S6 E8 | The Game
Often regarded as one of the most talented artists to come out of Compton, California, The Game lived a life in the streets before penning his first record. After being shot five times and sent into a coma in 2001, he turned to rap and released his very first mixtape, You Know What It Is, Vol. 1, the following year. The project was trailed by a string of full-length releases that ultimately led to his critically acclaimed 2005 album The Documentary, executive produced by Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.
In the years since his debut LP, The Game has amassed quite the discography, including over a dozen independently released projects. Furthermore, he’s had his fair share of feuds and controversies with the likes of Meek Mill, Joe Budden and 50 Cent, the latter of which led to his falling out with G-Unit. Game’s second album, Doctor’s Advocate, arrived in 2006 and paved the way for a series of other notable projects that helped build out his formidable catalog.
In 2019, Game celebrated his 40th birthday with his ninth — and at the time, final — album which boasts features from Dom Kennedy, Nipsey Hussle and Mozzy, to name a few. The project, Born To Rap, was an accumulation of 18 years in hip-hop and several No. 1 albums under his belt. Coming off the heels of a brief hiatus and noteworthy feature run, he reclaimed the public’s attention with the Kanye West-assisted “Eazy,” one of his strongest records in recent years. Now, with his tenth studio album ahead of him, The Game welcomes a pivotal era in his music career.
REVOLT compiled a list of nine interesting facts we learned from his “Drink Champs” interview. Take a look at those below.
1. On being left out of the Super Bowl
This year’s Super Bowl LVI halftime show, which took place in Los Angeles, included performances from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and a surprise cameo from 50 Cent. While many online users noted The Game’s absence, he feels that the lineup was “safe.”
“You gotta look at the Super Bowl, right. Hov put it together and so he picked the artists that he thought was fit for the Super Bowl … and that’s Hov, one of the greatest that ever did it,” The Game notes. “Look at what he do for the culture, and he’s always pushing us on them.”
He adds, “You gotta think about the artists up there. Let’s say Kendrick Lamar, right. Kendrick Lamar’s from Compton. He’s from the West Side of Compton, but he’s non-confrontational. He’s not a gang member. He’s safe. He played his cards. Kendrick is safe, he’s not gang-affiliated. He’s Kendrick, one of the dopest lyricists alive.”
N.O.R.E follows up with a question in regards to what song The Game would perform during the halftime show if he ever has the chance. He wittingly nominates his 2005 song “300 Bars & Runnin’,” an infamous diss record aimed at 50 Cent, which later fueled one of the longest-lasting beefs in hip-hop history. On a more serious note, the rapper replies with his 50 Cent-assisted collaborations “How We Do” or “Hate It Or Love It.”
2. On the Navy SEAL Team Six member who shot Osama bin Laden after listening to his music
Years ago, retired Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill was asked by TMZ if he played any songs the night of killing Osama bin Laden. He replied with The Game’s 2011 track “Red Nation” featuring Lil Wayne, which prompted a lot of attention around the record. The Compton native recalls Wack 100 connecting the two on a phone call, during which O’Neill professed how grateful he was for the music.
N.O.R.E joked about people approaching him regarding things they’ve done while listening to his music in the past, noting none of their anecdotes were as notable as The Game’s story. “I don’t think no one in the past has ever said ‘I bodied a nigga to your shit,’” N.O.R.E. disclosed.
“When I got off the phone, I rolled me a smooth doobie and took me a walk. I’m visual so I’m like, alright, so they ran in there, he had a joint in his ear like, ‘I’m ready to go’ after listening to my shit,” The Game reminisced. “Then they go in there and handle the job, get on the chopper, then they just drop a nigga somewhere in the ocean. Some cinematic shit.”
3. On almost signing to Bad Boy Records
Long before he signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment imprint, The Game reveals that his music actually landed in the hands of Diddy, who was on the verge of signing him to Bad Boy Records. However, after being in talks for two years, the two parted ways.
“I ran around with Diddy for two years damn near, and we never went to the studio one time. But he was like, ‘Yo, I fuck with your demo, Bad Boy, Bad Boy. Here go a watch, playboy. Here go a chain, playboy.’ I’m like, ‘Are we ever gonna rap?’” he recalls. The Game later reminisces on a time when the two were together. “He said, ‘You know what I’ve been thinking? You belong with Dr. Dre.’ I’m like, ‘No, you don’t fucking say?’”
