The Documentary

Artist: The GameTitle: The DocumentaryRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Remmie Fresh

The rap climate is chocked full of hype these days, but no one has quite capitalized on it the way The Game has. The Compton-reared rapper has taken Hip-hop by storm courtesy of assorted beefs (Joe Budden, Memphis Bleek, Yukmouth and others), a powerful story and high-powered associates (Dr. Dre, Eminem, G-Unit and Interscope). But, when the hype dwindles, the album is all that remains and judging by The Documentary, The Game is more than ready to play ball.

After you zip past some of the heavy-handed songs already in heavy rotation, listeners should discover that Game has some serious introspection on his debut. On “Start From Scratch,” which features Marsha of Floetry, a drunken Game raps to himself with a slur and recollects the many mishaps in his life and others. Dungeon dragon Busta Rhymes chimes in on “Like Father, Like Son,” where Game sincerely chronicles the birth of his son. “They say sometime somebody dies, somebody’s child is born/ So I thank the n***a that gave his life for the birth of my son,” Game remembers. On “Hate It or Love It” 50 Cent shares in the tender, earnest moments when he summons childhood confusion over his mother’s lesbianism.

The Game is encouraged by the finest producers in rap to spit flames to support stellar production. The Documentary maybe the most expensive album in Hip-hop history with contributions from Just Blaze, Timbaland, Hi-Tek, Cool & Dre, Kanye West, Scott Storch, Havoc of Mobb Deep and a colorful assortment of contributors including Dr. Dre. It would be wrong to single out a particular track because, unlike other compilation-like albums, these songs join forces for the overall cohesion of The Documentary.

Lyrically, Game is no slouch either. While he’s no Kool G Rap, as he boasts on “Westside Story,” he does distinguish between an album and his many mixtape episodes. He doesn’t try too hard, a trap most young rapper fall into. “Higher” presents a typical rhyme, “Put 25’s on the hummer, why not, I’ma be here for the next 10 summers/

Drop me in the 4th quarter I’m f***in up they money/ I don’t need Soundscan I’m doin’ my own numbers.” Still, Dre’s protégé drops just enough gems to let listeners know that he’s thoroughly studied the works of Nas, Jay-Z, NWA, Biggie, Pac and other greats.

There are a few notable setbacks that prevent this from being a classic. First, the Stans will be upset that this reviewer feels that Eminem gave Game standard fare when he produced “We Ain’t” and the sub par song is punctuated with Game rhyming like Em. Obviously, it’s meant to be cute when Game quips, “Get Dre on the phone quick, Em just killed me on my own s**t.” Secondly, the obligatory chick song “Special” with Nate Dogg is simply cheesy (in stark contrast to “Don’t Worry,” which features Mary J. Blige). Finally, the greatest hindrance to The Documentary is Game’s ruthless, persistent and unrelenting namedropping, which goes on from beginning to the last drum fades. Perhaps, it’s simply his youthful exuberance and excitement bubbling over, but it’s excessive, to be nice about it.

All in all, Game represents a beautiful way to get the New Year jumping – with a hardcore banger. With all respect to the overt commercial efforts from rap’s juggernauts, Game is (wait for it)…what the game needs. He’s not perfect, but he’s an excellent way to change gears and to drive the industry away from all the pretty people and back into the hood. The gang’s all here and Game’s probably going to be banging on wax for years to come.

As a bonus to our readers, AllHipHop decided to compose an unofficial tally of the numerous namedrops on The Documentary.

Dr. Dre 35

50-Cent 17

G-Unit 10

Notorious B.I.G. 8

Eminem 8

Tupac 7

Compton 7

Eazy-E 5

Young Buck 4

Nate Dogg 4

Lloyd Banks 4

Snoop Dogg 4

Mary J. Blige 4

Mase 4

Jay-Z 3

Eve 3

Michael Jackson 3

Jam Master Jay 3

Martin Luther King, Jr 3

Nas 3

Left Eye 3

Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs 3

Aaliyah 3

Whitney Houston 2

Kanye West 2

Mya 2

Tony Yayo 2

Busta Rhymes 2

Just Blaze 2

Rakim 2

Shaq 2

Ms. Shakur 2

Ms. Wallace 1

Kool G Rap 1

Vivica A. Fox 1

Ronald Reagan 1

Huey Newton 1

Public Enemy 1

Flavor Flav 1

Whoo Kid 1

DJ Clue 1

Compton’s Most Wanted 1

Marvin Gaye 1

Vanessa Williams 1

Serena Williams 1

R. Kelly 1

Black Rob 1

N.W.A. 1

Loon 1

Ashanti 1

Tyra Banks 1

Master P 1

Alonzo Mourning 1

Havoc 1

Prodigy 1

Timbaland 1

Bobby Brown 1

Ed Lover 1

Monie Love 1

Shyne 1

Beyonce 1

Ice Cube 1

Xzibit 1

Mariah Carey 1

Suge Knight 1

Chris Rock 1

Souljah Slim 1

Randy Moss 1

Kevin Lowe 1

LeBron James 1

Yao Ming 1

Usher 1

Guerilla Black 1

Jimmy Iovine 1

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