The Game doesn’t do things by halves. Not content with having a full album coming out this year [this month’s R.E.D.], he’s continued his habit of putting out extremely strong mixtapes, following Brake Lights and Purp & Patron with the free release of Hoodmorning (No Typo).
The 20 track release, hosted as ever by DJ Skee, features a plethora of names which would make any aspiring rapper green with envy for their album, let along a line-up this strong on a mixtape. And it’s testament to Game’s talent that he continues to shine amongst all of his guests throughout the proceedings.
Whilst Hoodmorning is not the strongest of his mixtapes, tracks like Uncle Otis where he mimics Frank Ocean and Rick Ross and jokingly disses Jay-Z and seriously gives Kreayshawn a dressing down, showcase both his talent and humour, something he doesn’t get enough credit for.
Drug Test could easily be a track from the is-it-ever-coming-out Detox and features Dre and Snoop, Monster In My Head works where it shouldn’t and even Gucci Mane sounds decent [well, by his standards] on Wow. Infrared sees production from Cool & Dre, who very rarely deliver a dude and this beat is no exception, giving Game a beat to work off that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ghostface record.
Even though there are some tracks that are fairly forgettable [and inexplicable B.O.B. verse], it’s hard to be critical as this is a free mixtape and there’s enough on here to indicate that R.E.D. is going to be a heavyweight album. Clink that Candy Corona, Game deserves the toast.
Rick Ross has achieved near-God like status of late in the US, named as The Source’s Man of the Year 2010 and gathering together his Maybach Music label with the signings of Wale, Pill and Meek Mill. His return to London’s Forum saw a packed venue drenched in sweat welcome him with open arms, chanting his name before the big man had even appeared on stage. When he did, gun fingers shot up in adoration, howls of support echoed all around and the party had well and truly started.
Ricky Rozay has many, many hits and whilst his set wasn’t the longest [something those who had paid £35 complained about] it was certainly one of the most entertaining rap shows I’ve witnessed in a long time. Without a hype man on stage with him, it could have been hard between tracks, but he was ably supported by his DJ who stood behind the decks on a pedestal that bore the legend “Rick Ross / The Boss / Maybach Music / Kiss The Ring Tour” and made sure the crowd’s response to his calls were nothing short of deafening.
Running through his bangers Hustlin’, B.M.F. and MC Hammer whilst bellowing out his guest spots on Meek Mill’s Tupac Back and Lil Wayne’s John, he allowed the crowd to be as much a part of the proceedings as he was, nodding his head at the choruses being chanted back at him, wiggling his ample frame to the beat and generally exuding an aura of total control and enjoyment. He even made sure the locals [who had been told to rep their hood] were looked after by bringing out Estelle for a track, though her mic hardly allowed her voice to flourish.
By the time the show was over and the steam was rising from the crowd, there was little doubt that the man who threw his shirt off for the final track, showing off his huge belly much to the surprisingly large delight of the women in the crowd is exactly what he refers to himself as: THE BAWSE.
The Game dropped one of the best mixtapes in a quite a while when he released Brake Lights last year and somehow, over the course of nearly 30 tracks here, he seems to have outdone himself again. As everyone waits for this new album R.E.D., the LA rapper chucked out Purp & Patron and served another reminder of why he should be considered amongst the current greats.
Going in hard from the very start, an early appearance from Weezy on Soo Woo features some nice brass samples after typical Pharrell production on the Snoop-guested In My 64. The standout track comes in the form of Taylor Gang with Wiz Khalifa this time on team-up duties over one of the best beats I’ve heard in a long, long time, by Che Vicious. Further guest spots include Rick Ross, Jim Jones, Clinton Sparks and even Big Daddy Kane, Doug E Fresh and KRS-One as The Game brings in as many of his mates as he can.
One criticism that’s always levelled at The Game is that he doesn’t really have his own style, he tends to mould himself around the guest rapper that he’s alongside, but this is what makes the new mixtape such a fun ride. He shows a playful side that we’ve never seen before on Children’s Story in a huge homage to Slick Rick and Biz Markie beat, a dimension which is as endearing as it is smile-creating.
Other standout moments include the Biggie-sampling Living Better Now, the DJ Skee mix of Black & Yellow, which has Game joining Snoop and the original MC of the tune Wiz Khalifa for Purp & Yellow, RZA’s guitar-led Heart Breaker and the Travis Barker, Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz and Rick Ross mammoth Can A Drummer Get Some.
Whilst this is a long old ride, almost two hours worth of hip hop, it whizzes past and showcases Game’s ear for a beat and now undoubted vocal prowess. If this is anything to go by, R.E.D. is going to be one hell of an album.