The Career of ‘Game’

Where it all began…

Jayceon Taylor was born November 29, 1979 in the notorious Compton, LA. His parents were both Crips, and drug addicts. Due to this terrible environment, by the age of 7 he was moved to foster care. Game reminisces in songs how his father molested his little sister, and remembers seeing both his parents preparing for doing drive by shootings. At 13, Game’s brother Jevon who was 17 was shot and killed, and he states that this is the time he really entered the gang lifestyle himself. Opposed to his mum and dad, he joined the Cedar Block Piru Blood gang which was header by his older half brother.

It’s pretty clear how his early lifestyle lead him to what was next in his life. Your social context has a big effect on how you end up as a person, and being born into that environment of drug addicts and gangsters, set the scene for Jayceon’s life as a man.

Hopes of something better…

In High School, Game was following in his brother’s footsteps and going down the very footsteps that his brother and parents had left for him. Things changed for him when his natural athletic ability earned him a spot at point guard on the basketball team. After this, he realised there could be a different life for himself, and starting concentrating on athletics and was a member of the track team as well. Game ended up scoring himself a full basketball scholarship to Washington State University, though he messed it up by being caught with drugs in his possession. This is debatable, as the University itself denies that he was ever enrolled, and also deny the drug claims. Whatever the case, after being expelled Game fully embraced the street life, selling drugs and gang banging.

The night his life changed…

His life continued in this spiral until the night of October 1, 2001. While Game was sitting at home playing Madden, he heard a knock at his door at around 2 a.m. Just thinking it was a late night customer, he answered the door – only to find it was a regular customer, with two other people. A fight  broke out, and before Game was able to grab the gun off his living room table, he was shot 5 times by one of the men. After he lied still and played dead for a few minutes, Game called the ambulance and was rushed to hospital. His wounds were so serious that Game entered a 3 day coma.

“Woke up out that coma 2001, bout the same time Dre dropped 2001”…

After he woke from the coma, Game told his brother to go out and buy all the classic hip hop albums. During the next 5 months, he studied these albums and thought of a plan for himself to become a rapper. His grandmother had given him the nickname ‘Game’ as she said he was always game to do anything. He decided to use this as his rap name, and created a label with his brother. They started working on releasing a mixtape which was You Know What It Is Vol. 1 and released in 2002. After signing with a small label, Get Low Records, Game’s debut tape was eventually found by P Diddy, who wanted to sign him to his label, of course Bad Boy Records. Just after this, he was discovered by Dr. Dre who contacted Game and signed him to Aftermath Entertainment in 2003.

Dre thought it would be a good idea to bring Game together with the up and coming group G-Unit to create some buzz around both Game and G-Unit. Game’s first cameo was in the film clip for 50 Cent’s In Da Club. He made a few cameos in other music videos while he worked for two and a half years on his debut album, ‘The Documentary’.

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The Documentary…

Even though he’d been signed to Aftermath for a few years, Game still hadn’t released an album. He was making money off his image – getting endorsed by Boost mobile and staring in commercials for Sean John clothing. Game was also releasing heaps of mixtapes in this time period.

Originally, Game wanted to call his debut album Nigga Wit’ An Attitude Vol 1 but Eazy-E’s widow stopped him from using N.W.A’s name in the title of the album,. Thus, The Documentary was born.  Released on January 18, 2005, the most famous songs from the album would be the hit singles ‘How We Do’ and ‘Hate It or Love It’, which are probably Game’s most popular and well known songs amongst the mainstream.  The album debuted at number 1, and Game was thrust into the spotlight as the driving force behind reviving the West Coast rap scene. This album is definitely a classic, as the title says, this is basically a documentary on the history of rap. Game takes lot’s of cues from the legendary rappers before him, and implements their styles to create his own. He pays homage to all the past greats, and raps about how he wants to become one. My favourite song on the album is definitely ‘Start From Scratch’, with ‘Higher’ coming in second as a great turn up anthem. Oh, and when he plays ‘Higher’ Live, it’s something you don’t want to miss.

Beef with G-unit…

So everyone knows that Game and 50 Cent had a falling out, but why?

