Since Game dropped his solid album LAX nearly three years ago things have been a little dicey for the Compton emcee. Despite intoning that LAX would be his last album it took him approximately 17 seconds to start working on a fourth project…and he’s still working. If this was football I’d say Game was a running back who’d lost a step, but despite its name the game is no game (even when Game’s playing it), so many were left scratching their heads at the below par offerings emanating from the Black Wall Street CEO. It …
DJBooth Album Review
Apparently the higher ups at the label felt similarly and Game’s R.E.D. Album has been delayed more times than a prostitute’s period. (I’m sorry, was that inappropriate? Well, Game’s never been a stranger to shock value, so in honor of him, I’m keeping it.) Anyway, between you, me and the several thousand other people reading this, his recent track record made me frankly a little pessimistic about downloading his new mixtape, Purp & Patron. So you can imagine my surprise when I found a pretty damn good project. Sure it’s too long, but that’s why it’s a mixtape, not an album. (It’s hard to complain about getting too much free stuff.) Ironically though, Purp & Patron ultimately raises more questions than it answers; wait, if he can put together a mixtape this good, why had the R.E.D. struggled so much?
Nothing will get your album a release date faster than a hit single (just ask B.o.B.), so it’s no surprise that Game’s lack of recent radio success has meant a red light for R.E.D. When not even Justin Timberlake can get things moving you know you’re in trouble. There are some indications on Purp & Patron that Jayceon’s still got some radio magic left, starting with Ferrari Lifestyle. While it’d need some cleaning up before becoming an official single, Ferrari Lifestyle proves that Game can still sound smooth, and Soft Rhodes, unexpectedly featuring Ashanti, is exactly the kind of thug-love track that can be enormously successful. Similarly, while T-Pain sounds out of place on the otherwise understated Khaki Suit the record is easily enjoyable, and the formulaic Supastar has some potential. None of these tracks are hits, but they certainly indicate that a hitmaker still lurks underneath that face tattoo.
(The devil on my shoulder says it’s not a good sign that the lone Neptunes offering, Dedicated, falls flat considering Pharell’s executive producing The R.E.D. Album, but we’re ignoring the devil for now.)
Of course Game’s fans will follow his Impala anywhere not because he can top the charts but because he can rhyme hard, and Purp & Patron has its moments in the rap department as well. Notably, for a man who’s consumed more beef than Kobayashi over the last few years, there aren’t many shots fired on the project – unless Jay takes offense to the extended Beyonce fantasy on I Just Wanna F*ck. Instead, Game keeps it simple, bringing in some high profile friends to rhyme with him over solid beats. While Game and Wiz’ lyricism won’t set the world on fire Taylor Made might just have more relistenabiltity (yep, I know that’s not a word) than any other song on the project, with a better beat the Rick Ross collabo Ashed to Ashes could have been nice and Weezy delivers an assist on the slowly burning Soo Woo. Of course The Ocean, the mixtape’s lone Dr. Dre produced cut, is disappointing. Dre’s clearly keeping his best beats for Detox, but what else did you expect? Hell, even his version of Slick Rick’s classic Children’s Story is decent, though why he felt the need to put on the fake English accent is beyond me. It’s all just enough to make you believe he might have another Dreams in him.
Only God, and Jimmy Iovine, knows if The R.E.D. Album will ever see the light of day, and if it does how it will sound, but while Purp & Patron doesn’t have me anticipating that classic album I didn’t get on LAX, it has renewed some of my faith in Game. If only he can find that hunger that gnawed at him on The Documentary, he may still be a long, long way from retirement.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 02/1/11
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"On Bail ft. Game, Daz & T-Pain" (2006)
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