The Game – The Documentary 2

The Game - The Documentary 2When The Game’s Aftermath debut The Documentary came out it was one of the most anticipated albums to come out at the time. A lot of things happened since then. The Game is still an anticipated artists but he’s had falling outs with 50 Cent/G-Unit and fights with various rappers. What I remember most from The Documentary was that the beats was dope (Dre did a few) and The Game namedropped more than any rapper has ever done before. That album, just like the sequel, had a lot of big name features. For The Documentary 2, Game is reunited with Dre, Scott Storch and Just Blaze which is a very good sign.

  1. Intro
  2. On Me feat. Kendrick Lamar
    Kendrick Lamar has stepped into the rap game with a new style of hiphop. This style has influenced a lot of artists and songs. Even Dr Dre has adopted it on the Straight Outta Compton soundtrack. Here, Game takes a shot at it and he almost sounds like Kendrick when he spit. As an old school cat I was skeptical at first but I have to say that the style itself grew on me. This track has a tight beat without alot of instruments added to it, but it works and I can definitely feel it.
  3. Step Up feat. Dej Loaf & Sha Sha
    The Game’s trying to go all Nas on this track. With a New York inspired beat he talks about honor among thieves and the rap game. It’s been done before, but I’ll stop the hating there.
  4. Don’t Trip feat. Ice Cube, Dr Dre & Will.I.Am
    An other hot producer at the moment (or more like the past couple of years) is Will.I.Am. The beat’s once again a little naked, which I guess is hot right now, but it’s got more of a Will.I.Am touch. Cube and Dre are reunited once again but this time it’s no monster hit. Nice filler, but I would have loved to hear Game, Cube and Dre on a classic Dr Dre(TM) beat…
  5. Standing On Ferrais feat. Diddy
    The Game and Diddy… I guess Game do want him singing, dancing in his videos and so on… Anyway. A jazz inspired beat with Game spitting some real nice verses and Diddy making sounds in the background and talking in the outro. This is a filler with a guest star.
  6. Dollar And A Dream feat. AB Soul
    Dollar And A Dream is an other soulistic track. The Game sounds more and more like Nas voice wise, but lyrically he’s still the same Game with one exeption; he’s not dropping names every other bar. AB Soul and Game reflects over what has happened since The Documentary. It’s a pretty nice track.
  7. Made In America feat. Mvrcus Blvck
    Made In America is like a continuation of Dollar And A Dream. The track even starts off with the line “Dollar and a dream”. The Game again refers to Nas whom seems to be his new favorite rapper nowdays. The track is soulistic and nice to listen to, but I’m missing a club banger this far on the album.
  8. Hashtag feat. Jelly Roll
    As a reviewer on I admittedly like the 90’s style of hiphop and Jelly Roll is the 90’s west coast version of Lil’ Jon. Beat wise this track starts off kind of naked and builds, just like a Lil Jon production…
  9. Circles feat. Q-Tip, Eric Bellinger & Sha Sha
    On Circles, The Game is really displaying that he has evolved as a rapper. From namedropping one-liners and battle rap he can now do stories and conversations on tracks. The slow jam stylish beat changes after half of the track when the guest rappers go on and the track is all in all a really tight track.
  10. Uncle Skit
  11. Dedicated feat. Future & Sonyae
    An other slow jam shows that this album is really different from the first Documentary album. Dedicated is mellow and I can see this being played in the background at restaurants or at coffee shops in Amsterdam. I need to try that next time I’m in Amsterdam…
  12. Bitch You Ain’t Shit
    Game really sounds like Nas on this track. His voice changed up a little bit from the first Documentary. In fact, The Game’s early JT stuff sounds more like this. I guess he evolved as a rapper which is not wrong. And besides, I love Nas as a rapper. You could think that Bitch You Ain’t Shit would be a raw diss track a la N.W.A, but it’s actually a mellow diss to bitches in general. Not too bad, but not what I expected.
  13. Summertime feat. Jelly Roll
    Game is making elevator music now. Is this really Jelly Roll on the track? Dude sounds nothing like on Hashtag.
  14. Mula feat. Kanya West
    The Game and Kanye West seems to be on eachothers albums all the time. I bet Kanya would take credit for Game’s success if asked about it too. I was never a big Kanya fan but I admit he’s a dope producer. In the words of Ice Cube, he should “stock to producing” in my opinion. Either way, this is an other mellow track that is not really standing out. It’s kind of short too, since the last minutes is an outro.
  15. The Documentary 2
    The title track is the only up-tempo track on the album, with production that sounds like a mix between Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre. The output is really tight and I would say this is the best track of the album. This should be a single.
  16. New York, New York
    New York, New York is not a sequel to Doggpound’s track with the same name. It’s more of a reflection on police brutality and racism in society. At the end of the track, Game dedicates the song to Stephanie Moseley who was murdered in a murder-suicide case where Earl Hayes was the shooter. Game was signed to Aftermath at the same time as Earl Hayes and offer his condolences to her family and expresses that he never saw it coming.
  17. 100 feat. Drake
    100 is the first single off the album and while it is no club banger it’s a good representative track over hiphop today. The “New West” sound and Drake. It can’t be more 2015 than that. I guess Drake and Game will attract attention, but I’m not really feeling that this is a single that will take the album to the next level.
  18. Just Another Day
    On Just Another Day, The Game reflects on how he was signed to Aftermath and what’s been happening since then. He remembers specific days in his life and reminisce over Eazy E, Nate Dogg and other fallen soldiers from the history of the rap game.
  19. LA feat. Snoop Dogg, Will.I.Am & Fergie
    Just like the title implies, the track is a tribute to Los Angeles. The production is similar to the soft soulistic stuff that we’ve previously heard on the album but here there is a more pop-oriented hook and the drums is a little harder than before. It’s a nice little track, but I’m not impressed. As on any other platinum artists album, Snoop makes a guest appearance. The Game enters the track late and makes it a little rawer with a few bars about Compton and gangs of L.A.

