Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Game Interview

Let’s get this straight. Despite titling his new release Doctor’s Advocate, The Game decided to cut the Dr. Dre-produced tracks he recorded for it to demonstrate he can succeed without the G-funk founder’s assistance.

“You’re like the first person who’s got that right, ever,” the rapper confirms during a late-night call from Paris, where he’s promoting the album. And it’s a good thing, ’cause he sounds rather annoyed about it all.

“I appreciate Dre for everything he did, but he produced three-and-a-half, maybe four records,” the Game says of The Documentary, the 10th best-selling LP of 2005. “The album was 18 tracks deep and people were saying I wouldn’t have been able to make a classic without Dre. Then what the f*ck were the other 14 tracks?”

Nine months ago, comments like that started beating The Game down, to a point where he would hide in his closest crying, wondering where the respect he’d earned had gone.

“As human beings, we all face adversity,” he says vaguely. “Sometimes things render us helpless and we’re backed into a corner, so we need to poke our chests out and climb out of that black hole. Once I did, with my son being my motivation, I found my way to the top.”

His son, Harlem Caron Taylor, is only 3, but he’s already attended the Grammys and is apparently a hip-hop fan. “He dances and pops around the car seat to anything with a bass line,” The Game says. “He likes Chingy, [Webstar’s] ‘Chicken Noodle Soup.’ I don’t know who his favorite rapper is right now, but it’s definitely not me.”

The Game’s planning to win Harlem — along with the rest of the world — over, however, with Doctor’s Advocate. And while Dre and now-nemesis 50 Cent received executive producer credits on his multi-platinum debut, the 26-year-old Compton MC took control on the follow-up, even down to sequencing the songs, meticulous work to which he claims few other rappers pay much attention. “And why should they care when they just trying to get that next chain or a number one video on 106 and Park?” he says. “Me, I’m a fan of the old, so I try to format my albums similar to my favorite hip-hop classics.”

Although without the Aftermath and G-Unit stamps, Doctor’s Advocate is still chock-full of A-list names: Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and Will.I.Am, to name a few.
“Will’s got so much f*cking energy, just dancing around the studio all day,” The Game says with his usual lack of f*cking energy, painting an Odd Couple-esque picture of their sessions. “Whatever. He makes hit records and he made me one too. He was signed with Eazy [late rapper Eazy-E] and Eazy was it with me, so that link is dope for me.” (The Game was recently mentoring Eazy-E’s son “but it went unappreciated, so I stepped away,” he says.)

Nas and Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry are featured on The Game’s favorite track, an epic 10-minute jam ironically titled “Why I Hate The Game.” “When we did the song that’s how long it came out and I never cut it down,” he says. “Everybody who hears that song walks away thinking about their life, reanalyzing everything.”

The Game also recorded at least five tracks with his Beverly Hills neighbors, Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, but those went the way of the Dre material. “This album pretty much decides the fate of the rest of my career and I didn’t want to play any games with it, so everything on here is serious,” he says.

At the Vibe Awards in Los Angeles last November, where The Game accepted the “Hottest Hook” award (for the 50 collabo “Hate It or Love It”) with “G-Unot” carved in his hair, the rapper warned that “G-Unit got problems” when Doctor’s Advocate hit shelves. A year later, though, the album is surprisingly easy on his short-lived crew.

“G-Unit already got problems,” The Game explains. “I thought it was going to take my album to dismantle their squad, but just with the mix tapes, I pretty much melted their hopes of being successful in ’07 months ago. The only person 50 can save at this point is himself. We’ve seen [Lloyd] Banks, [Tony] Yayo and Mobb Deep flop, and I think that says a lot about what I did to that movement.”

He pauses as if patting himself on the back. “You know, what goes around comes around and this time around, I’m not Ja Rule,” he quips, referring to the gruffly-voiced Murder Inc. act who took a beating from G-Unit during their prime.

Although Dre’s still aligned with G-Unit, it hasn’t affected The Game’s relationship with the super-producer. “I talked to him a few weeks ago and he’s proud of me,” he says. As for those shelved tracks? “Maybe if I die, they’ll end up putting it out,” the Game says. “Game-aveli 28 or something.”

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