Game, "The R.E.D. Album" (Aftermath/Interscope Records)
When the Game was dumped by mentor Dr. Dre after a feud with 50 Cent a few years ago, the Compton rapper used the split as an opportunity to show he could survive on his own, and he succeeded with two solid albums since his multi-platinum, Dre-produced debut, "The Documentary."
Now, Game has reunited with Dre and the producer's label Aftermath Records for his fourth album, "The R.E.D. Album." Dre raps on a song and appears on four skits, narrating pivotal moments of Game's life.
"R.E.D." is a well-crafted album with a heavy dose of guest appearances, including Lil Wayne, Nelly Furtado, Beanie Sigel and E-40. With his hoarse delivery, the Game's lyrical flow is strong and on par with some of hip-hop's best, such as Wayne, Rick Ross and Drake. He meshes well with Chris Brown on the album's slow-tempo single, "Pot of Gold."
But it's Game's show, and he shines. He raps with aggression and displays a brash demeanor on top-notch tracks served up by Dre, The Neptunes, No I.D. and Cool & Dre.
Game raps about how he has matured since his drug-toting days on the DJ Premier-produced "Born in the Trap." He also touches on the violence in Los Angeles urban neighborhoods on the cinematic "Ricky," which uses dialogue taken from the 1987 movie "Boyz N the Hood."
There are other tracks on "R.E.D." that are worth a listen, such as "Good Girls Go Bad," featuring Drake, "Speakers on Blast," including E-40 and Big Boi, and "Mama Knows" with Nelly Furtado.
Game doesn't steer away from his reputation of being a notorious name-dropper on this album, dropping references to numerous famous faces, including LeBron James, Betty White and President Barack Obama. There aren't too many rappers who can pull this off, but Game has made it effective trademark.
In all, "R.E.D." is one of Game's most balanced albums since his debut in 2005. After four albums, he continues to prove that he is a dominating force from the West Coast.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On "The City," featuring newcomer Kendrick Lamar, The Game raps with fervent attitude and declares himself as one of best rappers of all time, along with the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z and Nas — "in no particular order," he notes.
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