Review Summary: "Raised in a City of Angels, where safe and danger switch lanes so stranger drive slow"
Mainstream is mainstream, there are always limits. Even so, in the early days of rap hardcore MCs lived up to their names and claims and that's all that was heard of on the scene: real artists. When rap blew up, the hip-hop lifestyle skyrocketed into the world's view and it was received rather well, giving artists like Ice-T, Coolio, Public Enemy, and Big Daddy Kane leeway to express all the trials and tribulations experienced in the hood they grew up in and how they want to change it all. Obviously this has altered drastically since, and sadly, keeping it real has become a novelty phrase for elitist backpackers to make fun of a part of hip-hop culture that forgot about why it blew up in the first place. Needless to say it's refreshing when an artist like Game comes around and sets things straight, even for a little while. L.A.X.
is a throwback and a reformation in the same record, impressive for someone as singular in the past as Game was. The songs feature inspired lyrics and soothing beats that remain true to his West Coast style, but simultaneously are angrier and disputatious compared to Doctor's Advocate
and The Documentary
. It's not difficult to sense a new spark in Game's enthusiasm in such gorgeous moments as the opening of 'L.A.X. Files' or Chrisette Michele's singing on 'Let Us Live'; the production on L.A.X.
deserves any recognition it gets.
boasts a varied recipe. Game's vocabulary and wordplay abilities have never been and still aren't too awesome, however his delivery is fueled by substance and credibility that makes itself heard through the vibe the album strongly represents. Game is organized now; imagery is the torque he uses for his expression. When I say substance and credibility, I'm talking about rawness:
Second floor my hotel im rollin up bout to blaze
And zone out to this Frankie Beverly and Mayes
As our days about to pass and them days in the past
He set my mind free so my mind free at last
So much that I don’t even drink from a f**kin glass
Id rather find the first fountain I can and do it fast
Didn’t understand a dream of a king now do the math
Coincidentally on your birthdays I ditched the class
Cuz the younger me, dumber me was chasin the cash
Chasin the ass, low life with his face in the grass
Ridin home from school in front of the bus
Not even thinking bout how Rosa Parks done it for us
How she stayed behind bars and she done it for us
And she stayed behind bars till she won it for us
Sometimes I wanna give up or at least take a break
That’s when I close my eyes and see Coretta Scott's face
The way Game infuses his words thoughtfully like life with his mind struggles, friends, and foes is a beautiful thing to listen to. You don't need to have a boggling delivery if your words are sincere enough to bring a tear to someones face who can relate to your ideas.
Game's beats on his previous albums were loud enough to get your attention but not necessarily to keep it. I've agreed with people in the past who said Game was a boring rapper with too much potential to get his head around. Most of the time they weren't questioning Game's realness and integrity, they were tired of his dried out West Coast recycled beats. On L.A.X.
the music and the vocals are spot on, and as always Game knows when and where to deliver a line. The beats feel fuller with his voice over them, as if he had designed them himself while he was writing lyrics. While West Coast rap has declined in popularity since the 90s, and Game doesn't know how to do anything else, the awesome striking power of his beats are reminiscent of the golden age of California rap music. Dr. Dre being one of mainstream rap's greatest achievers in the production department has a distinct effect on people he works with and they never sound the same as before, no matter how long ago that collaboration even occurred.
The Game's L.A.X.
is one of the best summer albums of this decade. This rapper foiled the influence of bubble-gum rap and empty lyrics, staying familiar and stable in his music. The songs on this album maintain a booming anthem style, one which can be inspiring and energetic when partnered with a vocalist that truly rips. Hardcore in the mainstream is a needle in a haystack, and Game is sharp.