Five Best Songs From Game’s Debut Album ‘The Documentary’
In the mid to late '90s, the West Coast rap scene experienced a seemingly abrupt fall from grace. The death of Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre breaking ties with Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg defecting to No Limit Records all had a domino affect on the region.
Growing up in Compton, California and raised on the homegrown sounds of N.W.A., Death Row, Ice Cube, and everything in between, rapper Game soaked it all up like a musical sponge, idolizing his neighborhood's hip-hop forefathers. After a near-death experience, the Compton rhymer decided to step away from the streets and try his hand at rapping. In a few short years, he quickly build a buzz and caught the ear of Dr. Dre who later signed him to his label Aftermath Records.
On Jan. 18, 2005, Game released his debut album, 'The Documentary.' The collection reached atop of the Billboard 200 chart, moving nearly 600,000 units in its first week of release. The LP went on to sell over five million copies worldwide and established Game as the undisputed prince of the West Coast.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of this widely-regarded masterpiece. So it was only right we give it a spin and select the five best songs from the album. Check it out below.
Rapper Game and 50 Cent's collaborative effort 'How We Do' was arguably the hottest song of 2005. Released as the second single from 'The Documentary,' the song was an inescapable radio smash, peaking in the top five of the Billboard music charts. The Game comes correct on the song, but Fif shines brightest on here with his addictive presence and charisma. Produced by Dr. Dre, 'How We Do' signaled Game's official arrival in the rap game.
Originally a mixtape cut, 'Westside Story' was revamped for Game's debut album and was picked to kick the album off. Co-produced by Dr. Dre and Scott Storch, the track is powered by a sinister organ, haunting keys and thumping drum kicks. On the song, 50 Cent is stuck on hook duties, while Game pays homage to his gang-banging comrades worldwide, including "crip n----s, Blood n----s, Esés, Asians/Dominicans, Puerto Ricans white boys, Jamaicans...," among others. Laying down three proficient verses and taking shots at everyone from Jay Z to DJ Pooh, the Compton spitfire makes it clear that he was playing for keeps with this memorable, banging track.
'Put You On The Game' is the prototypical club banger. Produced by Timbaland, the song features booming bass, hard drums and a call-and-response hook that immediately catches your ear. Game completely murks the track with a myriad of bruising metaphors. "Chain smoking purple haze, this ain't another one of those, this the rebirth of Dre / The rebirth of L.A., the rebirth of hip-hop, another memorial for Makaveli and Big Pop," he raps. Game paints the club red and exudes a ton of bravado on this infectious song.
A fan-favorite on 'The Documentary,' 'Hate It Or Love It' is the best of Game and 50 Cent's various collaborations on the album. Fiddy kicks the song off with these four memorable bars: "Coming up, I was confused, my momma kissing / confused as curse coming up in this cold world / daddy ain't around, probably out committing felony's / my favorite rapper used to say 'check, check out my melody." Produced by Cool & Dre, the track is powered by a sample of The Trammps' 1972 tune 'Rubber Band,' and will take listeners back to a special moment in time.
Overall, 'The Documentary' is crammed with several standout tracks, but there's something special about 'Dreams' that sets it apart from the other songs. The Kanye West-produced single hits home with many rap heads for its underlying motivational message of pushing against adversity.
"I woke up out that coma, 2001, 'bout the time Dr. Dre dropped '2001' / three years later, the album is done, Aftermath presents 'N---- With a Attitude, Volume One'," raps Game. Elsewhere, the 35-year-old rhymer recalls the ambush robbery that nearly took his life, and salutes slain black leaders and entertainers that died way before their time.
"The dream of Huey Newton, that's what I'm living through, the dream of Eric Wright, that's what I'm giving you / Who walked through the White House without a business suit / Compton had Jheri Curl dripping on Ronald Reagan's shoes / Gave Mike Lynn my demo, came here to pay my dues / Started off with Whoo Kid, then I started blazing [DJ] Clue," he raps. Containing a sample of Jerry Butler's 'No Money Down' on top of congas and guitars, the track is slightly eerie, yet irresistible, making for a superb production that you can't get enough of and the type of song that dreams are made of. Pun intended.