The Game’s 1992 album was officially released this week, and by all accounts it’s one of the most complete albums to come out this year. Unlike it’s predecessor The Documentary 2 & 2.5 which had about 35 tracks altogether (which hit about 100% from the field - not one bad song on there - a masterpiece that was completely overlooked and undocumented by hip-hop media across the board), this record only has 13 tracks yet it’s definitely good for the vibe… A West Coast Compton vibe of course… and only it’s dedication to the 90’s is what distinguishes it from a wide variety of other albums devoted to the same topic. [See here for an article I wrote about the effects of Californication in Hip Hop and our confusing obsession with the city of Compton). Yet what makes Game so unique, is that unlike the likes of Kendrick and YG who are critically acclaimed and widely celebrated throughout the media, The Game gets no kind of love from those circles, indicating that he clearly has no friends in the music business, perhaps knowing that means very little when you consistently put out quality music.
Although completely two different artists, the only emcee next to J Cole that needs more respect on his name is none other than The Game, as even with their undeniable qualities you’d be hard pressed to find a favorable review of their work anywhere on the internet… it’s a conundrum to say the least… but if it’s true that ultimately the music always wins… then that should explain while both of them are nothing short of dominant in their respective subgenres of the sport - in spite of getting very little recognition for it.
Thus without further ado it should be noted that the album art above is designed by Darryl “Joe Cool” Daniel, (the same artist who created the legendary album art for Snoop Doggy Dogg’s ‘Doggystyle’ released in ‘93), and below is a track by track review to see if The Game was able to capture that same classic sound of that legendary era.
Savage Lifestyle -
“Asians fronting like they business is black owned, far from stupid, we coming in the stores tripping, running in swap meets for they Jordans and they Pippins, crowbars, bats, anything that break glass, they fucked Rodney King up and now it's they ass” The introduction to 1992 starts out with an audio recording of a news report depicting the Los Angeles riots, in which the reporter likens the city to a scene out of Desert Storm. The vibe of the track produced by The Chemists Create and Bongo the Drum GAHD is intense and Game’s lyrics perfectly define the time period, and it’s basically a movie with lots of violence and high drama - actually a good reflection of what we see all over the United States of America today. In fact that’s the best way to think about The Game as an artist, as he’s basically an actor who puts out blockbuster material every year and I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s good music with a show, get your popcorn and all that, and honestly if you love Hip Hop I don't see how you're not gonna be tuned in.
True Colors/It’s On ft Osbe Chill -
“Then one night my pops came home off heroin, shit changed, I'm glad my mama didn't marry him” Speaking of movies, this one samples the 1988 film Colors which stars Ice T and Sean Penn as cops trying to end gang violence in Los Angeles. Therefore from a cinematic point of view this one is cool, and even though it doesn’t 'fuck up your rewind button' it does compliment the overall storyline well. The second part of the song is a verse from Osbe Chill, who off first listen gives me that Nipsey feel. A decent record and a strong album cut all around.
“Six in the morning police at my door” An ode to another Ice T classic ‘6 in the Mornin’ along with a sample from D.O.C.’s It’s Funky Enough produced by Dr. Dre, this one also relatively lacks ‘fuck up your rewind button’ replay value, but it’s still a nice chapter to an album dedicated to it’s story. Not mad at this at all.
Fuck Orange Juice -
“And don't go out like OJ, beat a murder, went to jail for some football cards, I can't go out like OJ” This is where the album starts to heat up and this is where it gets lit 🔥. Produced by Terrace Martin with a sample of Grandmaster Flash’s 'The Message' this is a short concept record and it works. At the same time this is once again strictly for the overall vibe and nostalgic factor, and otherwise by Track 4 The Game still hadn’t flexed to his overall capacity on this album, even though one could likely guess that the moment was right around the corner.
The Juice ft Lorine Chai -
“I was 23 when I had my first kid, and his mama told him when he came out, (you got the juice now baby)” Here it is... this is straight 🔥🔥🔥…. the production from The Chemists Create is absolutely 🔥🔥🔥 and that’s what makes this arguably the hottest record on the new album. The Game basically floats on this and speaks on some real issues but from beginning to end it’s this fire instrumental that will definitely leave you wanting more.
Young ***** ft Lorine Chai -
“Whopped my ***** ass, he ain't take it on the chin, rumor started to spread, guess I see em when I see em” Around the midway point of the album The Game decides to slow the tempo down for a minute, and gets into his storytellin mode where he details a fallout with his childhood friend, who was more like a brother before they were separated by rival gangs. The track starts off with a sample audio clip from the film South Central, and is reminscent of records like 'From Adam' and 'Gang Related' from the masterful yet overlooked Documentary 2.5.
