The Game :: G.A.M.E. :: Fast Life Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Surprise surprise, it's another album by The Game from Fast Life Music. They basically picked up where Get Low left off, and if you aren't up on game (pun definitely intended) here's a quick synopsis of their role in this story - actually "Untold Story" to be precise. When G-Unit and Interscope were a little slow pulling the trigger on Game's hotly anticipated CD, JT the Bigga Figga stepped in and released an album of tracks he had recorded when he was a relative unknown just starting to get a buzz in California. Since that album sold well they did it again a couple months after his major label debut dropped, and this time it was titled "West Coast Resurrection."

Eventually it seemed like JT was satisfied he'd gotten his nickel's worth out of the Game material he had in the vaults, remixing the same lyrics with different beats and different guests from his label's roster. If there's one thing record labels learned from Tupac Shakur's demise though it's that you can endlessly repackage old material and convince die hard fans there's some reason worth buying it. With Game's name constantly popping up in the headlines due to his public breakup and subsequent feud with G-Unit, a lucrative business opportunity was just waiting for someone to step up and cash in on. The Game wouldn't be releasing any more albums for G-Unit, even if he was contractually obligated to them, and even if Interscope had new material they could put out 50 Cent could intentionally have them sit on it to keep Game from making a living. That didn't stop the public from wanting new Game albums though, and where Get Low left off, Fast Life Music picked up the torch. Either there's a working relationship between Fast Life and Get Low, or they just bought the catalogue from JT outright, but they've continued recyling the material out. A chopped and screwed edition of "Untold Story" was released, followed by "Untold Story: Volume II."

With each album it gets progressively easier to pick out the fact you're hearing the same Game verbals with little more than a fresh coat of musical paint slapped on, but until they stop selling someone will continue to release them. When Fast Life thinks they've milked it as much as they can they'll spin it off and some other label will take over and fill the demand for Game's music. The Game has obviously figured out that this is watering down his image and credibility, and has started getting his own mixtapes full of freestyles and G-Unit diss songs into stores. For better or worse though this is only increasing the pile of Game albums that are available, as Fast Life has come out with yet another recyling of his verses titled "G.A.M.E." If you've heard ANY of the new Game albums you can recognize the lyrics of the first track "Anything You Ask For," but for argument's sake let's just say "Blacksox" from "West Coast Resurrection":

"Huh, niggaz think they got the game sewed, yeah right
I'm air tight, fresh in them Air Nikes
If the Navi outside, I might be there
Black hoodie, black 9, black wifey airs
Rock guns like Caddy trunks, keep a spare
You see the lump under the Iceberg fleece and gear
And when the beef cook, I'ma put the piece to your head
And if you see a white truck that mean yo' sheets is dead
Then I'm goin goin, back back
to the block to dump the bucket and jump in the drop
Niggaz know I'm good with the glock, they call me Chick Hearns
Cause if the game on knot, I'm callin the shots
I'll wear a shiny suit for a minute like I'm The LOX
Then get gangster with a swap meet bag and a Jordan box
And when I die, bury me with the glock, and a bucket of shells
In case niggaz want drama in hell"

At least they tried to obscure it a little bit with a new beat and title, but the following track "Never Personal" is clearly "Business Never Personal" from "Untold Story: Volume II." Even the second verse by JT is the same, although they tacked on a mediocre third verse from some MC I don't even care enough to look up and name. On the third track it gets positively silly: "Gettin' American Money Easy" is exactly the same as "G.A.M.E." from "Untold Story." It's the same tempo, same order, same chorus, and even has the same guest rap from Young Noble in the third verse:

"Aiyyo, we left a stain on your block, you came with a cop
Pointin fingers at them niggaz, that kept shit hot
Next to 'Pac, I'm the hottest thang out, homey we can bang out
Outlaw air it out, box 'em in, square it out
Learn about your whereabouts and we right there
Me and Game have you left right there
N-O-B-L-E, O-U-T-L-A-W-Z
We bubble with ease, and I double my cheese
I got niggaz out in Compton that'll find yo' ass
I got niggaz out in Jersey, that'll hide yo' ass
for a long time if you ever fuckin with mine
It's a thin line dog between the real and the fraud"

Hmm. Thin line between the real and the fraud - really! Do you mean the same as the thin line between a real album by The Game and another fraudulent one that turns the same shit over again? What really frustrates me is when I recognize one of these songs as two other tracks right off the bat without even having to look it up - "Real Niggas Stand Up" is both "Real Gangstaz" from "Untold Story" and "Troublesome" from "West Coast Resurrection." Do I really need the same lyrics with three different beats? Is there any Game fan hardcore enough to want them all? Not only does this endless recycling insult the intelligence of rap fans, it distorts whether or not any of the other versions were the "genuine article" to begin with. That's also something The Game has in common with Tupac Shakur at this point - only those who have heard the bootleg unreleased tracks have any idea how Shakur might have originally intended his raps to be presented.

Technology has made it incredibly easy to seperate the layers of a song even if the original mixdown tracks aren't available any more, but in this case it's probably not even necessary to do so. The acapellas can be spun out endlessly, and will be. At this point you're definitely better off buying Game mixtapes, even if they're bootlegs, because the next Get Low/Fast Life/Joe Schmoe release will be just the same as the last with a few new beats, new cameos, and if you're lucky one verse you haven't heard already or don't recognize. The material on "G.A.M.E." is now officially played out and the only way you as the consumer can put a stop to this is not buy the next one when it comes out. I can tell you right now that unless I get a free promo of it I won't be reviewing it and even then I might have to think twice. Just in case you wonder about the score I'm going to print an explanation here so I don't have to e-mail it 200 times: it's not that The Game's raps themselves are a 1 out of 10, it's the fact they're not worth hearing the third or fourth time that's a 1 out of 10. It's not Game's fault they're whoring out his vocals, but it is ours if we keep buying what the pimps are selling.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 1 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10

Originally posted: April 25, 2006