April 11, 2007

The Game - The Documentary (January 18, 2005)


The way I figured it, what my blog needed was an album cover consisting of a shirtless guy sitting on a tire. Now my life is complete.
In keeping with the spirit of "kicking Curtis Jackson when's he's sucking", I present to you The Game's The Documentary. You see, it's called The Documentary because it's like a documentary of his life, right, and he was a protege of "Doc"tor Dre...oh, who fucking cares.
Jayceon Taylor (birth name: The Game) is a guy who admits that he never thought about rhyming until he was laid up with gunshots after a drug deal gone wrong. He claims to have taught himself how to rap (probably not a college level course, that) by listening to the classics: Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop’s Doggystyle, any 2Pac album (since they all sound the same lyrically), Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, and, oddly, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em. He “learned to rap” (this still makes me laugh) by ripping off better artists, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, as everyone has to start somewhere.

However, if he actually made an attempt to rhyme, instead of reading from his laundry list of rapper and celebrity names, The Documentary would be an instrumental album, with a disembodied voice occasionally shouting “The!” and “And!”.

The Game’s story is simple. After the near-death experience and the 4.0 GPA he earned in Biting 101, he was signed to Aftermath by the good Doctor, Andre Young. (I'm aware that he recorded a lot of shitty tracks with JT The Bigga Figga, but this post is about the official "debut".) However, his recording sessions went nowhere (maybe Dre wasn't inspired by a low-talent copycat?), until Jimmy Iovine (the head piece of Interscope Records's Voltron) had the genius idea for him to be held lovingly in Curtis Jackson’s G-Unit bulletproof arms.

Long story short, the partnership worked, and Game released The Documentary to critical acclaim (mainly from people on blogs) and multiplatinum sales. (It helps that his lyrical abilities had, admiittedly, stepped the fuck up.) In fact, he was the biggest seller from G-Unit since…well, since Fiddy himself. And as a big star, Game decided that he needed all the friends he could get, so he didn’t feel like he needed to burn bridges and lyrically attack Fat Joe, Nas, and Jadakiss (from The Lox) just because 50 had a problem with them. Fiddy balked at this, kicked him out of the group, and Game went on to infamously create the “G-Unot” campaign that, surprisingly, can be credited with accoplishing its goal of destroying the careers of those in the group (except Fiddy’s. Dammit!).

The Documentary is executive produced by Dr. Dre, which is a fancy way of saying that he only produced, like, five songs. I’m still convinced that Fiddy was going to kick Game out of the group anyway, since he was the only other group member to move units and Fiddy is a fucking control freak. But before the shootings at Hot 97, before Game and Fiddy made out with each other at a press conference hours before Game decided to diss the shit out of him again, and before Curtis “Interscope” Jackson’s pull got Game dropped from Dr. Dre’s label, there was this album.
1. INTRO
Groan…

2. WESTSIDE STORY (FEAT 50 CENT)
Not a bad start, but there’s a version floating on the net with Snoop doing the chorus instead of Curtis…come on, Dre! Wouldn’t that have made more sense?

3. DREAMS
This is what Kanye West would rap over if he got shot five times in a drug deal, as opposed to just getting in a car accident.

4. HATE IT OR LOVE IT (FEAT 50 CENT)
The song itself is catchy, but I can do without Fiddy talking about how he’s going to “shine” like the little diamond he thinks he is.

5. HIGHER
Probably the best Dre track Game will ever do.

6. HOW WE DO (FEAT 50 CENT)
Probably the second best Dre track Game will ever do.

7. DON’T NEED YOUR LOVE (FEAT FAITH EVANS)
I don’t understand how the first five songs were actually all really good, and then the album goes to shit. But hey, they can't all be winners.

8. CHURCH FOR THUGS
That doesn't mean that Game and Dre shouldn't have tried to pick winners, though...

9. PUT YOU ON THE GAME (FEAT TIMBALAND)
This song is pretty good, but you can’t help but wonder if it was throwaway tracks like this that caused Timbo to turn away from hip hop and start working full-time with Nelly Furtado and Timberlake.