When reviewing a sequel album like The Documentary 2, it’s impossible not to compare it to the original. All in all, this album is much more mellow and soulistic than the first album. While The Documentary had Dr. Dre trademarked bangers, The Documentary 2 has adopted the new style of west coast hiphop that we can hear on Kendrick Lamars albums, Dre’s Straight Outta Compton and so on. As a reviewer on I am more into the 90’s sound so it’s a little disappointment for me personally, but I get it. I get the greatness of the new sound and I get that hiphop is evolving, or recycling an old sound with new influences. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should check this album out. If you do know what I’m talking about and you like it, you should check this album out. If you are looking for a Documentary, Chronic 2001 or Get Rich or Die Trying type of album, this is not the album for you.

I rate this album 3 out of 5. It’s a nice album but I doubt I’ll remember it in 10 years. Best track is the title track and other than that I can imagine playing this album in the background of a house party or something like that.

Mac Minister – The Minister of Defense

Mac Minister - The Minister of DefenseSome rappers get by on charisma; Mac Minister is a perfect example of that. More game-spitter than actual emcee, he preaches a street level gospel that rallies against snitchin’, endorses hustlin’ and takes shots at fellow Baydestrian E-40.

Mac Minister won’t be brought up in discussions on quality emcees but if you dug his interludes on other artists’ records, odds are you’ll appreciate Minister of Defense.

It’s very much a regional thing, with guest appearances by Little Bruce, Too $hort, Mac Dre and Rappin’ 4-Tay. Preach!

Young Black Teenagers – Dead Enz Kidz Doin’ Lifetime Bidz

Young Black Teenagers - Dead Enz Kidz Doin’ Lifetime BidzTheir group name and the title to their sophomore album might have been suspect but don’t let appearances fool you, the Young Black Teenagers were a solid, credible rap act and Dead Enz Kidz contained some vintage early nineties hardcore hip-hop fueled by jazzy breaks, deft scratching and shouted gang choruses.

The production is top-notch throughout, courtesy of the Bomb Squad and Grandmaster Flash. Lyrically there aren’t many quotables to be found but the energy, chemistry between the group members and tongue twisting flows compensate the lack of intricate wordplay and rhyme schemes.

