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The Documentary

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Album Review

Once the Game surfaced as a force in hip-hop, a big deal was made of his dance with death. Apparently he was shot five times. If you're scoring at home, that's four times less than label mate and executive producer 50 Cent. After the altercation that nearly took his life, the Game took a crash course in hip-hop and studied up on the master MCs from both coasts. Within a year of rapping for the first time, Dr. Dre took notice and was compelled to offer an Aftermath contract. The Game is also from Compton, just like his mentor, so guess where the allegiances fall? An N.W.A medallion hangs from his neck, an N.W.A logo is inked across his chest, and an image of the late Eazy-E is on his right forearm. If none of this makes it clear enough, the Game name drops beloved heroes — including just about everyone ever connected to N.W.A, save for CPO — with great frequency. The stage name, coined by his mother while he was an athletic youngster, is entirely fitting: verses are constructed with album titles, label heads are mentioned as if scholarly attention is paid to the industry's inner workings. And yet, this is hardly another Guerilla Black, an MC lacking originality. The Game's scope is obviously much wider, and he's no mimic; though he's still finding his feet as a lyricist, isn't as distinct vocally as 50 or Lloyd Banks, and nearly allows the gimmicks to overwhelm the skills, The Documentary is an excellent debut that also hints at a lot of potential. Dr. Dre and an all-star cast of fellow producers are in top form, Just Blaze, Timbaland, Kanye West, and Hi-Tek included, and none of the features steal any thunder from the star. The most remarkable aspect of the Game is how he can be such a blatant product of gangsta rap (okay, let's say fanboy) and leave a mark so fast. But, as he says in "Dreams," "Anything is possible if 50 f*cked Vivica."

The Documentary, The Game
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