10. START FROM SCRATCH (FEAT MARSHA OF FLOETRY)
A lot of words have been written about the fact that Game was drunk as fuck when he recorded this song. Here’s two more: This sucks.

11. THE DOCUMENTARY
I could write a chorus that consists of me calling out the titles of albums that are better than my own, too, but you don’t see me acting that foolish.

12. RUNNIN’ (FEAT TONY YAYO)
Hey, kids! If you look closely, you can actually pinpoint the moment where Hi-Tek’s career went to shit. (Don't even get me started on Tony Yayo. I know that Game was still with G-Unit when he recorded this, but come on.)

13. NO MORE FUN AND GAMES
Just a clever way of telling the listener to not even bother hearing the rest of this shit.

14. WE AIN’T (FEAT EMINEM)
You ain’t what? Talented? Tolerable? Oh wait, I know: interesting.

15. WHERE I’M FROM (FEAT NATE DOGG)
Look for the version online that features the good Doctor instead of this shitty version.

16. SPECIAL (FEAT NATE DOGG)
See what he did there? He featured yesteryear’s Akon on two songs in a row. Clever, eh?

17. DON’T WORRY (FEAT MARY J. BLIGE)
Oh, I’m not worried; I’m fucking bored.

18. LIKE FATHER LIKE SON (FEAT BUSTA RHYMES)
Now I’m just counting the minutes down before the end.

FINAL THOUGHTS: In the great battle between Curtis Jackson and Jayceon Taylor, I would have to give The Game the upper hand, even though both of their debuts sucked. I like Game better as a rapper, though; more than anyone else, I feel that he truly believes he can single-handedly bring the West Coast back into the forefront. It’s just too bad that the South had to come in and rape hip hop’s lifeless corpse.

BUY OF BURN? As I mentioned before, the first five songs are actually really fucking good, and then the album takes a turn for the shitty, with the exception of Timbo’s contribution. As much as I’d rather you support Game than 50, don’t buy this album; just burn the good tracks and call it a night.

BEST TRACKS: “Higher”; “Put You On The Game”; “How We Do”; “Dreams”

-Max

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10 comments:

  1. You are pretty much right on the money. I bought the album, and all the way through How We Do, I was like 'holy shit, this is really good' but then the second half dropped off into terrible filler. The album doesn't suck though. It is just average.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. I will say, though, that Game got incrementally better at his craft through all of those goddamned mixtapes dissing G-Unit, which were all pretty entertaining, more so that this entire album. But I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only person who saw such a dramatic drop in quality after "How We Do".

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  3. too much filler and not enough killer.....I still prefer Games mixtapes over his albums, Ghost Unit had me in stiches!!

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  4. Did anyone else notice, on "Dreams," Game says he woke up out of his coma in 2001, "about the same time Dre dropped 2001." Umm, no. What the hell?

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  5. Ok... I have read some of your reviews and the fact that u punish The Documentary and Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor is just ridiculous. The Game is one of the best rappers out there and shit like Young Jeezy/Plies/Common's new shit/Juelz Santana prove that.

    Documentary/Food & Liquor/Slim Shady LP are one of my favourite albums of all time and u crushed them all... I actually laughed out loud when u did not realize how good Buckwild's beat is on Like Father Like Son and ur arrogance at Daydreamin'. However, I like the way u argue ur point and ur use of "Meh" is quite amusing. I would really like to c u review Tha Carter III and All Eyez On Me...

    By the way FUCK Wu Tang Clan they are just a group of losers who are as boring as fuck

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  6. ^ You hear this guy? haha. Wu-Tang Clan = Best group ever. And I think this album went to crap After How We Do.

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  7. AnonymousJuly 18, 2011

    Red Magic lost all credibility with the last sentence of his comment... Haha fuck outta here

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  8. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

    Nate Dogg is "Yesteryear's Akon"?

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  9. "In the great battle between Curtis Jackson and Jayceon Taylor, I would have to give The Game the upper hand, even though both of their debuts sucked." LOL, seriously? You, my good sir, are a definition of a hater.

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  10. Actually, I'm amazed that you liked How We Do. Since I consider it the absolute worst song on this album. Yes, even worse than We Ain't.

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