Game’s fourth album, “The R.E.D. Album,” took about two years and a slew of scrapped release dates to make it into stores. But it all paid off for the rapper, as the disc bowed at No. 1 with 98,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
This is the third No. 1 debut for the Compton rapper, after 2005's "The Documentary" and 2007's "Doctor's Advocate." His last album, 2008’s "LAX," debuted at No. 2 after the disc moved 239,000 units.
Game also released a companion book, “The Making of Game's The R.E.D. Album,” that documents the constant delays and working with Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross and Pharrell for the project.
Though his tally was enough to knock Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" out of the top slot -- the duo sits at No. 2 after moving 94,000 additional copies -- the rapper shouldn’t get too comfortable in his position, as another MC is set to take the throne. Lil Wayne's highly anticipated "Tha Carter IV," which was released Monday, is being projected to sell upward of 850,000 copies, according to Billboard.
Other notes from this week's chart:
Has any rapper ever been less concerned with his marketing appeal than Game? Since emerging in 2005 with his hit major-label debut, “The Documentary,” this Compton native has used his celebrity as a kind of bully’s-victim pulpit, laying out his grievances against an ever-widening circle of haters and manipulators. Yet for all the pity he seems to expect — for a troubled childhood, for his legal woes, for the disrespect of the music industry — Game rarely passes up an opportunity to appear more unsympathetic, be it through his exhausting name-dropping or his often groundless braggadocio. If he didn’t keep reminding you, you’d never know you were supposed to feel sorry for him.
Basketball and rap music have been intertwined since the days of Kurtis Blow. As the shibboleth goes: Rappers want to be ballers, ballers want to be rappers, and occasionally, Shaquille O' Neal accomplishes both. Then again, it helps when you can get the Notorious B.I.G. on a track (or a vintage Jay-Z verse or beats and rhymes courtesy of Mobb Deep).
It's probably for the best that Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown and Ron Artest steer clear of the mike in the video for "Purp & Yellow," Game and Snoop Dogg's interpretation of Wiz Khalifa's ode to the colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. With the second half of the season starting Tuesday, the erratic Lakers need all the encouragement they can get, considering the Eastern Conference is the deepest it's been since O' Neal was in Orlando.
Beyond an infectious Stargate beat, the genius of Khalifa's song is that it's essentially open-source, paving the way for remixes by rapper fans of the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and the Northwestern Wildcats (courtesy of the great Chet Haze). Khalifa and Snoop have been collaborating of late, so the remix has a natural feel to it (also, because Wiz is inevitably massively influenced by Snoop). But Jayceon Taylor drops a scene-stealing verse, rapping in tricky double-time signatures and continuing a recent hot streak.
Last week, Game gave away "Purp & Patron," his third mixtape in the last nine months. Today he's offering "The Hangover," comprised of tracks that didn't make the cut of its 29-song predecessor. Presumably, Jayceon Taylor is massively inspired by the editing decisions employed in Olivier Assayas' Carlos the Jackal biopic -- after all, Ilich Sanchez may be the last remaining person who hasn't yet collaborated with the Compton rapper.
The Interscope-signed rapper has claimed in interviews that the tape has been downloaded more than a million times in just one week. Ernst & Young has yet to confirm. At the very least, it's recommended that you at least download Hip Hop Is Read's "Purp & Patron Single Shot," a fine distillation of the sprawling tape's best moments.
In the interest of promoting his new tape and dispelling rumors surrounding his much-delayed "R.E.D." album, Game spoke with Pop & Hiss.
How do you think this mixtape stacks up and stands out compared to the other ones you've released over the last nine months?
I think that this is the best mixtape I've ever put out. Period. It's all positive, no beef, lots of guest appearances from my friends on and off the mike. And even Funkmaster Flex came in and did drops. Everyone's on there.
So what's the deal with "The Hangover" tape? Were these all songs initially intended for "R.E.D.?"
There were songs that didn't make the cut of "Purp & Patron." There were just too many songs and the decision to make it two CDs came at the last minute. We had a conversation about it on Friday and then the changes were made a few hours later and it was released.
Released in union with longtime collaborator DJ Skee, "Purp & Patron" is the erstwhile Jayceon Taylor's third mixtape in the last nine months. Combined and scattered amid all the compulsive name-drops, '93 West Coast posturing and abhorrent Kardashian family drops, is something very good. Maybe not as excellent as his steroid-era classic, "The Documentary," or the jilted lunacy of "Doctor's Advocate," but rock solid nonetheless. Far from revolutionary, but a nice addition to a deceptively estimable catalog.
When I interviewed Game in early June for a forthcoming story in the print edition, he assured me that he would make the July release date for "The R.E.D. Album." That month has come and gone and Jayceon Taylor still lacks a concrete time line for the roll-out of his much-delayed fourth studio record.
In the interim, he's continued to record at his typically breakneck pace -- issuing the "Brake Lights" mixtape in conjunction with his longtime partner DJ Skee. Like the pair's recent "The Red Room" mixtape, Game has wrangled a star-studded cast, including Busta Rhymes, Nas, Akon, Rick Ross, T.I., Robin Thicke and Snoop Dogg.
In typical Game fashion, the subject matter stays bent toward classic West Coast gangsta themes: gang-banging, fast cars and faster women. Of course, it also concerns his favorite topic: the Game himself.
For those nostalgic for the summers of old when Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg owned the dial, this is one of the better substitutes around. A nice complement to Freddie Gibbs' recent "Str8 Killa No Filla" mixtape and proof that even if his album's delays could drive a sane person to repeat "red rum," the Game's still on.
Download: (via XXL)
ZIP: The Game -- "Brake Lights" mixtape (left click)
-- Jeff Weiss
No genre evolves faster than hip-hop. One summer auto-tune is ubiquitous -- by Halloween it’s a punch line faster than you can say Ron Browz. Understandably, there’s something refreshingly anachronistic about The Game. No matter what trend or topic tyrannizes the terrestrial airwaves, Compton-raised Jayceon Taylor keeps paying homage to vintage West Coast gangsta rap, thematically laser-focused on women, weed, guns and gangs, and dropping more names than a Page Six column.
Released Monday, his latest mixtape, “The Red Room,” finds Game being Game, with self-explanatory tracks including “Revolver or the Semi,” “Real Gangstas,” “Lowrider” and “Slangin Rocks.” Pairing with his longtime collaborator DJ Skee, Taylor flexes his formidable if not familiar rhyme style, joined by bold-faced names such as Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Lil Wayne, Pharrell, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Jim Jones and Bizzy Bone. Never one for moderation, the mixtape commences with the 20-minute freestyle, “400 Bars (The Skeemix)” on which Game flows over everything from old classics, such as Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day" and Chef Raekwon’s “Ice Cream," to his peer's Clipse’s “Popular Demand (Popeyes)” and Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”