Game Interview (Part Two)
In part one of our interview with Game, the Compton heavyweight sat down with DJ Z to talk about his newly “The” free stage name, the status of the D.O.C. (Diary of Compton) project he described in his June ‘08 Booth interview and why, contrary to popular belief, he’s not a big fan of hip-hop beef.
Now, we are proud to present the thrilling conclusion to our interview, in which Game discusses his feelings on going into the studio with such top-tier producers as Dre, Primo and Pharrell, where he places in his own “Top Five Rappers Alive” list, and why he actually doesn’t want to see weed legalized.
Listen to the Interview
Game Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: You’ve reestablished your connection with Dre, I know that you’ve been writing to some DJ Premier material. What has it been like to, A, go back into the studio with Dre and, B, write for an artist like Primo?
Game: Primo is one of the best hip-hop producers of all time, especially when you talk about someone who’s classic and O.G. I don’t think Primo has ever done a beat that was sub-par. For me to have the opportunity to work with him this late in my career is just a beauty in itself, man. I always wanted to work with Premier. I don’t know if I was ready or in the right mindstate to really do what I can do today to his beats. Like I told you, I’m a little bit more wise, I think I’m at the top of my game as far as my lyrics go, and I can write free, as a hip-hop artist and the type of hip-hop artist I wanna be. So, working with Primo has been the biggest treat of the day, outside of Pharrell – man, me and Pharrell have connected and created this bond, and sort of became brothers in hip-hop, if I can say that. But, man, I’ve just been havin’ fun. I’ve been workin’ and people have been like, “Yo, Game, you’re smilin’!” and I’m like, “I’m just workin’!” But I’ve been havin’ fun. When you have a job, no matter what that job is, you’re not smilin’ about it every day, so when you can go to work with a smile on your face and get things done that you’re proud of, it’s a beautiful thing.
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree with you more; having at one point in my career worked for the quote unquote “man,” bein’ self-employed is much, much better.
Game: Exactly – you’re doin’ it your way now, so in a sense we’re on the same track.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. You mentioned Pharrell executive producing the project. Game, how will his musical stylings cater to what you’re looking to do with this album?
Game: Because he has no musical styling! It’s, f*cking, the sky’s the limit for Pharrell! Dude, you think you know everything till you get in the studio and you listen, and you see with your own eyes what this man is capable of. Pharrell is a modern-day genius, and when I say a modern day [musical] genius I mean, I would put him amongst the likes of Quincy Jonnes, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Kanye – if there could be a totem pole, that’s how it would go, for me. But bein’ in with that guy, man, he’s takin’ my music to another plateau. I appreciate him. He’s opened the floodgates for me to just write recklessly to all of these beats that he’s making, and he makes these beats right in my face. Me and Pharrell did nine songs in two days, and that was the last time that we went in the studio. And not only nine songs that were thrown together where I’m on ‘em and Pharrell did the beat – no, nine complete songs that can for sure be somebody’s single, man! So, it’s gonna be hard when we’re gonna have to dumb this album down to 12 to 15 songs.
DJ Booth: Well, let me tell you something: that is a great problem to have. I don’t think you should be worried about that.
Game: Everybody says that, and I agree!
DJ Booth: What led to you guys getting together? Because before this – correct me if I’m wrong – you hadn’t collaborated on one of your albums.
Game: Right. I think, for a while, me and Pharrell have been tryin’ to get together, and I always thought he didn’t want to work with me for some reason, so I always had this little hate in my heart for him, but I ended up talkin’ to him when I was in Miami for a while, and we talked on the phone, and I didn’t have a problem with him, really, and he didn’t have a problem with me at all. It was just timing and label restraints. And a lot of people strayed away from working with me because of my drama, but every time someone gets close to me, talks to me, or works with me, they change their opinion immediately, when they figure out that I’m intellectual as well as street-smart. I’m not a dummy, man – I’m well-spoken, I’m a cool person, and you’ve just gotta sit down. If you don’t judge me, then we’ll be fine. But I can’t say that, because I give what you should judge, which is one mean face, the same mean face I’ve been makin’ for the last seven years. It kinda throws people off, man!
DJ Booth: Well, just so you know, between the two of us, I’ve never hated you – I think you’re a nice guy!
Game: [laughs] I appreciate it, man! That means a lot comin’ from you.
DJ Booth: Thank you, thank you. On one of the two teaser singles that you’ve unleashed, “Krazy,” that we’ve featured at DJBooth.net, I don’t know whether or not it’s because of the Gucci Mane feature, but many of our members left comments admitting that they were slightly disappointed. When you read feedback from your fans who have expectations of songs like “Dreams” or “My Life,” do you take that into the studio with you, or do you just say, “You know what? I’m gonna do me, and either you’ll like it or not?”
Game: I don’t read comments or blogs, because you never know who that person is. That person could be someone in the middle of f*ckin’ Iowa whose opinion doesn’t really matter, or they could be insecure, they could be a fan or not be a fan. So I don’t have time for that. I used to read ‘em when I was younger, and sort of go this way or that way, but these days I just put out music, and you can make your opinion on it what you want. But everybody knows that I’m a real, real emcee, and when my album drops it’ll be an album for the ears – it’s not gonna be no bullsh*t. What I throw out in the streets is pretty much a giveaway. Let it be known that I don’t really give a sh*t about a radio single; I don’t care about a single at all! If it was up to me, I’d promote my album all across the world and never shoot a video, never make 106 & Park, never make the radio and I wouldn’t do the red carpet, none of that. I’d just promote on the Internet, see my fans, go to these promo tours, these radio stations, and you could just get my album, man. That would be my dream: for me not to be a radio artist at all. I don’t like that type of music, it doesn’t define me. It’s just the protocol for hip-hop these days.