If the goal is to get the party started than Dead Enz Kidz will definitely do the job. You needn’t look any further than ‘Tap the Bottle’ to achieve that feat. Check it out.

RA the Rugged Man – Legends Never Die

RA the Rugged Man - Legends Never DieRA the Rugged Man’s skill as an emcee is without question, so is his status as an underground legend. Label drama kept him from claiming the emcee-crown in New York’s competitive underground scene. His unreleased but bootlegged debut Night of the Bloody Ape, work with Rawkus records, show stealing guest appearances and Die, Rugged Man, Die album made sure he was always a perennial contender.

Legends Never Die pulls it all together for RA. It’s a purist’s classic that emphasizes the hip-hop’s fundamentals: rhymes, flow, beats and even some beatboxing. Legends is mostly good times and jokes, braggadocious and tough but it’s when RA gets personal and opens about his late father the record that the album and the lyricist truly show their depth. Check the crackle in his voice when he utters the words “I love you, daddy” on ‘Daddy’s Halo’ and tell me that’s not genuine emotion.

With a guest list full of underground favorites and a dedicated focus on those things that make rap music the coolest thing since Billy Dee Williams, Legends is a must-have album. It’s an all-time classic and a testament that the industry can’t keep a good emcee down.

Dr. Octagon – Dr. Octagonecologyst

Dr. Octagon - Dr. OctagonecologystDruggy hallucinogenic extraterrestrial pornography on wax. Dr. Octagonecologyst reshaped hip-hop and opened the doors for the alternative rap explosion in the mid-nineties.

Alienating fetishist rap wasn’t new to Kool Keith but in Dan the Automator and DJ Q-Bert he found two co-conspirators that were able to bring his warped vision to full fruition, providing him with the most complimentary instrumental backing since Critical Beatdown. The album is a group effort through and through, a creepy sonic world where X-rated samples, seemingly freeform wordplay and dynamic cuts and scratches take center stage. It’s ER meets Arkham Asylum, David Lynch and Rob Black collaborating on a new series, familiar and unheard. It’s a stone cold classic and one of the greatest rap records ever made.

Geto Boys – Till Death do us part

Geto Boys - Till Death do us partA great Geto Boys album in all regards, maybe even in contention for the title of best overall GB’s album, Till Death’s only drawback lies in the absence of original member and trash talker extraordinaire Willie D. His replacement, Big Mike, isn’t fazed and swings for the fences throughout the album, upping the lyrical ante along the way.

From behind the boards, producer NO Joe gives the Fifth Ward posse a more fully developed sound to work with. Deep southern funk and soul runs through Till Death. Since the rhymes and beats are on equal footing this time round, the Geto Boys sound less exploitative than before. Don’t let first impressions fool you; there is still ample room for the expected serial killer scenarios and sexual perversions. Only this time they’re matched by a unified sound and more accomplished musicality.

Most will prefer the raw shock-rap of Grip it! On that other level or We can’t be stopped since those records present the Houston squad in their most brash and abrasive form. Till Death do us part was a logical progression from that template and heavily influenced future southern greats like UGK and Eightball & MJG.

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich – Dust to Dust

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich - Dust to DustUnjustly relegated to a mere footnote in the story that is the rise and fall of 3rd Bass, Pete Nice & Daddy Rich’s Dust to Dust was actually a forebearer of things to come. The album was laced with early productions by the legendary Beatnuts and sported guest appearances from Kurious and Cage, the latter actually making his debut on ‘Rich,bring ‘em back’.

The album filters the blunted hip-hop of Cypress Hill’s self-titled debut through a New York aesthetic, matching booming basslines with plenty of vocal samples and superb turntable wizardry by DJ Daddy Rich, the often overlooked 3rd Bass member who shines throughout Dust to Dust.

It’s a damn shame Pete & Rich called it quits after this one, a record that’s all killer and no filler. If murky, grimy beats and true swagger on the mic are your thing, get with the Prime Minister & Daddy Rich.

