The Game – “Born 2 Rap” review

This is the 9th & allegedly final album from Compton rapper The Game. Initially taken under the wing of JT the Bigga Figga, his 2002 debut mixtape You Know What It Is would catch the attention of Dr. Dre & 50 Cent. Both of whom signed Game to a joint venture to their individually respective labels Aftermath Entertainment & G-Unit Records, distributed by Interscope Records. With their help, his debut album The Documentary the following year would go on to become a West Coast essential. However, a falling out between Game & 50 just months after the album’s release would result in Game moving over to Geffen Records to complete his 5-album contract. His next 4 albums Dr.’s Advocate, LAX, The RE.D. (RE-Dedication) Album & Je5us PiecE all showed that Game didn’t need Dre or 50 to make quality music. Once fulfilling his major label obligations, he went the independent route by founding his own label Prolific Records & showcasing the artists with a compilation entitled Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf in 2014. Game then put out an overloaded yet decent sequel to his debut with The Documentary 2+2.5 the next year as well as his previous album 1992 the year after. Fast forward to his 40th birthday, Game’s celebrating with his 2nd retirement album Born 2 Rap.

After the “City of Sin” intro from Ed Sheeran, we get into the first song “No Smoke”. Where Game challenges his competition over an atmospheric instrumental. The track “$500 Candles” gets braggadocious over a smooth instrumental & not only is the messaging on “The Light” is a nice callback to Je5us PiecE, but the harmonious boom bap beat on here is gorgeous. The track “Carmen Electra” with Mozzy & Osbe Chill sees the 3 talking about mobbin’ over a sample of D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie” while the song “Dead Homies” is a trite metaphor for a woman over a skeletal instrumental. The track “Gold Daytonas” with Dom Kennedy sees the 2 flexing over the same sample Junior M.A.F.IA. used for “Get Money” while the song “West Side” talks about life in Compton over a ghostly instrumental. The track “40oz Love” gets on the positivity tip lyrically over a soulful beat while the song “Gucci Flip Flops” talks about death over a slick instrumental from Swizz Beatz.

The title track talks about being the greatest over an instrumental that’s sweet to the ears while the song “Welcome Home” with the late Nipsey Hu$$le sees the 2 talking about staying woke over smooth instrumental. After the “Help Me” interlude, the fittingly titled “I Didn’t Wanna Write This Song” pays tribute to Nip as Focus… supplies a depressive instrumental. “The Code” with 21 Savage then sees the 2 talking living & dying by the rules of the streets over an instrumental that doesn’t really suit the tone while the song “Stay Down” with Bryson Tiller is of course a buttery love anthem. The track “Hug the Block” shows off over a somber beat while the song “Ask for Me” tells the story of & later forgetting her name over a grand instrumental. The track “Stainless” pays tribute to many West Coast artists over a smooth piano instrumental while the song “Gangsters Make the Girls Go Wild” is of course a tepid attempt at a radio hit.

The track “Blood Thicker Than Water” is self-explanatory backed by a churchy-trap beat from StreetRunner while the song “Rewind II” is a decent sequel to the Nas joint “Rewind” off his 2001 album Stillmatic. The track “1 Life” with J. Stone sees the 2 getting motivational over a bleak instrumental while the song “Cross on Jesus Back” with D Smoke is pretty much a response to Kanye West’s Sunday Service performances that he’s been doing all year. The album then finishes with “Roadside”, where Game reflects on his past life over an acoustic instrumental.

Score: 2.5/5

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