DJ Booth: So when it comes time for you to step away [from Geffen] or continue on recording as a major-label artists, is that something you’d consider? ‘Cause obviously you seem to feel very strongly about it.
Game: I don’t know. I like to live my life according to the way that I feel after I brush my teeth every morning, so you never know, man.
DJ Booth: Did you brush your teeth this morning?
Game: I definitely did! [laughs]
DJ Booth: OK, and what was the first thought after you finished putting the cap on the toothpaste?
Game: The first thought after putting the cap on the toothpaste was calling you. That was number one on my list of things to do.
DJ Booth: Well, at least you have your priorities straight; that’s what I like!
DJ Booth: Where do you view yourself within the rap pantheon, if you will?
Game: We could’ve been at odds, we could’ve beefed yesterday, we could’ve had a fight last night. I’m gonna tell the truth about rap, about hip-hop, about life if the question is asked. The number one emcee in the game today is, by far, Jay-Z. That’s just it – he’s number one and that’s it. I’m not number one and I know I’m not number one. Number two, since he still exists in hip-hop and he’s one of my favorite emcees, has gotta be Nas; he put out an album less than a year ago, and he hasn’t said he retired, so it’s gotta be Nas, man. And that’s just for me. A tie for number one would also be Eminem, because of what he’s done for hip-hop. I know this is not a racial music genre but, I mean, no way that a white boy is supposed to be one of the best emcees ever – that’s per the people, you know what I’m sayin’? So, for Eminem bustin’ that sh*t wide open, breaking the glass, and sayin’, “Yo, here I am. I know the Mecca of hip-hop is New York, and this is a mostly black-oriented music genre. I’m white, I’m this kid from Detroiit, and I’m doper than you.” Eminem and Jay-Z are number one, Nas number two, and I’ve gotta be in the top five somewhere. I like Lil Wayne, I like what he’s doin’, I’m not saying I’m better than him, not sayin he’s better than me, I just like his accomplishments, I listen to his music, and I’m a fan of his movement, but I’ve gotta be top five, man, because I don’t think that there’s anyone in hip-hop that could go blow-for-blow with me until it’s all over, until we’re both bloody, in a hip-hop battle or war. I just don’t think that anybody’s stronger than me in hip-hop, and could go as far as I could. Unless it’s a Jadakiss or something, but I’m not going at Jadakiss – [he’s], like, one of my best friends in music and in hip-hop. My top 10 is all scrambled and crazy, but it makes sense at the end of the day.
DJ Booth: I hear you – an answer that is both confident and humble, which is exactly what I expected from you, so thank you.
Game: But I’m definitely not runnin’ from no battles, no lyrical wars. I feel like I could go strongly toe-to-toe with any rapper out there, including the ones that I named.
DJ Booth: Yeah, but, as we talked about earlier, I’m tryinn’ to keep you away from beef. You said you’re at a good place in life, so let’s not go down that road.
Game: But it doesn’t always have to be beef! People mistake the hip-hop battles for beef, people have been doin’ it since the beginning of time. Kobe and LeBron do it every f*ckin’ night – they don’t hate each other! Everybody wants to be number one; it’s a constant battle. Even in journalism – you’re a journalist, you’re a writer, I’m pretty sure that you would love to be the best writer in the world. All journalists, all writers do! There’s a guy out there that mows lawns, who wants his company to be the best, who wants to be the best f*ckin’ gardener! I mean, it’s just competition in life. Everyone goes through it every day, and it doesn’t always have to be considered beef.
DJ Booth: I agree with you. Perception, unfortunately, has become reality, and it does happen.
DJ Booth: So I was perusing your Twitter timeline, because you’ve become one of my favorite Twitterers-
Game: Oh man, my Twitter page is the funniest sh*t since Billy Cosby, man!
DJ Booth: Close second, absolutely. I read, that you don’t believe that you would smoke, to quote, “as much” weed if the government legalized it. So, I’m gonna compare here. I know that I drank more booze before I turned 21 – same logic?
Game: Same logic. You understand it: it’s sort of bein’ the rebel for the cause, man. The legal things, nobody wants to drive 35 miles an hour – we do 45, even though we see the f*ckin’ speed limit, it says “45” or “ticket zone!” We’re always outlaws, man. I think if they legalized weed, weed would be less thought about, less purchased, and not really a commodity, and less used in the world. So, don’t legalize weed, man; we like lightin’ up our blunts and hopin’ that the cops are far, far away! [laughs]
DJ Booth: And having to nervously look over your shoulder every few minutes.
Game: Exactly, man! It makes the experience. You don’t wanna walk down the street to get your kid, smokin’ a blunt, and have that be cool!
DJ Booth: [laughs] Obviously, you’re at a great point in your career and in your life. You sound refreshed, you sound alive, and that’s refreshing to a fan like me, ‘cause that’s exactly how I wanna hear all of my favorite artists sound. So, congratulations on all of your success up to this point.
Game: I appreciate it.
DJ Booth: You’re very welcome. Before we go, give everybody a website or your Twitter account, so they can find out more about you and everything you have goin’ on.
Game: My Twitter page is twitter.com/ihategame. The website is thisizgame.com – that’s where you can get all your Game news, or comptongame.com, that’s the Interscope website for me. I’m not really into pluggin’ sh*t, so you find me where you find me, man, and I’ll be there.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. R.E.D. [is] dropping February 16. Game, thank you for taking the time to join me inside the DJ Booth, my friend.
Game: Appreciate you.