The Game Interview
Once America’s infatuation with Lil’ Wayne and the birth of his new album, “Tha Carter III,” slowly fade away, the hip hop nation will gradually gravitate toward the buzz of the next biggest release. In the past, consumers have been forced to wait months (sometimes longer) before another potential “classic” made its way onto store shelves. For anyone who has a calendar and a Sharpie, however, we have the exact date to circle.
In spite of two delays over the past six weeks, rapper The Game will drop his highly-anticipated third studio album, “L.A.X.,” on July 22. Leading the project toward the ‘Promised Land’ is the Keyshia Cole collaborative single, “Game’s Pain,” which has seen an increase in radio play over the past month. Though the Los Angeles native previously insisted that his recording career would end after his third album, “L.A.X” might not yet be the rapper’s final recording chapter.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” The Game steps inside the booth to discuss the anticipation of “L.A.X.”, the influence of his music on the streets of Los Angeles, being snubbed by MTV’s “Top 10 MC’s” list, and why retirement announcements following his forthcoming project might have been premature.
Listen to the Interview
Game Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is the biggest thing in LA since the invention of the hand-held fan. A man who is bringing L.A.X. to a city near you this July, please welcome The Game – how you doin’?
The Game: What up, big Z?
DJ Booth: Everything I’ve heard from you in the past two months, blowin’ out my eardrums. I’m excited about the new project – are you?
The Game: Man, I appreciate it. I’m just in a space in my mind where I’m happy, my pen is happy. My lyrical content and the elevation speaks for itself. I think the last six years has helped me; I’ve grown a lot. [The] first two albums are classics in their own right, not because I said, [but] because the fans and the people have spoke, the critics, and L.A.X. is the third and the last of that trio.
DJ Booth: On your new single, Game’s Pain, you pay homage to just about everyone who has paved the way for you to be where you are today. Who would you say is the person most responsible for your success that you left off of the song?
The Game: Eric Wright. Eazy-E, man. Without him, there’s no me, because I couldn’t re-rep Compton if he didn’t start what he started. And that was what hip hop was to me growin’ up, so without him I wouldn’t even know Big Daddy Kane existed, ‘cause that was me. That’s where music started for me, so you erase him and you erase me.
DJ Booth: Eazy’s influence on LA’s street life was tremendous while he was alive-
The Game: He showed the world what LA was about. The world, the entire world, man. When you can do that, you’ve accomplished quite a bit.
DJ Booth: Game, how do you view your music, in the context of LA street life, when appealing to a worldly audience?
The Game: All I did was pick up where NWA left off and add my own flavor to it. I’m a street artist, but I’m still big and universal enough to hit the mainstream if I need to, and if I need to backtrack, take a couple steps backward and dive backwards into the underground I can do that. So I think that I’m a gangsta rapper slash mainstream slash anybody who gets in my way I will annihilate, and that’s me.
DJ Booth: Okay. Let’s stay local with this next question: being a West Coast representative, wearing your community on your sleeve, what are your thoughts on the current black versus Latino gang wars which continue to claim the lives of so many young people?
The Game: I think, well I know for a fact it’s been on the decline, not an uprising, and I think my music always – not to toot my own horn, or sound cocky – but my music always settles LA a little bit. I know a lot of people in LA are anticipating L.A.X., and I think that’s gonna be on the decline, man. We got a couple peace conferences comin’ up and things that we’re doin’ to try to cut that out.
DJ Booth: Your music certainly has that ability. When you’re creating it, though, do you think, “Hey, this could positively affect what is plaguing my area?”
The Game: I do that without making my album sound like Obama’s political speeches, man. I just go in and I keep it one hundred, I keep it real, and whatever comes across – I make movies for people’s ears, man, that’s what I do, and if people can respect the fact that there’s a message in every one of my songs and appreciate the message, understand it, then act on it, then it just makes me a bigger artist.
DJ Booth: Okay, so the album’s a wrap, it’s dropping on July 22nd – where does L.A.X. stack up amongst your three releases?
The Game: July 22nd, L.A.X., it will be the best of the three, and I don’t have to sell sh*t to a toilet.
DJ Booth: Okay. So are you saying you have zero expectations for this album?
