After a decade of seemingly hopeless anticipation, West Coast rapper, The Game has finally released his sequel album, “The Documentary 2.” The album arrived on Oct. 9, as part one of the two-disk album, totaling at 38 tracks. The album features a lineup of big-name artists like Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Future and more. The second installment, “The Documentary 2.5” will hit stores Oct. 16.
Fans of The Game have been patiently waiting for this after his debut album, “The Documentary,” was released in 2005. The record sold over five million copies worldwide and was the tenth-best selling album of 2005 in the U.S. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned hit singles, “How We Do” and the two-time Grammy nominated “Hate it or Love it.” Since then, The Game has been unpredictably inconsistent releasing albums that range from solid to downright awful.
The good news is the ten-year wait just may have been worth it since The Game demonstrates an obvious new sense of focus in “The Documentary 2.” His progress in lyrical capabilities is undeniable with his songs demonstrating an improved, crisper flow. The Game’s Compton, CA gang life has always been his source for musical inspiration, sharing his life experiences from his childhood. His story continues in “The Documentary 2” as the rapper returns to his Compton stomping grounds, but this time with a fresh approach.
The album cover itself shows The Game standing behind a fence with his name written on one side in red and the album name on the other side in blue. Just like the stories told in his songs, The Game’s album cover is a representation of the struggle to stay alive in a city where Crips and Bloods have been at war for decades.
In the album’s first track, “On Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar, the two emcees share their diverse war stories of growing up in the same perilous city. This meditative, free-flowing track brilliantly uses relaxed background vocals to balance out the song’s aggressive lyrics. In both “On Me” and “Don’t Trip” (featuring Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Will.I.Am) The Game travels through different decades of rap, sharing new, personal details of his past. “I hopped every backyard on my block/Till I got to Elm Street, took the rag out my sock/And I could have been a Crip, but I ain’t like blue that much/All Crip school, I ain’t really go to school that much,” he raps on “Don’t Trip.”
In “Dollar and a Dream”, “Made in America”, and “Just Another Day” The Game brings the tense city of Compton to life, making direct references to aspects of his upbringing. Both “Dollar and a Dream” and “Made in America” use impressive instrumentals, seamlessly combining the electric guitar with elegant piano playing. “Made in America” takes a break from the heavier beats and is enriched by Marcus Black’s lovely vocal segment in a song about regrets. “We all make mistakes/ Look what happened to me and 50,” The Game raps, referring to his fallout and ongoing beef with rapper, 50 Cent.
“Circles,” “Uncle (Skit),” and “Dedicated,” seem almost disconnected from the rest of the album, in terms of the subject matter. In these songs, The Game raps about relationships, likely stemming from his breakup with ex-fiancé, Tiffany Cambridge.
“B***h You Ain’t S**t” is one of the album’s most disappointing songs with the derogatory lyrics offering no redeeming qualities. “Everybody knows, everybody knows/ B***h you ain’t s**t/ b*****s ain’t s**t but h**s and s***s,” he oh-so eloquently raps. It is especially displeasing directly following the emotional depth of both “Dedicated” and “Circles.”
The album’s production varies widely from breezy, piano-driven “Summertime” to the old-school 90’s vibe of “Step Up” and “Standing on Ferraris.”
“100” featuring Drake is the album’s most mainstream, modern-sounding track and was one of the first singles released, quickly gaining popularity. Snoop Dogg, Will.I.Am and Fergie all come together in the albums impressive finale, “L.A.” The three artists join forces, combining grimy rap with moments of R&B, creating the perfect ending to such a diverse album.
By the arrival of “The Documentary 2,” it’s safe to say The Game has officially made a comeback. Despite some inevitable flaws, the album is still undeniably impressive. With tracks varying from classic West Coast rap to gritty soul, The Game clearly put his all into this album— and it showed.