The Soundtrack -
“The soundtrack to the ghetto was the chronic” Not to be confused by another Game record with the same title that ironically features Meek Mill, this one has a crazy smooth vibe that has Game reminiscing about that California lifestyle with the hydraulics on the Impalas and all that… a record that you’d be sure to expect on an album like this and for good measure The Game once again delivers.
I Grew Up On WuTang -
“I grew up on Wu-Tang, dope had my shoe game Liu Kang, Jordan 12's sick as hell, Michael Jordan flu game” <<< along with that heat The Game weaves in and out of Wu Tang schemes and name flips underneath the C.R.E.A.M. sample produced by Bongo the Drum GAHD (who is all over this album with great success), and this one is straight Hip Hop and a breath of fresh air for anyone who still loves the classic formula of dope beats and dope rhymes.
However Do You Want It -
“You got business in LA? I dead your shit, shut video shoots down, turn airplanes around” A halfway party record halfway gangsta record that has a mellow vibe with a Soul II Soul 'Back To Life' sample… not mad at this but not one of the strongest records on here either… nonetheless a good album cut all the same.
Baby You -
“You begged me to get on that show, I ain't want it but you did, I’m a real ***** I did it for you, you don’t see Swizz and Alicia, Kim K and Kanye arguing all the time that’s just you” This one is smoooooooooooth - and the quote apparently references a reality show on VH1 I never heard of, yet regardless along with a strong feature from Jason Derulo of all people - this is one of the best feel good radio hip hop records to come out this year.
What Your Life Like -
“What your life like? mine's bout listening to Illmatic, in my grandmother's attic tryna spit above average” and "He was just as Ill as Will so I know how Nas feel, ***** I'm the greatest, 300 Bars was like 15 minutes long, tell me how many times you played it, how many times you had your Documentary stolen and replaced it? that's that 5 million out the gate shit" This is where Game puts himself in a different echelon… and where it’s all the more perplexing that he’s ultimately so widespread disliked around the genre… either way while this one isn’t necessarily reminiscent of Beanie Sigel’s ‘What Your Life’s Like’ records, it does capture that same feel to a degree, while any influence would be worth noting considering the recent back and forth between the two artists on behalf of Meek Mill (Sidenote: The Game won that battle hands down, and right now he looks like the most dangerous artist to beef with in Hip Hop period, so let’s once again put some respect on his name for that). This one has fire production from Phonix Beats and without a doubt should be considered the stand out record on the project.
92 Bars -
"Sigel would've loved it, Philly would've fucked with it, California State Property you ***** stuck with it, brrrring, sold Peedi Crakk, Game was on the block in his Beanie with a Mac, I'm what you rap ***** 'fraid of, a Compton ***** that could go bar for bar with Jada" This is HIP HOP! forget what you heard... it's promo... he got an album coming out this ain't for real tho... fuck all that... this is dope bars over a fireeeee instrumental - remember that classic combination? remember when rappers used to rap? Yet that's become so rare today I can't help but notice that most of the critics ain't feeling this 😢😢😢 ahh The Game hurts feelings... and these critics are extra soft... not cut from the same cloth i guess... but if you can't feel this don't claim Hip Hop... all the same this is not for the partynextdoor... meaning there were no dresses worn during this recording... and this won't make you want to pop xanys or sip lean... but if you want that classic sound back... press play and enjoy
All Eyez ft Jeremih -
“You want me to say your name, huh?, Karrueche!” <<< crazy how he test Chris Brown like that lmao… either way this is a strong radio record that was released early in the summer and wasn’t supposed to make the album, then his management convinced him to throw it on there last minute… yet while it ultimately doesn’t go with the theme of the album at all, it does serve it’s purpose as a standalone record that definitely is good for the clubs, pool parties, etc. so I can’t be all that mad at the shameless play for radio spins.
Overall this is a very well done album that likely is just one step below the Documentary 2.5 & Jesus Piece yet also on par if not better than the majority of his projects throughout his very successful 10+ year career. In that time Game says he sold over 20 million albums and I believe him, yet even while it’s not likely he’ll do major numbers with this release (neither The Documentary 2 & 2.5 sold 100k in the first week) that still doesn’t take away from the undeniable quality and consistency that Game has put forth in recent years - where one could easily say that a decade in and he’s actually now the best that he’s ever been. He still name drops a lil too much, but honestly that was noted in ‘05 and you’re a cornball if that’s all you take away from his music. The bottom line is The Game is the complete package of incredible production, decent bars, and unparalleled showmanship - and if you can’t respect that as a fan of hip-hop then you probably need to get off the internet.