The Dope Game (Mixtape)

Artist: Mick BoogieTitle: The Dope Game (Mixtape)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

The most talked about artist you haven’t really heard, that much, is The Game. There is Untold Story, older material that JT The Bigga Figga has released. But, most of The Game’s interest is reflected from his G-Unit, Shady and Aftermath cohorts, rather than Bay area fans. Cleveland’s Mick Boogie has joined the fold with a The Game hosted mixtape, The Dope Game, of many of his more recent tracks, exclusives, guest spots, and previews to the album. If ever there was a needed appetizer, The Game requires it.

Most of The Game’s early work is promotion for his crew. You simplye cannot get a verse from The Game without name-dropping. Perhaps, rightfully so. “Higher,” has a hook crooning, “I Can Take You Higher,” but The Game only rhymes about Dre, 50, and G-Unit, and how he’s in the mix. Then there’s other moments like, “Confessions,” where The Game reveals more about himself in a way that makes the song much more interesting. Still, there are a few too many “I know” lines trying to gain credibility and brag. “Dre said, Dre said, Dre said,” raises the question if The Game is either a raw talent, or a gang affiliated mouthpiece for his older, more street-removed mentor.

Still, when The Game presents himself properly, he makes for a very interesting artist. “State Your Name,” which is a condensed rendition of the Ruff Ryders, Snoop, and Scarface collaboration, pairs the Compton rapper with Lil’ Flip along with throwback sports references and hard, simple verses. Here, Game is an able MC doing what few left-side MC’s have done since King Tee and WC, operate on a fundamental, punchline-driven style accessible to Hip-Hop fans everywhere. The record that made T Game worth checking for, “Westside Story,” is featured in the mix in its original form. Amidst the others, the track rises to the top, but maybe a little too high considering our expectations. “Let Them Know,” while it tries to capture a DMX hook without D, is magic based on its verses. It’s been a while since a fresh rapper could bring interesting verses, even if the chorus is wack. While the track points shots at the New York-centric status quo of the industry, The Game also sticks it to Kurupt with, “Compton too corrupt, so I roll with a Dillinger.” If a beef blossoms (do they ever not with The Game?), this here is the jump-off. Needless to say, everybody wants to know what Game will speak on next. To finish out the mix, DJ Mick Boogie also previews new artists, including Balance, who comes correct with North Cali legend, EA-Ski. These are the trimmings not found on your average mix.

If you’re hungry for The Game, stay hungry. This mix satisfies the palette lightly, but offers more than most other mixes out there. Unlike Kweli though, The Game has allowed himself plenty of room to outdo his hype. Gems like “Compton 4 Life,” which pairs the rookie artist with the veteran MC Eiht are efforts too simple to make the projected final album, but worth strong recognition. There are a handful of stolen moments like these, and if The Game blows to his anticipation, you’ll want this as a reference point.