RiFF RaFF – Birth of an Icon – 5.6/10

RiFF RaFF - Birth of an IconThere are two different sides to RiFF RaFF aka. Jody Highroller.  On the one hand the former G’s to Gents contestant is that guy sporting MTV, BET and Bart Simpson tattoos, along with a jewelry selection that could make Ghostface shake his head in disbelief, whose look inspired James Franco’s character in the movie Spring Breakers and is part of a rap collective called Three Loco, along with comedians Andy Milonakis and Simon Rex.  On the flipside he’s well connected, able to count on producers Harry Fraud, Dame Grease and Diplo amongst his beat suppliers and having collaborated with respected rappers like Action Bronson, Meyhem Lauren, A$AP Rocky and Earl Sweatshirt.  Somewhere in his past there’s also an alleged affiliation with Swishahouse head honcho OG Ron C.

It’s tough to tell if he’s a new version of Ali G that the world hasn’t quite caught on to yet or if he really means it, maaan.

Either way, he does have an undeniable work ethic, having shot and released an insane amount of videos accompanying his prolific musical output.  Those videos are a big part of the hype RiFF RaFF has been able to generate.  They’re hilarious parodies (intentional or not) of southern rap subculture, memorable for their outlandishness and overall weirdness.

The problem is that once you disconnect the music from the visuals, a lot of entertainment value is lost in the process.  That’s a feeling you can’t quite shake when listening to the Birth of an Icon mixtape, which serves as the perfect introduction to the Jody Highroller universe.  At the same time the music does hold up better than you’d expect considering RiFF RaFF works better as a comedic character than as a mere recording artist.  Dude isn’t a lyrical marvel by any stretch of the imagination but when paired with the right talent behind the boards the results are satisfying enough to warrant a listen away from your computer screen.  The beats and hooks are catchy, in that deliberately candy coated sunshine kind of way, and you can always count on Highroller for some ridiculous one-liners to be delivered in earnestness.  There are plenty of them throughout the 25 tracks that make up this tape.  Some prime examples include: “ice on my fingers/looks like I slapboxed a penguin” (Deion Sandals) or “Shook dice with Larry Bird down in Barcelona!” (Larry Bird).  The undeniable odd couple vibe transmitting from the collabo with Chief Keef might actually be sufficient motivation to check out this record.


It’s tough to tell what the future will hold for RiFF RaFF, it could go both ways.  At his worst he’s a continuation of LMFAO’s brand of grating party-rap.  At his best he’s a guy with an ear for a cool beat that will get stuck in your head for days on end, never trying to overshadow his more skilled cohorts on a track.  The route taken will probably depend on whether or not he manages to keep working with respected producers and emcees who are grounded firmly in rap’s vibrant underground scene or if some major label decides to seriously cash in on his pop potential and pairs him with a supporting cast that completely disconnects him his hop-hop roots.  If that happens you’ll be glad to revisit his current output so you might as well enjoy it now.

Big Daddy Kane – Prince of Darkness – 8.7/10

Big Daddy Kane - Prince of DarknessDepending on which rap congregation you belong to the order might vary but in the often discussed, rarely agreed upon, topic of which emcee is the best to ever rock the mic there is an undisputed holy trinity everyone worships: Rakim, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane.  A strong case can be made for bestowing the title of ‘GOAT’ upon Kane.  Consider the evidence: several classic albums and songs to his name, an unparalleled flow by which all others shall be judged, the originator and master of the punchline simile and a live reputation that has held up throughout the decades.

Kane was the superstar on a label, Cold Chillin’ Records, packed with future legends like Masta Ace, Biz Markie and MC Shan (don’t forget the Kool Genius of Rap was also creating his seminal masterpieces with DJ Polo at Cold Chillin’).  His first two albums, Long Live the Kane and It’s a Big Daddy Thing, were giant leaps in hip-hop evolution but when Taste of Chocolate came out in 1990 cracks seemed to appear in what until that point had appeared to be an invincible armor.  First there was the Barry White duet, All of me, a corny love ballad that had nothing going for it other than the fact that Kane had enough pull and respect to procure the presence of the original overweight lover on his album.  Secondly there was the lackluster dance jam Keep ‘em on the Floor, an anemic pop-rap number that shouldn’t have made the album.  For a rapper who seemed to be untouchable those two missteps were enough to raise questions on whether or not King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal was slipping.

