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#4 The Game


Lyrics 8

"I had dreams of fuckin a R&B bitch like Mya, when I saw that ass on the front of that King." First things first I really think you journalists don’t like Game because he doesn’t go to your cocktail parties, as if he’s not a great MC if he doesn’t go on your podcast. Either way this isn’t his greatest skill set, yet all the same The Game is no slouch when it comes to bars. I’d venture to say the quality of his lyrics is enhanced the more he’s engaged with the project, and that commitment inevitably varies as active as he stays year in and year out. While ‘name drops’ have been a detriment to his style in the past, he’s seemed to have found a balance to make them sound less gratuitous, and on albums Jesus Piece and The Documentary 2.5 his lyrical prowess is better than most. Whether it’s his records or features with different artists, The Game makes an impact on every track he records on, and at this point in his career it seems like he’s only getting better.

Delivery 10

“I must be Klay with the .38, Thompson with the Thompson, everything about me Compton, I mean, everything about me Bompton” And his delivery is easily his best quality. Known as a rap chameleon The Game can sound like anyone on a track, hence why they call him The Game. It’s unclear how he effortlessly alters his voice and flow to synchronize with the artist he’s collaborating with, yet it’s indeed one of the singular characteristics that makes him stand out as such a rare talent, whereas his Nas and his Biggie flows are two of his best. Not at all to be overshadowed by his own flow however; a blend of street talk and word play that actually sounds believable making him even more of a rarity. Ultimately a street MC with a slick delivery is a dangerous combination, and The Game embodies that in every way.

Content/Meaning 10

"Palm sweaty on the back of the chrome that's my adrenaline, so we purge Sandusky, purge Zimmerman, purge every motherfucker raping women and, purge ***** killing kids, back to back in 2 vans." The Game raps mostly about where he’s from, the West Coast lifestyle and the thin line he walks between life and death; a result of the gang life that permeates throughout his city. For lack of a better term ‘gangsta rap’ was never better than when it was done by NWA followed by Death Row, and The Game feels like an extension of both those eras all the while maintaining his relevance for today. No matter the formula he’s found himself on dynamite records for the last 12 years, with club anthems and authentic portrayals of the street that showcase his versatility. He even has heartfelt records about his family which makes him that much more multidimensional.

Structure/Songwriting 9

"What your crazy ass shooting in the house for? (what your dumbass screwing in the house for? And what time you get home anyway?) shit about four, (and that's why the fuck you sleeping on the couch for) I don't give a fuck, thug life, I'm an outlaw, and the next bitch ain't nothin but a house call." As far as songs go Game has plenty, from way back on his first few albums to his last release that was the best album of 2015 (with a double disc full of classic songs), Game can teach a lot of these other MCs how to write good music. And while it's true that at times it can feel like he's rapping about gang affiliations without any rhyme or reason, The Game is also able to illustrate the pitfalls of such a lifestyle, and even speaks to the irony of how the same colors doesn’t always mean what they represent. On the aforementioned Jesus Piece and Documentary 2 & 2.5 The Game shows depth to his music unfound in his contemporaries, and ultimately solidifies himself as a significant artist to the evolution of the genre.

Self Made 9

"Used to see Five-O throw the crack by the bench, now I'm fuckin with 5-0 it's all starting to make sense." The Game came up under Dr. Dre and 50 cent, but he’s maintained himself as a permanent fixture in the game without them, and as a name relies on nobody but himself to stay hot. His music however involves some of the best producers in the game, accompanied by a wide range of features as is the case on some of his best albums, yet no matter the competition The Game holds his own next to anyone.

Image/Branding 10

"Used to sell crack in them city streets, born in blood *****, in a coma five days, life of a thug ******, momma ain't show, grandma almost pulled the plug ******, used to pull the gun out, just because of Cuz ******, five shots to the head, cause I'm a Blood *****." has matured over the years to “I done had real ****** try to kill me, fake ***** in my crew, Crip ***** more loyal then a few of my Piru.” Nonetheless The Game was Compton on the national stage before YG and Kendrick, and has repped it since he’s arrived on the scene in 05. With that being said his thoughts on gang mentality has evolved throughout the years, and on The Documentary 2 & 2.5 he demonstrated boldness by doing his part to bridge the gap between the Bloods and the Crips, even going as far as to name each respective disc the red album and the blue album. More recently The Game aligned with Snoop to take his efforts further, leading a march in Compton that promoted peace in spite of the longstanding war that many believed could never end. At any rate for a man of his stature to try to make a positive change in his community is honorable to say the least, and he’s deserving of more recognition for what he’s done already.

Sales 8

"Sitting here looking at my Platinum plaques, thinking what the fuck am I without a Dr. Dre track." The Game has put up marginal numbers in recent times, considering he hasn’t gone gold since 2008, and it’s almost a decade out since he went double platinum in 2005. It’s my estimation that if sold together The Documentary 2 & 2.5 would have performed better on the charts, yet this is a classic case of sometimes sales not symbolizing the album’s full value. It should be noted that while YG has been the more celebrated artist of the two more recently, his last album has also been a commercial flop (although it’s also really good) thus making it clear that Kendrick right now is the only one really selling albums out the West.

Ability to Rock an Instrumental at a Radio Station 9

"Slip and fall in pussy that's just the life, 10,000 a month on child support that shit suffice, chump change to a ***** who got it, jump lanes with your boo in Bugattis, and your boo in Bugattis, I'm from an era where if you don't have it then you cock your pistol and ran up on a ***** who got it, you don't want to see 10 Impalas pull up on Broadway, chrome to your chin while you're doing pull ups on Broadway, Hurricane, Meek, Puff, Game 3 the hard way, 30 million dollar crib, mile long hallways, all the way up, no I'm all the way down, serving you clowns i won't stop, won't stop now..." That's his recent radio look yet otherwise while 300 Bars and Running wasn’t spit on radio it's also emblematic of what he can do to an instrumental. The Game can tear up an instrumental anywhere, any place, any time, that is if he feels inclined to. Emphasis on this category stressing the ability for such a moment, as he's also been known to recycle and sometimes he simply doesn’t give a fuck. Nonetheless The Game never runs from a challenge and can rap circles around artists 10 years his junior, proven in verses where his bars and his cadence is simply relentless.

Ability to Fuck Up a Rewind Button 10

“I don’t fuck with no new ******, they like to sue, no su woo ******, Tyga hit me like “Durk dissing” Dirk Nowitzki? Dirk who ******?” It’s mostly his flow that makes you press rewind, but regardless of the reason he definitely has the skill set to make you run that back. Clever lyrics with his aggressive delivery makes him a threat on any given record, and when he’s on point he’s as polished as anybody on this list.

Longevity 10

“I’m already turnt up, chronic still burnt up, fuck outta here, with all that lean and popping pills shit” The Game is who he is and he’s maintained relevance doing him for over a decade. Many men would have fallen without the crutch of a 50 Cent and a Dr. Dre, but The Game keeps pushing and in 2016 he’s actually more relevant than both. Otherwise why he’s always quick to collaborate and make good music with his peers, he stops short of riding waves that isn’t his own, staying true to himself even if he borrows a flow or two along the way.

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