Album Review: The Game – L.A.X.

25 08 2008


4/5

In the early 2000’s, G-Unit achieved success as a crew by dominating the mixtape and mainstream scene, and appealing to all regions on the map. For the East they had 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Yayo; the South had Young Buck, and the West had The Game. The success of his fellow G-Unit members helped introduce The Game to the world with his debut LP The Documentary. With two mainstream 50 Cent assisted singles (three if you include “Westside Story”), The Documentary received positive recognition and has sold over two million units. Shortly after, 50 Cent and The Game fell out resulting in The Game’s departure and a claim from 50 Cent stating that he wrote a majority of the album.

Over a year and numerous diss songs later, The Game had to show that he can make it by himself with his post-G-Unit album, Doctor’s Advocate. While Doctor’s Advocate was a near platinum album, The Game proved he possesses the skills to make a high quality album without G-Units support, show growth and consistency.

Now that The Game is a respected name in hip hop, he is back with his third release L.A.X. (abbreviated for Life and Times).

Since he proved on his last album that he can make it on his own, The Game took a different approach with this album by including numerous guest features. Some of the appearances on the album are Ludacris, Common, Ice Cube, Ne-Yo, Nas, and many others. A majority of the features on the album, like the Cool-n-Dre produced “My Life” which features Lil Wayne, only have the featured artist appearing on the hook. Despite numerous features, The Game succeeds in delivering an album with a West Coast vibe. A wide range of features can change the vibe of an album if the artist emulates the featured artist style which leads to an inconsistent overall sound. One of the standout features on the album is the collaboration with Wu-Tang frontman Raekwon on “Bulletproof Diaries”, where The Game and Rae drop verses about if they were to switch their place of residence.

L.A.X. has a vast list of producers that contributed beats as well. Some of the producers include Cool-n-Dre, Scott Storch, J.R. Rotem, Dj Toomp, Hi Tek and others. On “Ya Heard”, produceder Nottz samples the b-boy classic track “Jam On It”. The production is nicely flipped transforming Newcleus’ 80’s hit into a modern west coast track. Kanye West delivers “Angel” which features Common, where The Game raps over a soulful Gil Scott Heron sampled track, continuing Common’s “I Used To Love HER” story.

The Game often receives criticism for his excessive references to other artists he uses in his verses. The “name dropping” that The Game is known for is L.A.X.‘s weakness. Though The Game may name drop a lot, he still manages to touch a wide range of subjects. Whether he’s rapping about his home state of California on “Cali Sunshine” and “State of Emergency”, consciousness on “Letter to the King”, or making a song for the ladies on “Gentleman’s Affair” and “Touchdown”; The Game brings his most substantial effort. Another standout track is “Never Can Say Goodbye” where The Game raps as 2pac, Biggie, and Eazy-E, and summarizes their last minutes of life.

Overall, L.A.X. is a very solid album but it’s a bit lengthy. The Game shows he’s been consistant with his albums since day one, and he can collaborate with numerous artist and still remain himself.

To Sum It Up In One word: Feature-Heavy

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