“I’m here today because Dr. Dre gave me a chance to be somebody,” said The Game when he took the mic at his listening party in Santa Monica. “Who’s Game? It’s me… I’m here, I’m naked, I’m real as shit, I’m rich, I got my album.”
An hour earlier, Game had pulled up to The Thom Thom Club for the first industry listening of his forthcoming L.A.X. album in a midnight Bentley with a crimson logo and matching rims. Through the grandeur of an uber-exclusive list at a door surrounded by secret-service-like security, Game’s entrance was lined with a touch of welcome humility from behind the wheel of his whip. He wasn’t just some Hollywood goods being carted around, Maybach-style.
The air in the club was kinetic with artists and industry stiffs milling about with drinks, and pressing each other, “So, where are you going after this?” With BET Award weekend in full swing, the early portion of the night was a palpable networking web.
Then Game took the stage, and the room fell silent.
“I’m here today because Dr. Dre gave me a chance to be somebody,” he addressed the crowd. “And 50â€¦ I appreciate homie. We had our beef, but we both alive. We ain’t no Biggie and Pac.”
Game talked about his early days in the studio with Dre and what it felt like to earn his first $1-million, adding he wished that euphoria was lasting. Now, with two wildly successful albums under his belt in The Documentary and Doctor’s Advocate, Game is preparing for a summer release of L.A.X.
“I don’t care if you don’t like [the album,]” he said. “I spent every day in 2008 working on it. Super Bowl, Finalsâ€¦ I was in the studio.”
With that warning, the DJ launched the record with a rough DMX intro entwined with mournful keys and heavy bass â€“ a throwback heater indicative of what was to come. The next cut, “State Of Emergency,” was tempered-steel synth, featuring Ice Cube on a reminiscent hook “Fuck the 5-0/ They wanna see you D-O-A/ in L.A.” and Game spitting on swap meets, white tees, palm trees, crack heads, Tec-9s and jheri curls. With further tracks titled ” California Sunshine” and “Red Magic” and production from the likes of Jelly Roll, this album is firmly rooted in the West.
Game seemed to deviate from his habit of dropping more names in his lyrics than “the,” “and,” or “it,” but saturated most every song with guest appearances beyond necessity. Along with DMX and Cube, Bilal croons his guts out, Luda assists on a Southern gem, and Weezy appears twice â€“ once with a verse, once with his Auto-tuner. And that’s just at the top of the album.
The chief reason all the featured artists felt like overkill was because Game raps on this record like his life depends on it. He’s spitting so hard he doesn’t need all the extras and, indeed, they seem to weaken him in their lack of continuity.
Of course, it’s hard to judge an album on one spin in a crowded lounge, but L.A.X. appeared to be thick with screw-face magma, yet in danger of riding a single note. One thing is clear though â€“ Game is staying completely true to himself, both as an artist and as a man.
“I always try and keep it 100 â€“ I’m not like these other rappers,” he said. “Other people go to the BET Awards, I watch the BET Awards. I’m from Compton. I been shot. I taught my sons to walkâ€¦ the only thing that matters to me are my sons, my momma, my girl and my PS3.”
L.A.X. will be releasing on 8.26.08.
Visit The Game’s page on imeem, http://wwwimeem.com/tattoothegame, where he invites fans to design his next tattoo inspired by the album’s title.