West Coast rap is enjoying somewhat of a mini renaissance in recent months. Standout albums from Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar have yielded positive responses, but this has failed to match up in sales. West Coast juggernaut Game hopes to buck this trend with his last, much delayed album on Interscope: The R.E.D Album.
The first noticable thing about the LP is the staggering number of guest appearances. Established stars such as Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne join newcomers in the form of Tyler the Creator and Kendrick Lamar. Indeed, only 4 of the 21 tracks have no features at all. This, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing. Game is famed for his name dropping and has produced three well received albums using the same guest-heavy framework. In addition, Dre provides four skits narrating his former protege's life and career. This is a nice, if slightly unnecessary touch. It seems as if Game is taunting his detractors by showing them the newly repaired relationship with his mentor. Dre also pops up as a rapper on 'Drug Test', a decent banger, if a little on the short side. Snoop Dogg also features with a somewhat random 4 lines halfway through the song. It appears as if the track was rushed, relying on the big names to pull it through.
The album opener 'The City' is the strongest track on the LP. Game is on fire as he spits viscous, hungry lines, boldly proclaiming: 'The best the West has ever seen, no disrespect to Calvin'.
Another superb track is the Lil Wayne/ Tyler the Creator assisted 'Martians vs Goblins'. Game has always been adept at imitating other rappers flows, and this proves to be the case as he copies with Tyler's playful, violent delivery, taunting Rhianna and Erica Badu. Tyler reserves the best lines for himself, even mocking Game on his own song: 'Tyler: Wolfgang, we rock, crack rock and that shit was expected/ Like Jayceon whenever he name drop/ Game: Fuck you Tyler.'
Also noteworthy are the Blood celebrating 'Red Nation', wisely keeping Lil Wayne on the hook, and 'Ricky', based on the slain character from Boyz in the Hood.
Less impressive, however, are a few too many forgettable R 'n' B flavoured tracks, such as 'Hello' featuring Lloyd and 'Mama Knows' with Nelly Furtado. Better efforts are 'Good Girls Go Bad', assisted by Drake and the single 'Pot of Gold', which is carried by a strong hook from Chris Brown while Game reminisces about his life thus far. Rick Ross and Beanie Sigel are in impressive form on 'Heavy Artillery', as is Young Jeezy on 'Paramedics', whetting appetites for Thug Motivation 103. A DJ Premier collaboration on 'Born in the Trap' is one of the strongest offerings on the album, with Game rapping unassisted and uninterrupted over a classic beat: 'Just had a daughter almost named her Patrina/ If I raise her right then maybe she can take over FEMA/ Spike Lee in New Orleans shooting documentaries/ And Game still in Cali eating off the Documentary.'
Track by Track:
- Dr. Dre Intro
- The City ft. Kendrick Lamar 9/10
- Drug Test ft. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Sly 7/10
- Martians Vs Goblins ft. Lil Wayne and Tyler The Creator 8/10
- Red Nation ft. Lil Wayne 8/10
- Dr. Dre 1
- Good Girls Go Bad ft. Drake 7/10
- Ricky 7/10
- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 7/10
- Heavy Artillery ft. Rick Ross and Beanie Sigel 7/10
- Paramedics ft. Young Jeezy 7/10
- Speakers On Blast ft. Big Boi and E-40 8/10
- Hello ft. Lloyd 5/10
- All The Way Gone ft. Mario and Wale 6/10
- Pot of Gold ft. Chris Brown 7/10
- Dr. Dre 2
- All I Know 6/10
- Born In The Trap 8/10
- Mama Knows ft. Nelly Furtado 6/10
- California Dream 6/10
- Dr Dre Outro
As usual with a Game album, there are too many tracks. A more stringent approach to trimming the fat would have pushed the LP into the outstanding bracket. As it is, the project is still definitely worth the wait, and is a worthy addition to his strong catalogue.