The Game, “Doctor’s Advocate”

The Game is no stranger to anticipation. His 2005 freshman effort, The Documentary, was preluded by the priceless cosigns of L.A. legend Dr. Dre and then-gangsta rap renaissance man 50 Cent, and beef with the likes of Joe Budden, Yukmouth and Memphis Bleek. A crew of A-List producers and Game’s East Coast flow, West Coast sensibilities and name-dropping knowledge pushed the disc to multi-platinum sales and near-classic status, cementing the Compton MC as one of the best new blood (no pun intended) in rap.

The buzz leading up to his new album is even bigger. A lot has happened since his first run: Game has been publicly and unceremoniously (and, some may say unjustifiably) ousted from G-Unit, essentially disowned by Dr. Dre, and dropped from Aftermath to be shipped to Interscope’s middle child Geffen. And, just like he did last year, Game sifts through all the bullshit (albeit a couple of unnecessary 50 Cent diss tracks circulating the Net to lead into it) to make his new album one of the best rap albums of the year and reestablish himself as a force to be reckoned with.

What makes Doctor’s Advocate live up to the hype:

  • Hunger: Game avoids the sophomore slump by remaining just as hungry and motivated as he was on his debut. His situations with “Interscope” Jackson and Dr. Dre may have been a blessing in disguise: the absence of their cushion disallowed him to get comfortable, and that lack of complacency is apparent throughout the entire album. The Game is fine on his own, and he wants you to know it: he spits every verse like it’s his last, holds his own alongside Nas on the epic Just Blaze-laced “Why You Hate The Game,” and offers a healthy mixture of shit-talking, story-telling and light-hearted sap.
  • Californication: While The Documentary was rife with references to LA culture, Game’s East Coast rhyme style made a lot of listeners disregard his claims as the West Coast’s golden child. This time around, Game brings along West Coast legends to verify his status. “California Vacation” serves as a new Cali anthem with its left-side knock and guest appearances from Snoop and Xzibit, while “Bang”thrives off of a beat by historic West Coast producer Jelly Roll (from Snoop Dogg’s Tha Last Meal and Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$, among others) and cameos from Kurupt and Daz.
  • Another all-star production cast: Once again, Game calls on the industry’s best to contribute exceptional backdrops to his raspy rhymes. Kanye West, Just Blaze, Hi-Tek and Scott Storch come back for encore appearances: Kanye produces and guest-rapping on the video vixen call-out “Wouldn’t Get Far” and Hi-Tek contributes another daunting beat for Game to tell dark narratives on “Ol English,” while Blaze and Storch each drop a pair of gems. But Game brings aboard some new collaborators as well: Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am (one of the top five producers in hip-hop right now; deal with it) combines crisp percussion with dramatic chords on “Compton,” relatively-new A-list beat maestro Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem (keep an eye on XXLMAG.COM for my feature interview with him) brings two offerings of his own, and Swizz Beats comes from the woodworks to bring his trademark plodding keys and hardhitting snares to “Scream On ‘Em.” Rumor has it that Dre actually co-produced several tracks, but that his alleged absence from Doctor’s Advocate was used as a marketing ploy – which is believable, since some of these beats sound like they’re straight from the Doctor himself. But either way, Dre isn’t missed (writer’s note: in my opinion, he wouldn’t have been missed in the first place; on The Documentary, his beats seemed to be weaker out of the beats by the album’s crop of other producers).

With Doctor’s Advocate, The Game has proven himself as an able MC that doesn’t need Dre, 50, or the Aftermath machine to make dope music; the only question is if fans feel the same way. Fuck an over-extended G-Unit beef, ugly basketball shoes, and subpar acting skills: when it comes to rap, Jayceon Taylor knows what he’s doing.

P.S.: I know it’s been over two weeks since I’ve blogged, and my apologies. Things have been pretty hectic on my end, but I’ll continue to make updates as much as I can.

  • BennyBlanco

    Very true, I think its the hunger that he has that makes this album so impressive. He could have easily come up with something sub par, but I think he’s used all the drama to produce a very very good album + his mic skills have improved a lot.

  • Michael J. Ganheart

    I was very skeptical about how this album would sound without the guidance of Fiddy or Dre, but I was pleasantly surprised! I like the fact that “Doctor’s Advocate” actually SOUNDS like a West Coast album. “The Documentary” was a little too East Coasty for my taste. I’m also glad that he didn’t clutter this album with pointless G-Unit, Ras Kass, Yukmouth, etc disses because I was expecting to hear “G-Unot” ad libs on every song! No sophomore jinx for The Game!

    Michael J. Ganheart

  • Graham

    I first read this post before I actually heard the album and I have to say i was really skeptical. but, after a few days of listens, you are completely right. this record is probably better than the documentary … it’s like he’s even hungrier now without dre and he’s actually rapping about something now instead of just his record collection (although the namedrops ar still there but just less so). i think i even like the swizz beats track which is strange because i hate swizz.

  • obifromsouthlondon

    ^is that benny blanco from the bronx? lol

    No doubt. Been catching tunes off the album and boy did The Game come widdit. The production is really tight and he’s proving to be a lyrical beast on the mic. Heard some tune on the radio this morning and got souled on it. Yup, definitely one for the CD changer (eff ipods and DRMs)

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