Basically, after the successful release of his debut album in 2005, there was tension between Game and 50 Cent. This came from 50 claiming that he wasn’t getting the proper credit for his work on The Documentary, as he had written six of the songs for Game. Game denied that 50 wrote any at all. This all came to a head when Game didn’t back up 50 when he was in a dispute with Fat Joe and Jadakiss over the lyrics of one of their songs. It’s all childish and stupid, but hey it happened.

Then there was the incident where one of Game’s entourage was shot in the leg out the front of Hot 97 radio station in New York. After this, Game and 50 held a press conference to announce they had reconciled, though fans were dubious, thinking that perhaps the whole thing was fabricated to create publicity for both of their albums. I don’t think so, some pretty personal things were said over the years.

Now I’m a huge Game fan, with him being one of my favourite artists ever. But why would 50 make up the fact that he wrote songs for Game? Doesn’t make sense. It wouldn’t be the first time Game’s version of events and someone else’s were different, remembering back to his story about Washington State University.

The beef led to Game being kicked out of G-Unit, a variety of diss tracks being released by both sides of the beef, and game making his own spin-off diss of G-Unit called G-Unot. I’ll write a comprehensive list of all the diss tracks released by these two in a separate article on a later date.

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Leaving Aftermath and The Doctor’s Advocate…

Due to the bad blood with his label mates, Game left Aftermath and signed with Geffen Records. He released his second album Doctor’s Advocate on November 14th, 2006. Game had a point to prove on this one. He wanted to show the world that he could be a success without the help of either 50 Cent or Dr. Dre, which he was able to do. Doctor’s Advocate debuted at number 1, he’s second no.1 album in a row. The main singles on this are the hood banger ‘One Blood’ and ‘Wouldn’t Get Far’ which has a great feature from Kanye West. My personal favourite on the album would be ‘Ol’ English’, where Game raps about his upbringing. ‘California Vacation’ and the title song, ‘Doctor’s advocate’ are some other notable ones too. It’s important to note that the New York Times said that Doctor’s Advocate was the best hip-hop album of the year, so he was obviously doing something right.

There’s no doubt that his debut was better than the follow up album, but Doctor’s advocate was still good enough to keep Game on top of the rap boards and in the conscious of the people. It’s not a classic, it’s just another good album. A lot of the themes of the album focus on his demons with leaving Dre behind and trying to chisel his own path in the rap game. In places the album is dark and sad, and all the songs are good. The tone of the album is just a bit inconsistent, with songs like ‘Ol’ English’, a song about his upbringing, and quite a reflective and sad tone, goes straight into ‘California Vacation’, which is more of a hardcore ‘Gangsta’ song.

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LAX Album…

So when Game was promoting LAX, he was saying it would be his last studio album – we now know this obviously isn’t the case. Game released it on August 22, 2008 and it debuted at number 2 on the billboard charts. The album was reviewed positively worldwide, though general opinion was that it was the worst of Game’s now 3 albums, not that it was bad. Though I do agree that out of his albums, LAX isn’t his strongest, there are some songs on this album that are my favourite. The most mainstream popular songs on this album are ‘Game’s Pain’ featuring Keshia Cole, and ‘My Life’ featuring Lil’ Wayne. Though again, I don’t think that this album is consistent as his previous albums, the songs when taken as a singular essence are some of his strongest. ‘LAX Files’, ‘Dope Boys’ and ‘My Life’ are some of Game’s best tracks of his career (in my opinion of course). 

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The R.E.D Album…

So after promising LAX would be his last album, Game couldn’t stay away and announced The R.E.D Album in 2009. It wasn’t released until 2 years later, on August 23rd 2011. The space in between the announcement and release was lined with really great mixtapes where Game was arguably at his peak. The album was supposed to be released way earlier, and was rescheduled literally 10 times. This album also saw his reunion with mentor Dr. Dre for the first time since his debut album. It was a return to form for Game, with a few years without an album being just what he needed, R.E.D Album debuted at number 1 on the billboard charts. The singles on the album were ‘Red Nation’, which was an attempt at a hood anthem and wasn’t very good in my opinion. ’Pot of Gold’ was more of a mainstream hit as he got Chris Brown on the feature. I’m a huge fan of this album, and I personally think this is some of Game’s best work. The album title is obviously a reference to his blood gang affiliations, and the album has an almost ‘Boyz N Da Hood’ tone to it. This is especially evident in the song ‘Ricky’, which is a direct reference to the *SPOILER: Death of Ricky in the classic movie. Game talks about this in a wider sense, in that how many kids are the ‘Ricky’ of their neighbourhood. ‘The City’ is one of the best songs Game had done in years, and is backed up by other good songs like ‘Heavy Artillery’, ‘Paramedics’, ‘Mama Knows’ and ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. All these songs have similar themes about the gang life. One of the biggest songs on the album is obviously ‘Martians Vs. Goblins’, with Game grabbing Tyler, The Creator for a verse. The song is actually pretty good, and at the time was one of my favourites. Looking back, this is another attempt for Game to stay current by rapping about strange things in the tone of Tyler’s early work. I think it was obviously an attempt to appeal to a younger audience, and stay relevant. Can’t blame him for it, though it was a sign of things to come…

