The Game: The Documentary DVD
Label: Universal Music & Video
Author: Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
The Game is one of the most loved and hated emcees hip-hop has seen. In his young career he has managed to get well over 2 million fans, but at the same time he has also garnered his fair share of critics. Yukmouth, as well as almost every bay area rapper and rap fan, can't stand The Game. Game's recent public disses of 50 Cent and G-Unit have also created a group of critics on the east coast. Regardless of which side you choose to take, you can't deny the fact that The Game's career has been led by great marketing first and foremost. While Dr. Dre's endorsement got him early buzz, his relationship with G-Unit made him a true superstar. Interscope Records continues their great marketing plan by releasing a Game DVD right after his successful debut album.
"The Documentary" mimics Game's album from its title to the cover art and even the content inside. These similarities automatically call into question the DVD's originality and even the need for such a DVD. For an artist who has just released his first album and whose rap career has been very short, one has to wonder what exactly "The Documentary" has to offer. These doubts are only fueled once the DVD is popped in as the title menu offers slim pickings. The only options this DVD offers are the documentary itself and music videos. Exploring each of these options offers further disappointment as none are very lengthy. The music video section consists of two music videos. While The Game's young career could only offer two videos at the time of the DVD's pressing, it really is a pathetic number of music videos. The documentary itself doesn't make up for the lack of bonus materials as it clocks in at barely over an hour. The fact that I've bought numerous CDs whose bonus DVDs contained much more content than this release does not bode well for "The Documentary."
The actual content included isn't up to par either. The two videos included are for the songs "How We Do" and "Hate It or Love It" and do little to add to the overall value of the DVD. The "documentary" itself is very deceptive as the DVD is mostly made up of interviews with The Game and his crew. Last time I checked a documentary implied the documentation of an event or series of events as they transpired, not an hour long interview. We do get glimpse of documentary material when Game rides around different neighborhoods in Compton and when he visits his son. Otherwise, the film is a long Game interview interrupted by footage and shorter interviews with Game's relatives and homies.
The actual content has Game coming off as a young man trying to prove himself to fans rather than a rap artist documenting his life. His life story is rather extraordinary the way he tells it. His mother was a member of the Crips and Game grew up in a Crip neighborhood. Somehow Game ended up a Blood in an entirely different neighborhood in which he didn't live in growing up. The connection is his brother, Big Face Hunned, who was a Blood and ushered Game into gang-banging his senior year in high school. Game's story is one which is hard to swallow for even those who are only casually familiar with gang life. Both Game's very late entry into gang-banging and the fact that he lived in a Crip neighborhood and was even in a foster home for 7 years away from Compton, make it very hard not to assume Game embellishes the truth somewhat. Maybe it's these facts that make it seem like Game is out to prove himself rather than just being himself. Other glaring problems include the fact that The Game doesn't show up with his own mother during the film even though she was interviewed for the film. One heartwarming moment, footage of the Game with his son, quickly turns into a boast of the infant's vast collection of shoes, spoiling the moment. While I would love to believe that Game's promotion of his son's shoe collection was a heartfelt expression of joy for being able to provide for his son, it's clear that even through his son, Game is out to prove he's the big man on campus.
"The Documentary" is like watching a peacock flare its feathers for an hour, it's all for show and has little replay value. During the "documentary" you will be treated to Game and his crew constantly boasting about how hard they are, how real they are, and how gangsta they are. Occasionally you'll be treated to Game opening up somewhat, but these moments are quickly garnished with a healthy dose of "Blood for life!" and "I get down for my hood!" moments. You don't get to know The Game as a person and you don't get to know anything Game didn't already say in his album. Game fails to go into anything new or even clear up old matters, such as his involvement in the Bay which led to his signing by Dre. To top it all off, Game's "G-g-g-g-g-unit" chants and inclusion of 50 and the crew make the documentary a dated work only months after its release and make it further evident that this is only promotion and nothing more. "The Documentary" continues the show put on by the album, only this time around it isn't accompanied by Dr. Dre's rock-solid beats or 50 Cent's knack for hooks and cadences, making for a rather dull and lifeless show.
Content: 4 of 10
Layout: 3 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 3.5 of 10
Originally posted: June 14, 2005