If there is still a bad boy in Hip-Hop, it’s The Game. Jayceon “The Game” Taylor has been a force to be reckoned with ever since he set foot into our culture. His debut album, The Documentary will go down as one of the best debut LPs of all times and his catalogue after that has been quietly consistent. By that we mean he often doesn’t get the proper recognition for his musical endeavors. Instead, he gets put on blast by the media for his run ins with the law, his departure from G-Unit, his reality show life, his questionable past and most certainly his on camera brawl with fellow rapper 40 Glocc. It is obviously understandable that he gets scrutinized for his antics and “instigator” persona but his ability to make highly potent rap albums should not go overlooked and his latest installment is no different.
This past week, Game dropped a new compilation album entitled Blood Moon: The Year of the Wolf. Running out of momentum from his 2012 release Jesus Piece, this album came in at the perfect time because we all know what can happen to a rapper who doesn’t drop something for years and years; the infamous “fell off” status. Not only was he approaching that point of no return but his label had gone through some serious legal disputes and name changes causing tons of turnover. Luckily, lead single “Bigger Than Me” dropped mid June giving the streets what they had wanted for a while and gave us hope for the album to come.
This particular Game album has highs and lows. On a positive note, Game seems to be evolving as a clever lyricist. His bars are more intricate and the cadences are more noticeable. Never once has he had a problem with delivery and song construction but often times he would rely on name drops to make songs hot. Don’t get it twisted, he still has name drops by the pound on this LP but they are done in a more tasteful way with one exception. On the track “F.U.N.”, he basically snaps on the recent G-Unit reunion with no holds barred.
As the 15 track album varies in production which helps Game in a few ways. Beats from the likes of Boi-1da and Cool & Dre are recognizable and more or less predictable but the best album cuts have Game rapping over more low key producers’ instrumentals. Songs like “Food For My Stomach”, “The Purge” and “Trouble On My Mind” all serve as the album’s highlights because of the chemistry. Game is a versatile rapper but there is one particular style of beat that really allows him to shine. The sample heavy boom-bang beats let Game flex his lyrical prowess and harsh delivery that got him to a sixth album in the first place. After hearing these tracks, it is clear to see that Game can keep up with today’s top rappers.
Amongst the good on this album, there is some bad. For starters, the amount of features he has placed on the project is mind boggling. There are only two songs out of fifteen that don’t have features. It seems as if 70% of the album is other artists. At some points you don’t hear The Game’s voice for over two minutes. Not only does this water down the songs but it also fails to showcase Game’s new artist in a proper light. It would be understandable if Dubb and Skeme had a ton of verse time in attempts to make it a label-oriented project but they don’t. The features include everyone from Bobby Shmurda to Tyga, Chris Brown and 2 Chainz. If you’re the head of a label doing a compilation album, the focus should be on the label, not any hot artist of the moment.
On top of that, the album’s title has almost zero affiliation with the songs. Sure, “the year of the wolf” represents his current place in Hip-Hop and “blood moon” alludes to his new label Blood Money, but that is not made clear from song to song. This just furthers the notion that Game selected his fifteen favorite songs from the past year and slapped a title on it. Perhaps an interlude or two would have helped us get a bit more insight into the meaning behind the title.
In close, The Game delivers a substantial project here with a great lead single and a few quality album cuts. Unfortunately the amount of featured rappers and lack of conceptual direction brings down the album as a whole. Check it out for yourself below and let us know your thoughts on Twitter.
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