“How could I not sell a million when I’m rappin’ on Dre hits?” G-Unit’s latest addition and Dr. Dre protégé The Game raps on the Eminem-produced “We Ain’t” – and, in so many words, he’s right.
With names like Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, Timbaland, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Eminem, and DJ Hi-Tek providing the bump-in-the-trunk for Game’s debut solo album The Documentary, his introduction into the hip-hop world is not exactly a B-list effort from the hopeful G-Unit rookie.
Rather, Game, the self-proclaimed savior of West Coast music, delivers the addictive sticky-icky Documentary that pits Game’s intrusive and sometimes witty lyrics against the backdrop of hydraulic-boosting production with more low-riding bounce to the ounce than anything from the West since Dre’s Chronic 2001.
“Since the West Coast fell off, the streets been watchin’, The West Coast never fell off, I was sleep in Compton,” Game emits over the hard piano strokes of Dre and Storch on “Westside Story.” No doubt through his now trademark tight-faced scowl, Game righteously introduces himself to the masses pitted at the forefront of the West Coast’s revitalization.
“Dreams,” the sample-laden creation of producer Kanye West, sees Game boasting of everything from surviving 5 gun shots and a coma to having fantasies about R&B beauty Mya, all while maintaining a charisma that turns the sleep-induced track from a surefire K. West single to a certified West Coast Game classic.
50 Cent joins Game on the envy-hating “Hate It or Love It,” where the latter cleverly proclaims, “Used to see 5-0 throw the crack by the bench, Now I’m f----n’ with 5-0, it’s all starting to make sense.” And the pair reunites again on the album’s lead single, “How We Do,” with the help of a simple keyboard production from Dre and 50 Cent’s show-stealing “I put Lamborghini doors on my Escalade” declaration.
For much of Documentary, however, despite the Dre productions, the 50 Cent & Co. guest spots, and the name-dropping tendencies of The Game, Game’s innate ability to grab the microphone and have his words stand out carry the disc with remarkable ease for the first-timer.
From his wobbly drunken-ramblings on the regretful memories of “Start From Scratch” to “Like Father, Like Son,” the hip-hop lullaby dedicated to his young son, Game creates a range of emotions throughout Documentary that stick to the track runnin’ with a brutal honesty missing elsewhere - not just from the West Coast but from hip-hop in general.
The admitted member of the Bloods gang (which Game deals with with an eerie sense of contentment and peace throughout Documentary) is not afraid to Crip-walk his way through the Timbaland-produced “Put You On The Game,” not afraid to list his heroes as everyone from the West Coast’s N.W.A. to the East’s Jay-Z and Biggie on “The Documentary,” and not even afraid to admit when he’s outshined by Eminem’s verse on “We Ain’t.”
Classic or not, The Documentary does something that few other hip-hop superstars or even legends can lay claim to. It takes the unfailing production efforts of Dre, Storch, West, etc. and leaves The Game’s personal touch stamped all over them, rather than the other way around.
“I take all the credit for bringing the West back,” Game spits on the title track from The Documentary. And hate it or love it, The Game is winning that argument.