Hate it or love it, I'm not mad that Dr. Dre's contributionsto Game's "R.E.D." album are minimal. Dre's narration and guest rapfeel obligatory.
It's been more than five years since the Game and 50 Centsevered their G-Unit ties, which put a strain on Game's working relationshipwith Dre. But the estrangement was good.
It forced Game to work hard to establish himself independentof Aftermath and G-Unit.
With Pharrell in the executive producer's seat and Game andMars riding shotgun, "R.E.D." is the "Pot Of Gold" rapper'sbest album since his 2005 debut, "The Documentary."
Despite saturating the Internet with heat seekers like theepic 9-minute "400 Bars" that earned him props from Nas, the"Purp & Patron" mixtape, a solid pop song with Justin Timberlake,and even this month's "Daytona 500 (500 Bars)," Game still savedplenty dopeness for "R.E.D."
But Tylerisn't the only rapper to whom Game pays respect. He channels the late NotoriousB.I.G., Andre 3000, and Nas on "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly,""Speakers On Blast," and the DJ Premiere-produced "Born In The Trap,"respectively.
Whether fiery freestyle-ready bangers, easy-riding R&Bballads, or chilling, thematic soundtracks, Game reps effortlessly.
What impresses me most, though, is the maturity in Game's storytelling.Yes, the hotheaded rapper continues to take lyrical shots at Jay-Z and provokesTwitter feuds with everyone from Lil B to Kreayshawn, but he shows depth onseveral songs.
On "Good Girls Go Bad" featuring Drake, Gamecondemns domestic violence towards women. On "Hello" with Lloyd, heraps about buying his girl a ring. And on the album's final song,"California Dream," he chronicles the birth of his daughter andincludes actual audio of the delivery. The latter is a sister track to"The Documentary"'s "Like Father, Like Son," about thebirth of his first child.
Game's last album, 2008's "L.A.X." had a fewstrong singles, but was padded with filler. Dre's absence was magnified. But on"R.E.D.," Game has found his post-Aftermath/G-Unit stride.
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