That kind of talk would only increase with Kane’s follow-up record, Prince of Darkness, unjustly dismissed at the time as a sell-out record.  Kane’s production was heavily influenced by Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing (The lover in you and Groove with it for instance) and a lot of time was spent wooing the ladies (the title track and T.L.C.).  Doing so by complimenting the fairer sex instead of labeling them bitches and hoes has always been somewhat of a rap faux pas and gave a lot of folks the idea that Kane had gone soft.  It also didn’t help that smack dab in the middle of the album rested I’m not ashamed, another stretched out spoken word love balled but this time with no Barry White in sight.

Prince of Darkness does have it’s moments through, enough to actually suggest that it might just be Kane’s most underrated album.  Perhaps even one of the most underrated records of the nineties.  As radio friendly has some of the production might have been, there were an ample amount of tracks that showed that BDK was still a beast on the microphone very few could hang with.  He absolutely murders Git Bizzy, Death Sentence and Float, flows the hell out of Ooh, Aah, Nah-Nah-Nah (a track much doper than it’s title would suggest) and Get Down, and gives naysayers the finger on Troubled Man.  On top of that the record also features one of rap’s greatest posse cuts, Come On Down, where Q-Tip and a Dungeon Dragon-era Busta Rhymes join in on the proceedings, and the smooth trade-off between Kane and his brother Little Daddy Shane as they go back and forth on Brother, Brother.

Prince of Darkness was ahead of it’s time, a couple of years later rappers like Biggie Smalls and Big Punisher would make their mark following the formula Kane presented on his fourth album, mixing radio-friendly tracks with cuts designed for the streets and blurring the line between the two.   For Kane it spelled the end of his hip-hop supremacy though.  On 1993’s Looks like a job for…he would return completely to his tried and tested battle rap aesthetic, appearing on the cover in a hoodie instead of a three-piece suit, but unable to reconnect with his audience.

For anyone who can appreciate skill, the album is definitely worth seeking out.  It might be flawed but it’s strengths outweigh it’s weaknesses and it’s just begging to be rediscovered.

Mistah Fab – I Found My Backpack 3

Mistah Fab - I Found My Backpack 3

West Coast rapper Mistah FAB used to be signed to Mac Dre’s label Thizz Entertainment and Atlantic Records.. Apparently he is also known as a good freestyle rapper.

I discovered Mistah FAB in 2007 when he released “The Baydestrian” which to me was a very good album. That album showed a Mistah FAB that mixed meaningful deep tracks with crunk party songs. After that I kind of slept on Mistah FAB and didn’t check any new releases, but when I saw that “I found my backpack 3″ had been released I thought I’d check it out.

There are a lot of rappers with meaningful rhymes, and there are a lot of rappers that can make good music and make it sound good. But there aren’t a lot of rappers that can spit meaningful rhymes and making sound good while doing so. Mistah FAB is one of a few that can do this and is also able to mix depressing messages with party tracks and get away with it.

“I Found My Backpack 3″ starts up with a track produced by Warren G, titled “Dreams”. I’m really feeling the beat and Mistah FAB has really taken advantage of it, making a really tight track and a strong starting point for the album.

When writing this review, I was going to write more about the tracks that sticks out in a positive way, but listening to this album it’s becoming really hard… It would be easier to point out tracks that stick out in a negative aspect. I really think that “I Found My Backpack 3″ has a lot of bangers and I really think Mistah FAB has a lot of relevant topics covered here.

Even though Mistah FABs lyrics may not focus on the gangsta part of gangsta rap as much as many other West Coast rappers, he is (to me) representative for the new bay area scene and one of the top West Coast rappers as of now. FAB is bringing a new dimension to the West Coast scene and even single song on the album has got a meaning and a message, which is a pretty rare concept these days. I advise anyone to check this album out. You’ll not regret it!

Recommended tracks: Generation Lost, Back To Tha Front, We All Know Her, This Ain’t Listenin, Who U Gon Turn To? and This is what’s cool?