Sunday G-Funk #6: The Game – The Documentary

The Game - The Documentary

 

While Dr. Dre has backed a fair share of artists that did not achieve expected expectations, it’s hard to say that the guy does not have a tendency to understand where talent comes from.  Especially when it comes to talent from his own town, Compton.

After recovering from a brutal shooting in 2001, The Game began to work towards a rap career.  His first mixtape was created after his participation in a freestyle session hosted by Russell Simmons.  After gaining buzz in the streets, his mixtape eventually made it to Dr. Dre, who immediately signed him to Aftermath through G-Unit Records.

Game began working with another Dre signee, 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew shortly after.  Aftermath’s initial plan was to advertise him in a package deal with 50 Cent, in order to get his name out quick and easy.  Through many appearances in various ad campaigns and high-profile G-Unit songs, The Game began to build a name for himself.

dr. dre the game

 

G-Unit Involvement

50 Cent has a large presence on The Documentary, appearing on 3 songs.  What’s even more significant are that all 3 songs ended up being arguably the biggest singles from the album.  “Hate it or Love it”, one of the aforementioned tracks, is a fantastic victory lap for the arrival of The Game’s rap career.  Even though 50 steals much of the shine with a strong verse, Game more than holds his own. This effort, and the later track that featured Eminem, showed that he was ready to go toe-to-toe with any rapper in the game (I think he does just fine on “We Ain’t”, even if he constantly talks about how Eminem bodied him).

The relationship with G-Unit did not last as long as expected, as the two artists had disagreements that built tension between the group.  This ended up being a smart move for The Game, as his solo career allowed him to blossom freely.  Staying with G-Unit would have limited him, as he was also in line with Young Buck and Lloyd Banks.

 

Production, Production, Production

There is almost nothing more important in the Hip-Hop industry than good production.  The best production can make even the worst rapper you’ve ever heard sound like a god-send.  At the same time, there have been many a consistently dope lyricist to meet his end of relevancy due to lackluster production (ask Nas, I’m sure he regrets his production choice on I Am…).

One of the things that make The Documentary stand out from so many other projects are the fantastic line of producers brought on board.  Kanye West, Just Blaze, Havoc, Timbaland, and Buckwild are all prime examples of the top-notch production on the album.  Dr. Dre, of course, also adds to the project with mixing and original production of his own.

Good production and quality features have always been a major positive for The Game.  Whether it’s because of Dr. Dre or Game’s own hustle, the music is always memorable regardless.

 

Boy, Do I Love This Song

 

Now, Remember…

While The Game is not exactly what you would consider classic G-Funk sound, there are many elements that harken back to the good old days of high synths and funky basslines.  “Where I’m From” takes you back to the late 90s, even featuring the “King of Hooks”, Nate Dogg.

If there’s anyone that represents the Golden Age of West Coast Hip-Hop G-Funk sound, it’s The Game.  

-Ronzo

Monday Grooves

Drake

After a brief hiatus, Monday Grooves is finally back at it! This time around, the rap game is currently being headlined by the usual suspect, Drake.  Nothing Was the Same’s release has been a major contributor to this, heavily boosting his feature counts for the time being.  “Versace” and the eerily similar to “I’m on One” banger, “No New Friends” (similarity probably due to DJ Khaled’s doing).  The album is arguably one of the best of the year, and has been in rotation across speakers all over the country.

This time around on Monday Grooves, I’ll be showing you some of the newer releases.  Lots of good music this summer, and it should only get better as there are many more albums to expect.

Dizzy Wright – Still Movin

I’m quite pleased for how well Dizzy Wright is repping Michigan Hip-Hop.  His style is less like label-mate Hopsin, being more conscious and party-oriented.  On this track in particular, he shares take on the popular grinding anthem theme you’ve heard in abundance lately.  While the subject matter may not be the most original, the hook is catchy and it shows Dizzy’s versatility in making different styles of Hip-Hop. Take a track like “World Peace” off his recent The Golden Age mixtape for example, which has an entirely different feel.

Dizzy Wright so far is paving the way for his Funk Volume brethren, with catchy music and recognizable talent.  With Hopsin’s Knock Madness on the way, the label has a chance to be competing for the top come 2014.

Nipsey Hussle – Checc Me Out ft. Dom Kennedy & Cobb Supreme

Among the new-age West Coast rappers , Dom Kennedy and Nipsey Hussle are among the leading names.  Both have highly anticipated projects dropping within a week of each other next month, and the new music could set the tone going forward.  Get Home Safely is the highly anticipated debut album from Dom, and Crenshaw will be Nipsey’s first major mixtape release since The Marathon in 2010.

“Checc Me Out” is perfect for the relaxed vibes of any smoke session or cruise in the car.  G-Funk has evolved for the new era of Hip-Hop, and these guys are welcoming it in graciously.

Drake – Too Much

Let’s face it.  Drake has the music industry’s full attention once again.  Except the difference this time is his music sounds matured and well-rounded.  Nothing Was the Same is a perfectly cohesive album, with ambient beats symbolizing the musical and life progression he’s had in his rise to fame. ( I feel like the idea here is quite similar to what J. Cole has on Born Sinner, except a bit further along.  I expect J. Cole to make something similar down the line.)

