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.
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
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.