Review Summary: I'll do anything - but I won't fuck Mariah/Even if she had Ashanti butt naked in bed
Cause she got a fo'head just like Tyra/I can say what the fuck I want
I talk about rappers a lot. When the conversation comes down to the “realest” (in the gangsta sense of the word), I think of all the rappers whose rhymes are blatant lies, which I suppose doesn’t reflect positively on the gangsta rap industry of modern America. But in the midst of all this doubting, I still have a hunch that at least one of these performers lives up to their word. The Game is a West-Coast rap artist from Compton, California, and his words exemplify that excellently. What does The Game have to do with gangsta rap? First of all there’s the hustler-style lyrics, the bass-heavy beats, and the supposed Blood Gang affiliation. When he first came out and was signed to Shady/Aftermath and G-Unit Records he was on top of the rap game, aptly named and enjoying a global level of popularity. His debut, “The Documentary”, was on the right path to platinum status. Producers like Eminem, Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, Kanye West, Timbaland, Cool & Dre, etcetera were all asked to do instrumentals for Game. The album came out in 2005, and by the next year, over five million units were moved around the world.
So we know that The Game is a popular, and privileged mainstream gangsta rap artist. How artistic is his art though? I mentioned before that I felt Game was a man of his word – I believe that not because I know him personally, but through his poetry I can feel the honesty. Whether he’s a great actor or a truthful poet, his music is gorgeous. With an ear for a beat, he flows over the harmonious instrumentation with a confident style – think abrupt like Tupac but at the same time, smooth like Nas. His lyrics are simply understood, but I believe he wants them to be that way. Game’s style of gangsta-rap is one that incorporates almost every spectrum of hip-hop: flossin’, smoking and drinking, cars, women, gangs, etc. And at the same time Game has meaningful words for his comrades, and biographical insight that reaches deep in his mind.
I gotta restore the feelin /It crawled from under the rock/After the dog pound/Crushed the buildings
I got a family to feed /Im the middle of 9 children/We can talk about a loan/After I sell 5 million
Most of the beats on this album have a funky, West-Coast feel (unsurprisingly) to them. The great thing about West-Coast beats: they usually do not rely on a bass so heavy it could crush your car, instead trying for a jazzy, soulful sound that sounds great bangin’ in the summer air out of a low-rider (doesn’t have to be a low-rider, even you can bump Game!). West-Coast beats are more musical than most other hip-hop styles, as opposed to grim, gritty Northeastern type instrumentals or the snap n’ roll crunk style of the South. Don’t get me wrong, every region in America and worldwide boast hardcore hip-hop producers. Though the West-Coast refined the genre after originating in New York (rep-ruh-zent). The producers on “The Documentary” aren’t all from the West-Coast, but they’ve managed to keep their ears in that area while designing this.
Game talks about his family, his life growing up in a gang-banging neighborhood, the nature of hip-hop and its current condition, love between gang members, the sweet, sweet Mary Jane, among other things. Game’s choice of subjects is one reason he was considered so above the rest of the industry at his time. His storytelling abilities are great, and while “The Documentary” only has two straightforward story tracks (Start From Scratch, a song about what Game would do if he could turn back time and Like Father Like Son, the story of the birth of his first son), he encapsulates the gangsta mentality without the clichés that usually restrict gangsta-rap to generic subjects like money, cars, clothes, hoes. And once again, he’s brutally honest. Some lines within “The Documentary” are plainly addressing somebody with something opinionated to say. Game sure knows how to make himself noticed.
The only real downside of "The Documentary" is that it isn't completely brilliant all the way through. By that I mean, there are a few boring tracks that don't live up to the intense hype The Game and his associates gave this album. I first listened to this album expecting something that would dominate fully, and foolishly so. Even though I do enjoy it, I can't listen to it as much as I'd like because it does get old quicker than most albums. Songs like "Church for Thugs", "Westside Story" and "Don't Need Your Love" are either carbon copies of other songs on the album or are ruined for me because of 50 Cent's feature. I love 50 Cent for his past accomplishments but by the time "The Documentary" came out, he was a dime a dozen.
Highlights on “The Documentary” include ‘Don’t Worry’, ‘Start From Scratch’, ‘Dreams’, ‘Runnin’, ‘Hate It Or Love It’, and ‘Put You On The Game’. Truthfully, the entire album is worth a listen, and while certain tracks aren’t as gripping as others, the theme of the album is represented perfectly on every song. This album is consistent and never loses track of itself, and successfully raised the bar for modern-mainstream hip-hop music to a level that has rarely been achieved since 2005, the birth of the hip-hop career of The Game. “The Documentary” is an honest, confident, and beautifully crafted biography of a man with well-earned fame. Recommended to anyone.
Running through the maternity ward, out of breath, sweating
I swear to God every minute's starting to feel like a second
I seen Hell staring down the barrel of a Smith & Wesson
My son's ultrasound the closest I ever been to Heaven
Lord forgive me for my sins, I know it's last minute
Put the chronic in the air, a little hash in it
Spread my wings, If only I could fly
Why fight to live homie?, If we only living to die