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11 November, 2006@12:00 am

    It could be argued that 50 Cent’s kicking Game out of G-Unit was the best thing to ever happen to the Compton emcee. Truth be told, Game was lucky enough to be shown the door, just before commercial flops from Tony Yayo, Mobb Deep, and Lloyd Banks were released under the G-Unit banner. Now, the exiled Game finds himself on the cover of virtually every rap magazine, everyone wanting to know exactly why his second LP, The Doctor’s Advocate, does not have a single Dr. Dre track on it.

     Putting the pieces together, last year, 50 Cent threatened that if Dre continued to work with The Game, that he would leave Interscope and get a new deal somewhere else. In a surprisingly disappointing (and in this writer’s opinion, cowardly) move, Dr. Dre apparently bowed down to Curtis Jackson, leaving Game out in the cold, with his second record now being released on Geffen.

    But listening to The Doctor’s Advocate, you’d never know it. The album sounds as if Dre was secretly overseeing the project from afar, and given the fact that a handful of Aftermath artists and usual collaborators appear here (Busta Rhymes, Marsha of Floetry, Denaun Porter of D12, DJ Khalil, Scott Storch, the list goes on), that just may very well be the case. Game insists that he did record new material with Dre for the album – none of which appears here – however a Dr. Dre produced track is appearing on the upcoming Nas’ album, which features Game. (So eat that, 50).

     The album begins with the 2001 inspired “Lookin’ At You”, a dark, drive-by soundtrack, where Game sets the album up confessing “finished my second album without a Dr. Dre track” and “The good Doc hand picked me / you still with me? / Me and my mic can’t be separated like Interscope and…(laughs)”. “Da Shit”, which continues on the same vibe, thanks to a slow-rolling, bell-ringing track from DJ Khalil. In fact, much of the album carries the patented Aftermath sound, such as the pair of Scott Storch bangers “Let’s Ride (Strip Club)” and “Too Much”, both of which carry on tradition.

     But Game steps out on his own on the album’s lead single, “One Blood”, a ridiculously dope, Junior Reid featured (and inspired) track that defines where his head is at one year later, as he spits venomous bars that leave you hanging off every word. Fellow Los Angeles native Will.I.Am continues to redeem himself as a producer on “Compton”, which bangs with hard-hitting drums and a lifted riff from De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High”, paying obvious homage to the N.W.A. and King Tee sounds of the late 1980′s. Just Blaze takes it a step further on the Public Enemy-inspired “Remedy”, cutting up vocals from “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” with ridiculous precision. Just when you think the production couldn’t get any more raw, Kanye jumps in with “Wouldn’t Get Far”, a hilariously wrong dis track to female video models (yes, he names names), while Swizz Beatz follows with the banging “Scream On ‘Em”, pushing Game to deliver some of his most vicious battle raps. 

      Game begins to tackle tougher subject matter in the album’s third act, such as on “One Night”, which finds him putting members of his ungrateful entourage in their place, or on the excellent “Doctor’s Advocate”, where he a drunken, tearful Game apologizes to Dre for the beef with 50, while Aftermath’s own Busta Rhymes surprisingly backs him up. The Hi-Tek produced “Ol’ English” is a beautifully penned love letter to the west coast, which finds Game romanticizing the culture and his childhood in the once dominant scene.

    The only real problem with this album is Game’s obsession with Dr. Dre and Aftermath. One can tell by listening to the record that it was meant to be released on the label at one time, and the way he raps, it seems as if he is trying to convince himself, the world, and Dr. Dre, that everything is still cool. Unfortunately, he found out when the album was about to drop that Dre would not allow him to use the songs they recorded together. So who’s the fool? (A) Game for trying to carrying on the Aftermath legacy while on Geffen? (B) 50 for being selfish and shortsighted, banning G-Unit’s next-best-selling artist? Or (C) Dr. Dre for abandoning perhaps his most talented new artist since Eminem?  Everyone will choose a side.

    Despite all of this, take away the beef, the politics, and the bullshit of it all, The Game is a dynamic and ridiculously talented emcee, and The Doctor’s Advocate is an excellent LP. It’s a worthy sequel to The Documentary, and best of all, he proved everyone wrong, delivering a slamming LP, with or without 50 Cent, G-Unit, or Aftermath behind him. As the first new artist to come along in years that has the potential to single-handedly carry the torch for the ever-struggling west coast, let’s hope that Game can do so. Advocate The Game. 

  Mixtape D.L.
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