How many spits does it take to get to the center of attention in the rap game? Almost as many licks as it takes to melt the pop and get the tootsie. The Game? With his numbers, some would argue that's he more Pop but with gritty Compton lyrics, he's reached that prized sweet spot in the rap world. He's only been rapping since late-'01 but his stellar work ethic has produced success to match. This ‘amateur' owns a legion of releases that would make most veterans frown at their track records.
We all know the story. He grew up in Compton, got shot, and voila; we have 50 Cent on the West Coast. Of course the ‘voila' encompasses hooking up with a truckload of super-producers (many from the east coast) and releasing a debut LP that sold over 600,000 copies in it's first week. That's the story; but this is "The Untold Story: Volume 2." With virtually no influences from any other areas, no Just Blaze or G-Unit, this is strictly West Coast G-shit. Like "The Untold Story: Vol. 1," this album was executive produced by long-time Bay area icon, JT the Bigga Figga.
The album kicks off with "Fuck Wit Me," which is easily one of the hottest tracks on the CD. West-Coast synthesizers and bouncy drums make for a catchy beat and potential single. The Game spits gangster raps laced with the occasionally witty line that shows he has a dimension that many of the average rappers don't; a dimension that the guest rappers on his own album don't have. What makes this song nice are the hard yet clever lyrics, a pounding beat, and a fairly catchy hook. Unfortunately, the next five songs on the CD are trying to accomplish the same exact thing. The beats slowly get more simplistic, in a bad way, and the hooks even stoop to the lowly pedigree of "I'm a Mobsta," which features a J-Kwon sound-a-like repeating the title of the track. Most of these songs seem to start with a verse by the Game as he tries to think of new ways to say, "I'm more gangster than you." After his one verse usually comes a guest rapper, that'll sound just like the previous guest rapper, for a mediocre hook and the second verse. It'll make you harshly question the title of the album when it's clear this story has been told a million times by thousands of other rappers.
After that rough start, there are some bright spots. "Just Beginning (Where I'm From)" is a gem and gets points for originality. The bluesy guitars and claps provide a folk sound with a hip-hop beat as Game spits a cold rendition of his childhood.
"I was born in the slums
Struggle from day one
Ray Charles vision
Blinded by the light from the sun
No sense of direction
Made it hard to live
Dad, how u fought with your kids?
Stranded on the highway of life
Left us out to die
Left us out to dry
Shhh..i'm still hearin my mother's cries
Nigga, no father figures make harder niggas
Through the years, I went to war with niggas
From what I saw on the pictures
Now ya son is bigger, 13, look just like you
Mom said I would grow up and be just like you
From what you did to my sister, she dislike you"
"Truth Rap" is another solid song. Game spits real, conscious lyrics that put his braggadocio lines to shame. The beat is drenched with the same Bay area funk that backed up Too $hort for so many years. This track sounded like it took some work but for the album, it seems like a lack of effort translates this into being a less than memorable release. Often times the beats seem unfinished, or just not up to par. There are too many guest appearances by unknown rappers; which isn't in itself a bad thing, it's just that these guest spots didn't standout. The Game wastes way too much time in the beginning trying to pound the same message into your head, that he's harder than stainless steel. It might even be true, but when you say it too many times, you start having the personality of stainless steel, and then your songs might as well be pots n' pans banging together.
If they could've infused a little more of the soul heard in "Walk Thru the Sky" and a little less of the superficial lyrics, then the CD would've notched up a few levels. Maybe if there was more "Truth Rap" than "We Are the Hustlaz" then this would've sounded more like a LP than a mixtape. With that said, this isn't a true LP; it's more of an appetizer before his next big release, so some of the uninspiring music can be linked to that. But there are just enough quality tracks that'll keep you waiting for his next real album, which was probably the main goal of this joint anyway.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: August 9, 2005