Review Summary: It’s not a game. It’s just called a game. There will be no referees, no half time reports. When the game is over, the game is over. You can’t put a quarter in the machine and get three more men. THAT’S the end!Doctor’s Advocate
was the 21st century west-coast classic that Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid b.A.A.d. CD
is made out to be. When you think ‘West Coast Rap Music’ what comes to mind? I think about some kind of scene with me rolling down LA in my Impala by the beach on a nice 85 degree day smoking a blunt, back in highschool when life was simple... What doesn’t come to mind is some little guy with a nasally voice screaming MARTIN HAD a DREAM! – MY DICK GET BIG AS THE EIFEL TOWER!
Look back just six years ago and you will find the elephant in the room: The Game, Kendrick’s cleverer, more-meaningful, prototype that Interscope Records locked in the attic. Whereas GKMC
sounds like it was written by the head of Interscope: Jimmy Iovine, (as do many songs from games 1st, 4th and 5th album’s with Interscope Records) The Doctor’s Advocate
has a candidness where Game doesn’t try to be something he’s not, IE an enlightened poet who is better than you because he grew up in a bad neighborhood. He doesn’t constantly mention Compton as a ‘right of passage’, he only mentions typical gangsta *** to set the music’s atmosphere and rep his home town.
I gotta lotta dead homiez, some blood, some crip, this is LIFE. Stop watchin’ that Boyz in the Hood ***. You see this red rag hangin’ out of my jeans? I been to 20 funerals by the age of 19… then I went to college, basketball was my dream! Quit the team. Cus’ I’d rather shoot rock with the fiends.
You can tell that The Game was incredibly motivated for every single
rhyme on this album: he had just been dropped from G-Unit and had his idol Dr. Dre cut ties with him. He was out to prove he could make better music than his rival 50 cent, without any
help Dr. Dre. This had the unexpected result of Game actually far surpassing Dr. Dre in lyrical talent. He gained free reign to discuss what mattered most to him, instead of making music for what people wanted to hear like he did on The Documentary
. Most people judging mainstream rap have their heads so far up their ass, that when Game pays homage to the rappers who gave him his opportunity with crafty metaphors, people who fail to understand the wordplay references call it ‘name dropping’…:
“Why Andrew Jackson look high as *** on the 20? G ANSWER: Cocaine been around for centuries. Since I’m young, black and rich, i’m the Public Enemy. Ridin’ the bass drum, Just Blaze got the Remedy.”
The beats/production are on par with the brilliant lyricism and come together to make this a near-classic album. The beats are pretty typical west coast 90’s style (lots of bass lots of high keys), only they obviously use the better-quality technology of the 21st century. This has the effect of an atmosphere of a flashback to Compton in the 90’s and hangs over throughout the entire album. The first song on the album “lookin’ at you” introduces this album as being a perfect album for nostalgia and smoking weed. All the beats have a jazzy essence to them that is kept upbeat by the bass that is key in almost every song. There is a perfect sampling of Junior Reed on “One Blood” that you will either hate or love. “Compton” shows Will.I.Am as a producing genius, sampling an old disco song called “Gangster Boogie” to make one of the funkiest beats ever heard. The Game almost called this song “Straight Outta Compton” because it perfectly represents the feel of the song, but he decided he didn’t want to replicate the name of NWA’s famous album. Scott Storch provides an impressive and catchy club beat on the song “Let’s Ride”. Hi-Tek then comes up with what is probably the simplest, yet best, beat on the album, with the lackadaisical drunken-stupor atmosphere of “Ol’English”. I once heard someone on this website say listening to that song makes you not feel bad about drinking by yourself, and that is exactly how I would put it.
The downside is “All Around the World” stands out like a sore thumb; it sounds like a bad version of Lupe Fiasco’s song “Paris Tokyo”. Many would say Game bites his style and lyrics from many of the west coast greats, but he really does blend many styles all into an original product that is never just imitation. He is, admittedly, influenced by many of the same topics heard throughout 90’s westcoast rap, but on this album he brings a new intelligence and candor to rap that hasn’t really been seen in the mainstream since 2pac. Kendrick never surpassed The Game in anything but record sales. That’s nice, but not when it takes selling your soul to Jimmy Iovine to make a CD with that MLK/Eifel tower line and this gem: “what am I supposed to do? When the blinking of red and blue, flash from the top of your roof, and your dog has to say woof!”. Look at what happens when you repay people with loyalty in the mainstream rap industry: you go Game’s route. If he was just willing to diss one of his favorite childhood artists, Nas, he could have stayed in on the big marketing scam of G-Unit and been filthy rich. He took a different route starting with this CD. When the game is over, the game is over.