This track is one of my favorites off the album, an especially deep cut that has Drake spilling his feelings for his past lovers and family members, giving advice to them.  What I like is how the raw emotion of the lyrics really show that he cares about the stories he’s telling.

-Ronzo

Logic – Two Kings ft. King Chip

Logic Two Kings

I just can’t help but root for these two up-and-coming artists to make great records.  I originally heard Chip’s name and music while I was at school in Bowling Green, Ohio.  His rise alongside Kid Cudi represented the new state of Cleveland Hip-Hop.   I’ve been a fan of King Chip (formerly Chip da Ripper) since I heard his feature on “T.G.I.F.”, a classic banger that showcased the Cleveland MC’s’ ability.

As for Logic, he was introduced to me a little later on, in 2011.  His precise flow and intelligent lyricism caught my eye, reminding me of some old-school AZ.  Being from Maryland makes him a potential flagbearer for the whole state, as well, something that could be easily accomplished if he follows the right path.

Both artists join forces this time around, for the track “Two Kings”.  The beat is handled by C-Sick, and provides the perfect backdrop for the ill double-time flows.  The track was made while the artists are on tour with Kid Cudi, and remains a freebie.

-Ronzo

 

Sunday G-Funk #7: Jay Rock – Follow Me Home

Jay Rock - Follow Me Home

 

While being lost in the middle of the wave of football that is the beginning of fall, here’s another way you can spend your Sunday; with some laid-back G-Funk sound (especially if you had a bad Fantasy Football week like I did).

This week, I bring to you one of the torchbearers of West Coast Hip-Hop, Jay Rock (of recent “Money Tree” feature verse fame).  While he may not be the biggest name in the Black Hippy crew, he does have a claim as being one of the first members of Top Dawg, as well as a major influence for Kendrick, Q, Soul, and himself to form their group.  His album Follow Me Home, released with the help of Strange Music, featured everything you could want from a classic West Coast album.  Big feature names are littered throughout, including Tech N9ne, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and more.  Plus, the production has a new-age traditional feel, with beats from top notch producers such as, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Tha Bizness.  

Black Hippy Involvement

The most impressive aspect of the album has to do with the unity of the Black Hippy crew.  In a time where the other members were still in a rising phase with no major releases, this project served as a stepping stone for the group’s advancement as a whole.

Not only do all the members step into the booth for the posse cut (and one of very few Black Hippy tracks), “Say Wassup”, each artist’s adlib vocals are scattered throughout the album.  Kendrick’s hook on “They Be On It”, Schoolboy Q providing one line on “Bout That”, Ab-Soul on “No Joke”, the list goes on and on.  The cohesiveness is highly apparent, and Follow Me Home is the closest thing to a Black Hippy album released as of yet.

(Similar methods are used on the more recent “The Heart Pt. 3”, by Kendrick Lamar, with features from Jay Rock and Ab-Soul)

The Singles

While Jay Rock himself declared that the album is “strictly for the ghetto”, it still has its share of catchy radio-worthy singles.  Songs like “No Joke” and “Westside ft. Chris Brown” have infectious hooks, while “Hood Gone Love It ft. Kendrick Lamar” hosts the most impressive feature verse of the whole album.

Follow Me Home serves as an incredible start for Jay Rock, and the buzz will only continue to grow as Black Hippy increases in popularity.  Here’s to the leaders of the new generation.

-Ronzo

Sunday G-Funk #8: Funkdoobiest – Brothas Doobie

funkdoobiest brothas doobie

 

While Funkdoobiest may not be a huge or widely recognized Hip-Hop artists associated with the classic G-Funk movement, their styles and flows were new and different.  Their relaxed and easy-going personalities penetrated the underground and brought a different perspective to how the West Coast sound should be interpreted.  In fact, their song “Rock On” is one of my favorite tracks (shouts to the homie Moses Manuel), and a previous Monday Grooves pick.

Their sound mainly resembles another classic West Coast Hip-Hop group, Cypress Hill.  This is understandable of course, as the great DJ Muggs served as one of the innovators and mentors to the group.  His production covers this entire album, as well as their first project, Which Doobie U B?

Funkdoobiest

 

Long live Son Doobie and his quirky raps about how he “likes his sex X-rated like he likes his funk”, or his interlude telling a bartender he’s “dummin” because the drinks are too pricey.  Funkdoobiest, with their  humor and easy-going styles, should always be remembered for creating their own niche in Hip-Hop history.

-Ronzo

Air Jordan 5 “Doernbecher”

AJ5_Pair_2-up_23043

 

The Air Jordan 5 is having quite a year, with very many releases throughout, especially in the past couple months.  The trend continues with this absolutely dope September 14th release shoe.  The pair of kicks are the seventh in line for the Doernbecher Freestyle Project, a program designed to “empower young patients through design to benefit the hospital”.  All of the shoes in the program are designed by artistic patients at the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore.

The best part, besides the ill black and white colorway, are the fact they light up in the dark.  Be sure to cop yourself some for $180 once they drop.

-Ronzo

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