September 19, 2008

The Game - The Doctor's Advocate (November 14, 2006)

There's already been a lot of bandwidth wasted on the feud between The Game and his former friend Curtis Jackson, so I'll provide the Cliff's Notes version before continuing.

Boy meets girl. Girl falls for boy. Boy allows girl to hang around his friends. Girl becomes as successful as boy in their chosen profession. Girl starts to think for herself, which pisses boy off. Boy chooses to stop allowing girl to hang out with him. Girl takes it the wrong way and destroys the boy's career. It's a tale as old as time, and is still reflected today in pop culture: just look at Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe.

After the success of The Documentary and the subsequent falling-out with his frenemies in the G-Unit, The Game went on the offensive, recording multiple mixtapes with the double intent of keeping his status alive in hip hop and disrespecting the shit out of his former crew. He went out of his way to hang out with the sworn enemies of Curtis Jackson, promoted his own staff of weed carriers (known as Black Wall Street, which is kind of a corny name), and promised anybody who would listen that his mentor and label head Dr. Dre would provide at least one instrumental to his sophomore release, The Doctor's Advocate, titled as such mainly due to Game's allegiance to Andre Young.

Ultimately, Dr. Dre pulled a bitch move and sided with Curtis "Mr. Moneybags" Jackson, refusing to authorize any of his recordings to ever be released to the public. Game, understandably pissed off, went ahead and released them anyway, leaking them online himself shortly after The Doctor's Advocate hit store shelves.

The Doctor's Advocate found its way to huge sales and critical acclaim anyway, even with a limited advertising budget (marketing was noticeably dropped after Game was unceremoniously shifted from Aftermath to Geffen Records at the request of Dr. Dre). Ironically, the disc finds Game pairing up with other artists who also used to work with Dr. Dre but don't seem to be on speaking terms with him anymore (Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, and Tha Dogg Pound come to mind). And to this day, the G-Unit has essentially fallen the fuck apart, and while The Game can't take all of the credit (it helps that the Unit's music wasn't very good), he most definitely contributed, and for that, he deserves the respect of hip hop fans, if not the hard-earned cash from a hip hop fan's wallet.

Regardless of all of the music, my favorite Game-related moment occurred when he was bludgeoned repeatedly with a phone book by Theodore "Ted" Logan in Street Kings, a flick that is so hilariously godawful that it crosses over into brilliant, back to terrible, and, finally, ends up hovering around the "watchable" part of the spectrum. Because, seriously? Keanu Reeves is kicking your ass? Yeah, that's gangsta.


Obviously, the best way to draw attention from the fact that you don't actually have any Dr. Dre production on your sophomore effort, even though you swore up and down to the media that there would be at least one such beat, is to start off your album with a beat that sounds like Dre could have done it (but didn't), and then rhyme with a cadence that recalls, um, Dr. Dre himself on the mic. Personally, I was happy to see that this wasn't your usual rap album intro, but a true song, so this gets a pass from me.

I still don't buy that "cock" is slang for pussy on the West Coast. Oh, I realize that it's a true fact, but it gives songs such as this one an unintentionally hilarious transgendered subtext. What do you mean, I didn't actually say anything about the song?

I was never impressed with this track, and was even more nonplussed with its remix, which featured no less than eighty-seven rappers, sixteen weed carriers, four caterers, one key grip, and Mary Ann, but not the Professor, who's currently rotting in Chino for being the gulliest n---a on that motherfucking island. Maybe I would have cared a little bit more if Game had somehow managed to get all of those guests in the same room, but instead it sounds like the aural equivalent of a Photoshopped ensemble movie poster.

This song isn't bad, but it sounds much too clean, too polished, to be considered gangsta rap. That's due to from the Black Eyed Peas providing the hardest beat of his fucking career (and also providing the hook, although he really should have left that to the professionals). Obviously, someone's trying to crawl out from behind Fergie's shadow.

I'm sure that Game spitting over a beat that sounds almost exactly like Dr. Dre's contribution to the DJ Muggs track "Puppet Master" was simply a coincidence. Isn't that right, Just Blaze?

Did Game just take a shot at Marshall Mathers? Scott Storch, who has only done a handful of good songs by himself (the only two that come to mind at the moment are Terror Squad's "Lean Back" and "Don't Say Nuthin'" by The Roots), provides an okay instrumental, and Game sounds decent enough, but then the chorus kicks in. The hook is one of the lamest things I've ever heard, and don't forget, I once wrote about Vanilla Ice.

This song is about absolutely nothing, which usually isn't a big deal (it's not like you should ever be surprised with what you hear when it comes to gangsta rap), but for some reason this song hurts me emotionally. Maybe it's because Nate Dogg's hook seems to be wasted.

Kanye must have felt bad for deleting Game's verse from "Crack Music", from Late Registration, so he provided this beat as a consolation prize. "Wouldn't Get Far" is a tongue-in-cheek diatribe against video models that fits Kanye's sense of humor much more so than The Game, who only comes off as amusing when he's disrespecting his former group. The vocal sample repeating the song's title is annoying as shit.

