Review: The Game – Born 2 Rap

Jayceon Terrell Taylor, better known as rapper “The Game” has released what he has claimed is his final studio album.  During his early career, Game became well known as a rapper on the West Coast Hip Hop scene and for signing to the Aftermath label under the direction of Dr. Dre.

Born and raised in Compton, California, Game grew up in a family he describes as “dysfunctional.” Both of his parents were involved in gang activity and both were members of the infamous “Crips” gang which infiltrated the Compton area at that time.

A rising artist in the 2000s, Game was a driving force in bringing back the West Coast hip hop scene into the mainstream and giving stiff competition to his East Coast counterparts. After the release of his 2004 independent album, “Untold Story,” he was signed to Aftermath by Dr. Dre His follow-up album, “Doctor’s Advocate” went double Platinum in March of 2005.

Game’s latest effort,“Born 2 Rap” has been criticized for its length.  One critic used the term “exhaustive” because it includes 25 tracks.  But the way I see it, if this truly is his last studio album, I would imagine that upon recording it, he probably thought of all the things he wanted to express through his music that perhaps he hadn’t before and saw this as a last opportunity.  Therefore, in my opinion, the length of the CD is perfectly understandable. 

The list of the tracks are as follows:

  1. City of Sin
  2. No Smoke
  3. Five Hundred Dollar Candles
  4. The Light
  5. Carmen Electra
  6. Dead Homies
  7. Gold Daytonas
  8. West Side
  9. 40 Ounce Love
  10. Gucci Flip-Flops
  11. Born 2 Rap
  12. Welcome Home
  13. Help Me (Interlude)
  14. I Didn’t Wanna Write This Song
  15. The Code
  16. Stay Down
  17. Hug the Block
  18. Ask for Me
  19. Stainless
  20. Gangstas Make the Girls Go Wild 
  21. Blood Thicker Than Water
  22. Rewind II
  23. One Life
  24. Cross on Jesus Back
  25. Roadside

I’ve selected 4 of the most outstanding of the 25 tracks.  The haunting “I Didn’t Want to Write This Song,” resonated with me.  It is a musical eulogy to the late Nipsy Hussle. The poignant vocals of Marsha Ambrosius are featured interspersed with Game’s rap.  Marsha plays the role of a mother lamenting about the loss of her son, telling him how much he was loved and how he will be missed. 
I wonder if you’re really listenin’ to what I feel right now?

(This L.A. shit)
I wonder
I’m hopin’ give the peace that’ll make ’em really care right now
(Throw them dubs up)
(One time for our nig)
But you’re gone and it just isn’t fair right now, right now
(We got the world lit)
On God, the work is never done
(We love you, Nip)
How could they die young? Used to be my son
Even when it waivers, the pain I feel is numb
Know that you were loved, yeah
I didn’t wanna write this song.

The complicated relationship between a father and son comes to life in, “Hug the Block.”  The rap is full of the regret a son feels when the death of his father leaves unresolved issues and the pain of never being able to know what might have been had his life been longer.

All this stress got me pourin’ shots
Can’t hug my daddy so I hug the block
You supposed to be my family but I know you not
All this stress got me pourin’ shots
Can’t hug my daddy so I hug the block
You supposed to be my family but I know you not.

A danceable beat and a rap featuring Mozzy, Osbe Chill, and Tobi comprise the track, “Carmen Electra.” Carmen Electra is a rap that clearly glorifies the thug life.  Death seems to be an underlying theme in much of this work and it is evident here.   “Why ask why until we die when all we want is a piece of the devil’s pie.”

Fuck the slice, I want the pie
Why ask, “Why? “, ’til we die
Watch your soul stand in line for a slice of the devil’s pie
(Carmen Electra)
Drugs and thugs, swim in wine
Three or four at a time
Watch ’em all stand in line for a slice of the devil’s pie
(Carmen Electra)

Born 2 Rap,In the title track, “Born 2 Rap,” Game is talking about his beginnings as a rapper.  Going through all the ramifications of pre-stardom, he finally comes to the conclusion, “Who raps better than me?”

I remember I was rappin’ for a year and half
Couple tears in a glass
Some gunshots then I appeared on the map, bust it
In the studio way in the back with Busta
Next mornin’ back to weighin’ the crack, fuck it
What if Dre don’t make an album out my demo?
At least me, Snoop, and Nate Dogg smoked some Endo
Mailman told me, “Be patient,” thanks for the info
Next thing I know, I’m in Hits Factory with Timbo

I sit alone in my room in the zone writin’ classics
Who rap better than me?
I sit alone in my room in the zone writin’ classics
Who rap better than me?
I sit alone in my room in the zone writin’ classics
Who do it better than me?
Who rap better than me?
Who rap better than me?

Fans of the Game can expect a smorgasbord of music from the rapper.  He has included material that will touch the sensibilities of almost anyone.  Who cares if it’s 25 tracks?  Maybe it took 25 tracks for Game to fulfill his purpose. Let’s hope that he has another album still inside of him.  Time will tell.
 

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