There was no question that Game could talk the talk regarding his fourth studio album The R.E.D. Album. The man created an enormous amount of hype and speculation leading up to the already anticipated project by performing absurd publicity stunts and making a surplus of outlandish statements just prior to The R.E.D. Album’s overdue release. The real question was could Game walk the walk and create a body of work that would somewhat rationalize all of his ridiculous actions and believe it or not, the answer to that question is yes. Despite a few unnecessary filler tracks, The R.E.D. Album is a very well rounded effort that makes for a solid addition to Game’s already impressive discography.
Similar to his last album LAX, The R.E.D. Album has an abundance of features, the first of which is Kendrick Lamar who spits fire as Game symbolically passes him the torch of Compton by allowing him to steal the show on the albums first song, “The City”. When the beat goes off during the final minutes of the track, so does Kendrick as he completely kills his last verse a cappella, proving himself more than worthy of receiving the torch. Both Game and Lamar represent their hometown to the fullest as “The City” serves as an ode to Compton as well as the entire west coast hip hop scene when Game spits lines like “I’m sick of muthafuckas talking bought the west died / Can’t you hear my heart beat”.
Game continues to prove that there is life in the west by working with Dr. Dre for the first time since their falling out back in 2006. Not only did the two link up along with Snoop Dogg on the single “Drug Test” but Dre also narrates the album.
While “Drug Test” is an undeniable banger, the joint that will really get you amped off The R.E.D. Album is “Red Nation”. “Red Nation” features a solid chorus courtesy of Lil Wayne and samples Zombie Nation’s “Kenkraft 400“, which is more commonly known as that techno song played at pretty much every major sporting event in the country. While the thought of sampling such a played out song sounds suicidal, Miami producing powerhouse Cool & Dre manage it pull it off by slowing down the infamous riff making it sound like soldiers chanting as they go to war. This fits perfectly with the gang banging blood swag that Game and Wayne bring to the mic on “Red Nation”.
The song “Ricky” also contains some of the strongest production on the album by sampling dialog from 1991 film Boys In The Hood. “Ricky” is perhaps the best track on the The R.E.D. Album and easily the most emotional as Game uses sounds of grief from movie to depict his own brothers untimely death during the final moments of the track. In addition Game also makes thought provoking comparisons between one of the films main characters, Ricky (played by Morris Chestnut) and Tupac Shakur. Game has always been an underrated emotional MC due to his hard body Compton persona, but after “Ricky” there is no questioning his ability to express himself.
On the contrary there are some reoccurring negative aspects on The R.E.D. Album that have plagued Game throughout his career. It’s no secret that the dude has a name dropping addiction and he nearly ODs on The R.E.D. Album. It’s hard for even the biggest of sports fans to appreciate lazy punch lines like “Could’ve went out like your boy Steve McNair” on “Good Girls Go Bad” or “Bust shots in the caviler like I ball with Barron” on “Heavy Artillery” (the list goes on and on). However Game recognizes that he has a name dropping problem by letting Tyler The Creator comically call him out on his habit on “Martians Vs. Goblins” when Wolf Haley spits “That sh*t was expected like Jayceon whenever he name drops”. The rest of “Martians Vs. Goblins” is as good as Tyler’s line about Game, and the track also includes Jayceon’s only acceptable name drop when he raps the line “I spit like I got kids with Erykah Badu”. “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” was also noticeably tough.
The R.E.D. Album contains a total of twenty one songs and if you listen to it in order it is somewhat anti climactic as the majority of the best songs are included in the first ten cuts (excluding track eighteen, “Born In The Trap”). If Game had scratched a couple songs such as “Paramedics” or “All I Know” it definitely wouldn’t have hurt the project. None the less one could make the argument that The R.E.D. Album is Game’s best work since his major label debut The Documentary. However, with his next project Game should consider letting his work speak for itself rather than saying anything he can to gain publicity. This project may have been deemed a failure before a lot of people even had an opportunity to listen to it. Regardless of Game’s behavioral antics, it can’t be argued the guy can rap.