This song would have been passable if it weren't for Swizz Beats insisting on screaming on the hook, if you can even call it a hook. But then again, Swizz Beats is like the Joel Schumacher of hip hop: he's a complete fucking hack. Yeah, I said it.

With its ridiculous interpolation of The Deele's "Two Occasions" on the hook, Babyface must be spinning in his grave. What do you mean, he's not actually dead? Then where the fuck has he been?

The Game and Busta get drunk as skunks in the studio, and Game suddenly starts apologizing profusely to Dr. Dre for betraying his trust, possibly in a last-ditch effort to secure Dre's blessing to include one of his beats on the album. (It didn't work.) Busta, sensing the mood shifting into awkwardness, tries to salvage the situation by acting as the voice of reason, and does so in such an effective manner that I truly hope that he didn't get pulled over for his eighteenth DUI when he left the studio that night.

Not exactly a heartwarming positive tale, but this song, on which Game reflects on a few of the events that allegedly made him who he is, sounds decent enough. I wonder if producer Hi-Tek ever finds himself wishing that he hadn't sacrificed underground acclaim with Reflection Eternal for the G-Unit cash cow, though.

It's almost as if the sample was added to the instrumental just so that the beat would sound even more generically West Coast-ish. Snoop sounds okay, for being several years removed from his prime, but X to the Z needs to get back into the MTV fold pronto.

Couldn't manage to fit Tha Dogg Pound on "California Vacation", huh? I never thought I would say this, but Kurupt gets outshined by rhyme partner Daz by an alarming degree: it almost sounds as if Kurupt had just taken up rapping the night before, and then went to the studio without getting any sleep. The instrumental sounds awkward as hell, as well.

Oh, wow, this song is bad.

Ambitious (clocking in at over nine minutes), but unnecessary. The Timbaland track that Game recorded for The Doctor's Advocate had to have sounded pretty awful for Game to give Just Blaze the green light to supply the director's cut of "Why You Hate The Game". As a filmmaker and writer, I have to advise that proper editing can make all the difference in the world. I'm sure Nasir Jones loved collecting a check for outshining The Game without even trying, too.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The Doctor's Advocate showcases a surprising amount of growth from The Game. Not artistic growth, however: the subject matter hasn't changed since The Documentary. Thanks to the multiple mixtapes that filled in the time gap between The Documentary and The Doctor's Advocate, though, Game has honed his craft, and sounds better than ever on the mic. It's a shame that Andre Young sided with the money train that is Curtis Jackson.

BUY OR BURN? Due to the lack of artistic growth, I'd recommend only a burn. There isn't a single song on here that is on par with the first few tracks from The Documentary, but unlike the debut disc, this album doesn't fall apart completely during the second half. Besides, if you simply burn it, Curtis Jackson won't earn any royalties, and if that isn't an incentive, I don't know what is.

BEST TRACKS: "Lookin' At You"; "Compton"; "Ol' English"


The Game - The Documentary


  1. At first I thought finally, Max will see why Game is deserving of his acclaim... but no...
    This review is insanely biased and I think you did this review only because you had decided beforehand that you would hate it.
    "Ol English" sounds decent enough?
    "Wouldn't Get Far" is annoying?
    and "Too Much" wastes a good Nate Dogg hook?
    Alright Max... Ok

  2. Daz ALWAYS outshined Kurupt.

    Now, where is that Vanilla Ice Review?

  3. Anonymous (great name, by the way) - the only bias that I have is that Game is a much better rapper than Curtis, which I'm sure everyone can agree with. And I go into every album review with no bias, which has sometimes resulted in surprises, but mostly I'm reminded why I stopped listening to the albums in the first place. I stand by everything I wrote in the review, including the fact that Game has stepped his game up.

    Cenzi -

    Enjoy! And thanks for reading!

  4. Max shunned Vanilla from his search by artist list !


  5. ol 'english is dope.. wish i could find an instrumental of it

  6. "Why You Hate The Game" was the best track from the album IMO! loved that gospel feeling to it... i agree that choir part at the end was kind of unecessary, just to fill an empty space.

    anyways, when can we expect a possible review to LAX?

  7. no 50,no game exist..sad fa da fella.his album was a dissapointment and continues to me make feel he is ni bolar and deloutional to even think his recent body of work is a classic.50 go save that boy and make him cool the end of the day im still holding my breath for a game record like i am for a janet jackson fire single,hopefully a artist and create and not jive the public.

  8. Question Max: Could it be that the beats we're Dr. Dre scrapped beats that he didn't want on Detox because he'd rather waste away Game's career with 'one time' hot beats n focus the lens on 50 Cent's career?? lol.. that's what i think cause i remember soo much hype around Detox in 2004/05 right around the time interscope/aftermath/shady/g-unit we're putting out a lot of shit! Perfect time to boost sales for Detox i think.. I dunno i'm just saying because when i bought this album I had this '2001' energy because they sounded so much like Dr. Dre beats at the time.. and which i am seriously considering now that i am experiencing alot of supposed leaked Detox tracks.. anyway.. this album is good.. i like that later tracks tho! Especially "Ol' English" this album is his best by far but he still doesn't really earn my respect..