The Game: I’m not expecting nothing – that’s the thing, man: I just let the album grow. I’m gonna give birth to that album and let it grow legs and become its own man in stores, and let it do what it does. I’m not concerned anymore with numbers, SoundScan; if one person buys my album, that’s just one fan I got. Because when I started out, I didn’t have any fans, so I’m just appreciatin’ the fact that people love my music and gravitate towards it every time I drop an album.
DJ Booth: Definitely. Great attitude. We had a “By Request” segment on our website, allowing all of our members to submit questions for you, and out of the hundreds of questions we received, I chose one. It comes from Ivan, from Portugal, and he said, “It’s really hard to believe that L.A.X. is really gonna be your last album, so if you haven’t already changed your mind since you made that worldwide announcement,” and you reiterated it earlier today during our interview, “would you consider continuing to record if, after this album drops, you said, ‘You know what? I just can’t put the mic down?’”
The Game: If my fourth album comes together, if the idea of it comes together the way that I want to, I’ll maybe consider doin’ a fourth album. But if I can’t get in the studio with the people that I want to, and make it happen the way that I want to, if I can’t even get them to talk about the idea, then I won’t even consider it.
DJ Booth: What is that idea that you speak of?
The Game: My next album, my fourth, and then the next one will be the last one, ‘cause I got – my next album was supposed to be this album, but this album, when I started recording it, it turned left on me, so that’s when I came with L.A.X.. But my fourth album will be titled – if it comes to life – The DOC, and that’s The Diary of Compton. It’ll have ten tracks on it which are [unlisted]. It will not have names on it; they’ll just be called chapters one through ten. If I can get Dr. Dre, MC Ren, King Tee, DJ Yella, Ice Cube, and DJ Quik to help me – not necessarily rap or feature or say anything, but to produce, and just be in my corner, and I can document it all and get it done the way I want to do it, then The DOC will hit stores.
DJ Booth: Okay. So, if you pitched that to those men you just listed, what could possibly be a deterrent from that actually happening?
The Game: I don’t know, but we’re all men with different schedules, different lives, and that happening is not a reality to me – if it happens, it will be a dream, and that’s when I’ll know [there’s] really a god. [laughter]
DJ Booth: Does hip hop need that type of album?
The Game: No, I need that album.
DJ Booth: Will it make your career complete?
The Game: Hip hop needs me. [laughter]
DJ Booth: [laughter] Okay; thank you for the clarification. Game, MTV recently announced their ten hottest MCs in the game-
The Game: F*ck that list!
DJ Booth: Okay. [laughter] That sort of answered my question. It doesn’t seem like you would feel disrespected by a television special snub, am I right?
The Game: You’re right, and the people came back on MTV a week later and corrected the list, and I was number one. And that’s just people, that’s the Internet.
DJ Booth: Speaks for itself.
The Game: Experts only, man.
DJ Booth: Out the box, who has the better face tattoo, you or Mike Tyson?
The Game: I got Mike beat.
DJ Booth: Okay. If you and Mike are in the same room…
The Game: Mine’s just sort of big, and it’s subtle, but I think it fits me more than Mike – Mike’s is a little extreme.
DJ Booth: [laughter] It is. Would you ever consider something like that, or?
The Game: I would never.
DJ Booth: Okay, good.
The Game: I’m f*ckin’ way off, out of my mind, puttin’ this star under my eye.
DJ Booth: Well, we all make mistakes in our lives. I’m glad you turned it around into something that you like.
The Game: Yeah, I love stars – the star’s here to stay.
DJ Booth: Game, new album is out in stores, as we mentioned, on July 22nd. Give our audience a reason, if they need one, to go out and pick up a copy when it drops.
The Game: I don’t get into that. You can buy my sh*t, or you don’t have to buy my sh*t. It’ll be in stores July 22nd for you to make that decision with your wallet. If you don’t, then buy the person next to me or feed yourself and your family, and if you do then be prepared to hear a f*ckin’ classic album. That’s just it; I don’t sell myself to people. Hate It or Love It, man – I said that five years ago, right?
DJ Booth: Exactly. Give everyone a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more about you.
The Game: thisizgame.com, that’s all you need to know.
DJ Booth: I appreciate your time greatly for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck, my man.
The Game: Big Z, one love, July 22nd, L.A.X. flies in stores.