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Jesus Piece…

Yep, Game’s back for another. After almost 4 years ago announcing his last album, he was back. He announced his fifth studio album, titling it ‘Soundtrack to Chaos’. This name didn’t last long, as he soon renamed it ‘F.I.V.E.: Fear Is Victory’s Evolution’. That didn’t last long either, and finally game settled on the name and tone of the album when he named it: ‘Jesus Piece’. This was the final album before his deal with Interscope Records came to a close, so there was a lot of excitement and buzz about where he would sign. Maybach Music and Cash Money Records were both heavily rumoured, though Game said he would consider going independent. The album was released on December 11, 2012 and debuted at number 6 on the billboard charts, Game’s worst debut of his career. ‘Jesus Piece’ was a cool and original concept – an album about the balance between being a gangster, enjoying life, but also having faith in God throughout. Though you sometimes do bad things, you still see God as an influence in your life. I’m not a religious person myself, but I could relate to the basic themes of balancing the good and bad in your life. The lead single was ‘Celebration’ featuring Tyga, Lil’ Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Chris Brown. It was a huge commercial hit. Some of my favourite songs off the album include ‘Ali Bomaye’, ‘Jesus Piece’, ‘Heaven’s Arms’ and ‘See No Evil’. This was another good album by Game, who had stayed consistent so far throughout his career.

Rolex Records/The Firm/Blood Money…

Game decided not to sign with Maybach or Cash Money, though Birdman did actually announce Game had signed with them, it ended up falling through. Game decided to go off on his own, and created Rolex Records. After establishing it, he went out and bought his whole crew Rolex watches and was ready to go… Until Rolex had something to say about it. After they took Game to court, he was forced to change the name. He changed it to The Firm, but apparently didn’t like it as he changed it again, and finally to Blood Money Entertainment. On October 14th, 2014 he released a compilation album with the artists on his label called ‘Year of the Wolf’… It sucked. There was a few good verses by Game, but his label mates are terrible. It was the first disappointing thing that Game had released to his name, though he only featured on a few tracks. The album is full of tracks trying to be something he’s not. He was following the trends of the young up and comers, and trying to stay relevant through beats that don’t suit him. None of the songs have a message, and it’s more club music. I don’t really count this as a Game album, and definitely try and ignore this from my memory. It’s not bad, but it’s not good, and doesn’t do Game justice as an artist. He seems to battle with his age and as most ageing musicians do, try overly hard to stay current, which he is definitely guilty of.

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Fun Facts about Game…

He’s stared in a few movies:

  • Street Kings (Pretty good, he’s a small time character and only in it for about 5 minutes. He does get beat over the head with a phone book by Keanu Reeves, so that’s cool).
  • Waist Deep (He’s the main bad guy, ‘Big Meat’ and he’s really scary. He’s actually pretty good in this, though it’s a bit of a B grade movie. At one point he chops off someone’s arm, it’s worth a watch.
  • House Arrest (I watched this and it’s maybe a C-grade movie. Actually, maybe D-grade. It’s terrible).
  • He’s also the voice of B-Dup, a character in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • Game’s also famous for drinking full bottles of vodka on stage while performing. You can check it out on youtube, it’s ridiculous.
  • The Game’ changed his name to just ‘Game’ in late 2009 for a fresh change, “like I got a new haircut”. Earlier in his career, he was also referred to as ‘Hurricane Game’ or ‘Hurricane’.

