Written by Drew Ricketts
The Game is one of the most polarizing figures in Hip-Hop.
Much like his arch nemesis, he’s one of those artists who fans either cheer loudly for or root against at an equal level. Prior to and since the release of his debut album The Documentary, The Game has spent the past few years in the public eye, where his every move & his music have been chronicled, criticized or lauded.
And fans find it difficult to know which version of Jayceon Taylor will appear on the screen or through the speakers. Just recently, he was on BET saying his past was behind him, but turned right around to rejoin himself with that same past. Depending on which side of the bleachers you’re seated, The Game can be perceived as a timebomb, ready to detonate at any time, provoked or unprovoked. Or one might consider him to be one of the most earnest artists out. He’s neither afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve nor to offend, nor is he seeking to endear. He wants only to be true to himself at any given moment in time.
With L.A.X. soon to arrive, TSS Crew’s Drew Ricketts had a chance to speak with the complex emcee to spend a few minutes looking at the pieces of a man.
Graphics By P.
TSS: What’s up? I don’t have much time so I’ll get straight to it: You were recently quoted in a Village Voice article about the Hip-Hop cops talking about their unfairness to you and you made the song and video “911 Is A Joke (Cop Killa).” Are you mounting a campaign against police brutality among black youths?
The Game: Well, the song is called “911 Is A Joke” not “Cop Killa” but I think since it says that in the hook, and in the video people on the internet and blogs thought that was the name. Did you see the for that?
TSS: Yea, I did see it.
The Game: It’s called “911 Is A Joke.” That was just me voicing my opinion and my rage about the acquittal of those officers. And just doing my thing for Sean Bell. It wasn’t, like, no act against nothing. I ain’t trying to make nobody kill cops or do nothing disrespectful or stupid. That was just my voice. I have a voice that needed to be heard about that situation, and I did that song the same day as [they] got the verdict and, um, that’s just what I did. I went in.
TSS: I wanted to also ask you, with someone like Crooked I doing a year’s worth of freestyles, and you coming from the tradition of doing mixtapes (“300 Bars” etc.) do you feel like these last couple of years have put pressure on the artist to put out more music at a faster rate?
The Game: Uh, I never even thought about that until you said it. I probably need some time to analyze that and get back to you. I believe that people put out music at their own pace. Some people need to put out more. Some people need to put out less ’cause they’re more potent. I think that artists that put out a lot of music are probably people that’s stressing to be heard and the other ones — you can look at the flipside — the other people putting out music all the time are ones the people love to hear like Lil’ Wayne. You hear a lot of Lil’ Wayne these days and people love it. Then you hear a lot of artists that are stretching their careers out, trying to find something that works for the people. It kind of goes both ways, you know?
TSS: Yeah, and as far as coming from that background, what do you feel is your line? How do you strike that balance between putting out too much and not being known enough by the public?
The Game: Me, I don’t never get into that. I just do what I feel like doing. If I feel like putting a song out, or putting a mixtape out I just do it. I never get into all that. When you start getting into all the specifics about how much music to put out or how much not to put out you take away from your talents and what you’re really here to do, which is to just do music freely man.
Just create music. Have fun. Be about substance and real lyricism, if you’re a Hip-Hop artist. If you a rapper, then make the songs about the club, the bitches and the jewelry. Just do your thing. It doesn’t take that much with me. I just make music because I love doing it. I don’t really put that much thought into how much music I’m unloading or how much not or did I do enough on the mixtapes this year…I don’t get into all that. That takes away from the creativity.
TSS: I understand that. That’s good. I also wanted to ask you: you’re known in your songs for shouting out Hip-Hop, shouting out Hip-Hop artists, naming people who have been significant. And then there’s also people in Hip-Hop who think it’s really bad to bite. You have to stay away from that “biting” label. How do you explain to people that what you’re doing is not biting?
The Game: I mean paying homage ain’t biting. What am I biting? I think that, first of all, people — whoever said that statement or whoever thinks like that — got it misconstrued. [They] need to get back on point with their mind because paying homage ain’t biting. Biting is reciting somebody else’s rhymes.
TSS: When you think about Black music in that tradition…is that what you’re trying to shout out in a sense?
The Game: I’m just– Like I said, man, before man…it’s no real, um, it’s no real definition behind anything that I do. I freestyle my life. Man, I don’t really have no plan. I just wake up, brush my teeth, and do what I feel like doing. I think that’s why fans gravitate towards me more than other artists and love me. I’m just real man. And it’s always gon’ be real. I just do what I wanna do. Nobody can tell me what to do with my ideas. My thoughts are not influenced by no second or third party. This all Game, man. Like, I don’t think about shit like the other artists do. Everybody pays too much attention to how, and why and ‘what should I…’ I don’t give a fuck about that. I just do what I wanna do. It’s my life and your life is your life. And we should just do what we wanna do, long as it ain’t rendering us all the way helpless or putting us under the fucking ground. We good.
TSS: Who came up with the idea for that song to do with Keyshia Cole because it’s definitely getting a lot of love and, I understand that it’s on the top of many countdowns. Who came up with that?
The Game: Um…probably the guy that owns the song. Nobody comes up with my ideas man. Anything that has my name attached to it, that belongs to me is something that is an idea that I came up with. The only person that used to come up with ideas was Dre and 50, and that was on The Documentary, and I haven’t seen those guys in fucking four or five years. So everything now is straight up Game Production; it’s Black WallStreet stamped and that’s — that’s what I do. I do me.
TSS: I also wanted to ask you, what do you think about loyalty in Hip-Hop?
The Game: Depends on who we’re talking about…and what should we be loyal to?
TSS: Do you think you should be loyal to people on your label and your business interests or to your personal friends?
The Game: You don’t owe loyalty to nobody except Hip-Hop in itself. Be loyal to Hip-Hop. Be loyal to your family, your kids, your parents and…that’s just it. You don’t owe these Hip-Hop niggas nothin’. Gotta be loyal to who? You don’t meet these niggas until you become a Hip-Hop artist so be loyal to these — I don’t know them. I don’t know about all that. I love the artists that I love. I love the music that I love. Being loyal…I’m pretty sure that your question stems from the break-up of G-Unit or something like that…
(Publicist breaks in)
Publicist: Yeah, that’s good we can go to the next question.
TSS: Yea, that’s all the questions I had. I don’t really have anything other than that. I’d look forward to asking him more in the future but I’m glad we could keep it brief.
The Game: Um yeah, and to answer your question as quick as possible… fuck loyalty!
The Game: Cool.
The Game’s new album L.A.X. will be in stores 7.22.08.
Video — The Game – “911 Is A Joke”
Previously Posted — TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With The Game