It is an understatement to state that The Game has been on fire in the last year, with the majority of his music inspired and influenced by the streets of Compton that he grew up on and the lifestyle he became accustomed to. Since he followed up the multi-platinum debut album The Documentary with the second instalment in two parts, he has rediscovered his love and passion for the city of Compton so to speak, not that he had lost it anyhow. He is literally now the celebrity in the hood, a pioneer of the new wave of West Coast Rap, and instrumental in heading the revival of the West Coast.
1992 is the fourth release by The Game this year and the eighth studio album. The cover for the album, designed by Snoop Dogg’s cousin Joe Cool who did the icon Doggystyle cover, depicts some historic moments in The Game’s growing u in the 90’s, from the infamous Rodney King beating and the O.J. Simpson police chase in the white bronco, and perhaps most symbolic for The Game personally, a young Jayceon being tugged by both members of the Bloods and the Crips, defining The Game’s conflicting choice between choosing sides to which both family and friends both belonged to.
The album’s production features some heavy sampling, in songs like ‘Savage Lifestyle’, using Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues, the funky ‘Bompton’ samples The DOC’s It’s Funky Enough, and ‘F**k Orange Juice’, a song about living like O.J. Simpson, that samples Grandmaster Flash’s The Message, also popularised on Ice Cube’s Check Yo Self remix. Also sampled is Soul II Soul’s However Do You Want It (Back To Life) which is rejuvenated in more of a trap affair. These productions by Bongo, JP Did This 1 and The Game himself are nostalgic and take you back to the 90’s.
Lyrically, The Game may be one of the hardest lyricists on the gang banging wave, in my opinion, with tracks like True Colors, that transcends the colours of the American flag and is about black lives in America and the gang culture, the red and the blue, the Blood and the Crip, in Central Los Angeles, all of these tracks give the listener an insight and takes them on a journey through the hoods of the city of Compton, without having to visit, by someone who has witnessed it all first hand. ‘Young N****s’ starts off with a soundbyte similar to 2Pac’s Outlaw off of the Me Against The World album, then the focus is on a story about one of The Game’s unlucky friends from the hood. The melancholy production from The Chemists Create and the soulful but sorrowful singing from Lorine Chia makes for a emotional song that may well be aimed at his foster brother Calvin who got killed earlier this year. Lorina Chia also features on ‘The Juice’ about various moments in The Game’s life where he has gained respect, from the birth of his son to coming back from getting shot 5 times.
As is already established by DJBooth, The Game has a knack for name dropping to an extent, being labelled the biggest name dropper, and can be seen as Rap’s biggest fan. Two songs exemplify this to a point. ‘I Grew Up On Wu-Tang’ samples Raekwon’s verse on C.R.E.A.M explores the influence they had on The Game, and ‘The Soundtrack’ which is about the dangers of living in Compton and the soundtrack to the ghetto being Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Snoop Dogg.
Without discrediting ‘All Eyez’ featuring Jeremih but certainly excluding it from the rest of the album, 1992 is once again an impressive release from The Game, and continues his sharing of experiences and tales of the hood, the production serving him justice in some places on the album, but his lyrics are so vivid. So much so, that this album like The Documentary 2/2.5 and The Streets of Compton albums could be the soundtrack for many of the young people growing up in Compton today, but certainly is nostalgia for the casual listener like myself. The Game throws ’92 Bars’ on the end of the album, the diss towards Meek Mill in the highly reported beef that has been occurring, and then ‘What Your Life Like’ features a grateful Game looking at the state of his life now and how it has changed, thankful for the opportunities to work with greats like Dr. Dre, and he briefly speaks on his beef with 50 Cent, one that is looking more and more like being resolved. Imagine a reunion between The Game and 50 Cent, even G Unit, and Dr. Dre’s production behind him once again, it would be picking up where he left off from with The Documentary.
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