anything to go by he’s got some skills. It’s a catchy, slightly warped chord over a shuffly snare with an upbeat kick. The beat and Nate’s hook overshadow Game’s rhymes; a good club track. (Good)

17) Don’t Worry ft. Mary J Blige (Produced by Dr Dre & Mike Elizondo)

This loungy backdrop suits Mary J’s vocals nicely, and the transformation when Game starts to rap is both seemless, though it becomes really simple. Game’s rhymes are decent, as a ladies song it’s not bad (better than Banks’ Smile) but that’s because of the beat and Mary J, not Game. (Decent)

18) Like Father, Like Son ft. Busta Rhymes (Produced by Buckwild)

The beat is nice, pretty emotional; Busta does a nice job on the chorus, unfortunately that’s all he does. Game has all three verses, and they’re not bad. (Good)

 

Average. Pretty much everything is average, disappointing for someone so hyped. His lyrics aren’t especially skilled, and consist mostly of telling us who he runs with, what he drives and what he’s wearing on his feet. While many of the beats are good, none of them (except maybe one) sound particularly West Coast, and there are NO west MCs on here whatsoever…I dunno how he can claim to bring the west back, when he doesn’t rep the west!

Overall Rating: 3/5 (Average)

My Recommendation: Download, keep the ones you like. Or get the instrumental CD.

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