Gangster rap never shared a delightful light with most mainstream stations, but in most cases gangster rap is usually questionable when it hits the mainstream market. When N.W.A. released their well renowned Straight Outta Compton album, gangster rap expressed pure dominance in the hip-hop scene out west, but after the death of Tupac the west seemed to slowly digress from this, and with such I was at a loss for rappers talking about gang life, street hoes, and proficiency in the rap game. Dr. Dre’s 2001 was the last well-known gangster rap album, but it primarily establishes itself as a G-Funk album. Then came The Game, who then reestablished gangster rap and molded it into something completely different.
Straight off the streets of Compton, The Game draws in slick rhyme schemes that offer fresh sounds with each track. The Game, or Game (he took the “The” out for no specific reason), begins the album with a hard-hitting gangster rap-style track in “Westside Story,” which is ironically titled. The instrumental isn’t very unique in comparison to some of Dre’s others, but nothing matches that engineering and mixing. Like most Aftermath Record albums, the engineers make a clear and concise sound, and that’s where my love for this album starts. “Dreams” has an odd instrumental but it carries itself with its own thematic elements.
Now let’s skip the next couple of tracks because if I have to explain to you the greatness in “How We Do and Hate it or Love it,” I’d feel bad for hip-hop heads, but to those who aren’t versed in The Game, let’s start with that. Following a number of singles, “Don’t Need Your Love” comes with a pleasant surprise from Faith Evans herself on the hook.
Tracks smooth with transition follow “Don’t Need Your Love” with consistency; tracks like “Church for Thugs, We Ain’t” and “The Documentary” (which subtly exposes this album as a classic). The hook involves analogies that work toward a likely greatness equivalent to Illmatic, All Eyez on Me, Ready to Die, and Reasonable Doubt. I’m not one to be brash about certain things, but this hook wasn’t working for me as a whole, although it flows with ease. I think The Game, like most artists, put themselves on a higher pedestal and that kind of confidence makes me like an album slightly more.
This album hits many marks on the production side of things. Dr. Dre produces most of the tracks, while 50 Cent goes for a featured publicist kind of role. 50 Cent appears on a lot of tracks, whether it is a hook or a verse, and that’s just to spread word of mouth among other sides. What I find great about The Documentary is the consistency in the instrumentals, as well as the overlaying themes. Take a listen below.