The R.E.D. Album
05:00PM ET September 15th, 2011
Contributor: DeAndre Rozan
A Rocky Williform Company
A lot of people don't like Game, and it's easy to see why. The West Coast rap superstar has become more famous for antagonizing and petty feuding throughout his career than he has for the music he's made. This is particularly frustrating considering the fact that Game has quietly been a fairly consistent artist since his 2005 debut. On his latest project, the long-delayed R.E.D. Album, the Compton emcee proves that he's quite capable of churning out remarkable--even inspired--work despite his soap opera shenanigans.
Or more accurately--maybe he made compelling music this time around because of the soap opera shenanigans.
On The R.E.D. Album, Game takes potshots at everyone from Lil B to Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All--two relatively-new additions to the canon of West Coast hip hop. Yet his threats seem more like playful disses than his truly vitriolic exchanges with 50 Cent and G-Unit several years ago. But despite the barbs at the youngsters, Game is still die-hard is celebration of all things West; with "Drug Test," a brilliant showcase that features Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, serving as the album's greatest Left Coast anthem. Truck-rattler "Speakers On Blast" (an apt title if ever there was one) features Big Boi and another West Coast legend, Bay Area godfather E-40.
"California Dream" might be the album's most obviously creative track. On it, Game raps about watching childbirth in a style that recalls Lil Wayne's brilliant 2008 track "Dr. Carter. " and features actually audio recordings of Game's child being born. The Chris Brown-assisted "Pot O' Gold" is an easy ploy for the radio, but it's forgivable, since the it never feels explicitly contrived.
The album is a stirring listen, from start to finish--with the only real misfire being, ironically, Dr. Dre's ongoing narration. Game's relationship with the good Doctor has been under a lot of scrutiny as of late and this feels like a slightly-forced attempt to reiterate that the two still have a strong relationship. Nonetheless, with an album as good as this, no one will care much about the personal relationships of the parties involved.
Love Game or hate him--and there are certainly enough people that fit into the latter category--it has to be acknowledged that he is arguably the one rapper in his twenties still providing hardcore West Coast 'gangsta' rap for the masses. As the Cali scene becomes dominated by oddball curiosities, shock rappers and pop stars, it's kind of refreshing to still have a guy like Game around.
Who would've ever guessed that?