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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Album Review: Doctor's Advocate - The Game

(4.5 out of 5 Stars)

"The Game is back, the Aftermath chain is gone..", proclaims The Game on his hit single "Let's Ride (Strip Club)". Many would think that in the aftermath of being kicked off both G-Unit's team and Dr. Dre's Aftermath label that the Game would fizzle or struggle on his follow-up sophomore release. The odds would seem to be against him, but the Game manages to bring his own version of Chronic 2006 that is almost as much a classic as his original release. It should remind vintage rap fans of an older NWA or D.O.C./Ice Cube style album. This is what's been missing for the West Coast rap scene.

The Game does right by choosing an all-star team of producers without Dre in the mix. Scott Storch, Swizz Beats, Just Blaze, Kanye West and Will i am all lend their prowess to this set. And if you didn't know Dre wasn't involved with this album you would think otherwise. Several songs will remind you of Dre's style, explaining why Game says he is the next Dre. "Let's Ride" for example definitely sounds like a Dre beat, despite being a Scott Storch banger (producer of "Lean Back" by Terror Squad). The album also contains the right amount of guests but still allows The Game to shine. On the track "Doctor's Advocate", Game raps to honor his mentor Dr. Dre, despite being kicked off the label. Busta Rhymes chips in a verse pleading Dre to understand the Game's mentality in having to leave the label. "Too Much" features another hot beat with whirling background music and up-tempo Nate Dogg chorus. "Compton" is Will I Am's hot production piece on which Game releases the Gangsta Boogie (making you wish Nas took this beat instead of what he got for "Hip Hop is Dead"). The track "Scream on Em" (produced by Swizz Beats) has a hype piano stomp backing it with hardcore Game verses, plus chanting in the background to make you feel like you're admist a wild prison riot or neighborhood brawl session. Then there is the Kanye contribution "Wouldn't Get Far", on which Game and Kanye trade verses about "women" in the business who are just there to play that groupie role. Kanye's beats seem to be elevating to that next level, making one wonder what he's got in store..

The Game crafts an album full of street metaphors, hard-knock lyrics and braggadocious lines that echo throughout the West all the way to the East. The only knock against him would be his constant mentioning of Eazy-E, Dre, Dayton's and crip/blood gang symbols. All in all, Game is back and can't be touched by G-Unit on this right now. I fully advocate this album as a must have in your hip hop collection if you want to feel the full effect of the West Coast, or hear how Game is bringing it back to rap.

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