Game on a dating game show…

I really, really didn’t want to mention this. But I can’t do a history of Game without mentioning the show Change of Heart. Yep, Game was on a dating game show before he made it into the rap game. Yep, I know what you’re thinking it’s not gangsta. It’s really not. Game actually seems pretty cool on here, though his girl says he’s “too sensitive” and “cries like a baby”. I mean, i don’t have too much issue with this, Game actually shows he cares about the girl. Everyone knows that guys are a lot different behind closed doors than they do in public with their girls.

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Suicide

During an emotional interview with XXL, Game revealed that he has suicidal thoughts. Just before he was to serve a 60 day sentence for a gun related felon he revealed that he was in such a dark place emotionally and physically due to the struggles of fame, that he almost chose to end his life.

“My life is fucked up right now. I’m in a fucked up place. My fans love me, and I know what they want but in a minute, I’m not gonna be physically capable of pleasing the world with music. Because my mind isn’t right. People are driving me under God’s good earth.” He added, “Sometimes I wanna be at peace so bad that I wish myself off the earth”.

This was some heavy stuff, but obviously Game got through his part of his life and is now in a healthy mindset, though he’s spoken of his issues with Bipolar disorder, once referring to himself as “the bipolar bear”. If you thought that was heavy, this is what Lloyd Banks had to say when he heard.

“I heard he’s going to terminate himself so good luck with that. I predicted that, too. So next time you in the dark and you think about blowing your noodles all over your nice little paint, just do it like Nike.” Ow. Harsh, hey.

Game and (his ridiculous amount of) beef

When You mention Game, you ultimately think of the ridiculous amounts of beef he’s had with other rappers. While I’m not going to go in depth as to the ‘why’ of all these beefs, here’s a list of all the artists Game’s had beef with in his career.

  • vs. Jay-Z (2005 – Present)      
  • vs. 50 Cent (2005 – 2009)
  • vs. Ras Kass (2006)
  • vs. G-Unit (2005 – 2009)
  • vs. Joe Budden (2005 – 2008)
  • vs. Yukmouth (2004 – 2007)
  • vs. Guerilla Black (2004)
  • vs. Mobb Deep (2005)
  • vs. Bishop Lamont (2008 – 2009)
  • vs. Memphis Bleek (2004 – 2005)
  • vs. Xzibit (2005 – 2006)
  • vs. Benzino (2006)
  • vs. Young Gunz (2005)
  • vs. Lil Scrappy (2007)
  • vs. Suge Knight (2005)
  • vs. Triple H (Yes, the wrestler, 2006)
  • vs. Lil Eazy E (2005 – 2006)
  • vs. Big Fase 100 (His brother, 2005)
  • vs. Glasses Malone (2006)
  • vs. Eminem (2008)
  • vs. Ja Rule (2005 – 2007)
  • vs. Jimmy Iovine (2006 – 2009)
  • vs. 40 Glocc (2012 – current)

Such a long list, so ridiculous. Thank god Game seems to have grown up and stopped bitching about all his issues with other rappers. He’s actually become somewhat of a mediator between other beefs, notably the one between Drake and Chris Brown.

What now?

Game spends most of his time in his mansion, posting pictures about how fit he is (he’s not that fit) and how ‘wet he makes your girl’. He’s got 3 kids, King, Harlem and Cali. Last year randomly he just had another kid, it was weird. His 4th child’s name is Madison, and she popped up randomly, though to his credit Game seems to have been looking after her. He’s got a long time love/hate relationship with the mother of Cali and King, Tiffney. They even had a reality show ‘Marrying The Game’, which quickly turned into ‘Breaking Up With The Game’, with them not going through with the marriage. It seems they still have feelings for each other, though Game did come under fire last year for revealing he had a new girlfriend, the 18 year old India Westbrook though they’re not still a thing. VH1 has actually ordered a new series called ‘She Got Game’, where his celebrity friends will help Game “find love.” See man, it’s suspect stuff like this that Game seems to gravitate towards that just makes me wonder. What kind of gangsta rapper is doing this stuff? Oh well he makes me laugh. As we’ve seen, Game is no stranger to tv shows, with him appearing on Change of Heart. 

The next project for Game is The Documentary 2, which is obviously a follow up to his classic debut album. It’s set for release on June 30th, this year. I’m pretty excited for this, and I hope it sends him back to his roots, and away from the wannabe new school rapper he has kind of been lately. Fingers crossed.