Later, the rapper admits that prior to meeting with Diddy, he was in conversations with Murder Inc. as well as Suge Knight’s Death Row Records. “Why wouldn’t you want to be signed to Death Row? It’s Pac, it’s Snoop, it’s Suge.” Ultimately, Game says he went to search for Dre after things fell short.
4. On Eminem
Historically, The Game has admired Eminem’s intricate lyricism and skills on the mic. The pair previously collaborated on The Documentary track “We Ain’t,” and even the West Coast icon admits Em lyrically annihilated him on his own track. On the topic of music and Verzuz, Game shares that he used to think Eminem was “better” than him.
“I like Eminem, he’s one of the fucking good MCs, great MCs,” Game said. “I used to think Eminem was better than me. He not, he’s not. Challenge it.” N.O.R.E interjects, saying Game wouldn’t want to do a Verzuz against the rapper, however, and he confidently disagreed. “Yes, I do. What you mean? Yeah, I do. The fuck you mean? I’m not saying I want smoke with Eminem. I’m saying I want smoke with Eminem, him, and him … whoever.”
5. On his relationship with Kanye West
Earlier this year, The Game and Kanye West came together on the track “Eazy,” which recently made headlines for its accompanying claymation music video. Ye also brought the Compton vet out during his Donda 2 performance art event in Miami, where the pair performed the song together.
“It’s crazy that Ye did more for me in the last two weeks than Dre did for me my whole career. It what it is. And so that nigga got me inspired and Ye gonna tell me, ‘You got me inspired.’ I watched Ye yesterday tell Elon Musk, like, ‘Game the one that got me inspired,’” he states.
Later in the interview, N.O.R.E asks him if his upcoming Drillmatic album will come out on Ye’s $200 Stem Player. “We ain’t talk about that. Like I said, everything with media these days is communication. We gotta talk about that, but yeah I’m riding with my brother. If we dropping on Stem Player, we dropping on Stem Player,” Game insists.
6. On beefing with 50 Cent and being his equal
Amongst The Game’s various feuds with rappers in hip-hop, his long-standing beef with 50 Cent has gone on ever since 2005, with the two exchanging shots via songs like “300 Bars & Runnin’,” “Gun Jam” and several others. When chatting with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN about who was the most hands-on during his artist development, Game surprisingly cites 50 Cent over Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
“When we was at it, 50 was like he wrote my album — like I couldn’t really do this shit on my own, and that really started causing tension,” Game notes. “One thing about 50 is I always respected that nigga panning his melodies and everything he do. And the nigga was a force of nature, but I just want him to know we equal.”
Comparing their beef to the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac feud, Game later states, “To anybody watching, bro, I wanted to die in it like Pac and Big because I thought this is what happens. I bought into that … I just wanted to beef until somebody died.”
7. On his new album, Drillmatic
The Game’s forthcoming tenth studio album Drillmatic is one of this year’s highly anticipated releases. “This album is better than Doctor’s Advocate. Shit, it’s better than The Documentary. I’m not here to gas shit. I don’t even shoot most of my videos. I don’t overpromote. I don’t even give a fuck if one nigga buy it,” he emphasizes. “This Drillmatic shit different. This shit got Ye out the house on some different shit. This shit got niggas moving different. Ask Ye who lyrically is coming out the woodworks and making niggas wake up.” Executive produced by Hit-Boy, the project tops any of his previous works, according to the rapper, with fellow artists like Kanye West, Big Sean, Diddy and Quavo seemingly confirming it to be yet another pivotal moment in his career.
8. On gang violence in Compton
While speaking on the generous amount of name-dropping that took place on “Eazy,” The Game discusses why he didn’t mention as many artists and public figures as Kanye. He states that aside from mentioning Crips twice in the song, the title was enough. “That was the only name that needed to be dropped,” he shares, alluding to the song’s Eazy-E sample.
“I’m talking back in the day, if you a Blood and you run into Crips, it’s no discussion. Niggas don’t even get these bars, bro. Bullet wounds … niggas dripped Henny in the hood and then go do they shit. Might not even remember who they killed yesterday.” He adds, “Gangbanging starts at 11 or 12 years old in Compton. Niggas play football. What do we call it in Compton? The field. These bars … niggas don’t even hear me. They don’t even hear me, this shit’s deep.”
Towards the tail-end of the episode, N.O.R.E also asks The Game and Wack 100 about the relationship between members of the same gang: “I thought the Bloods get along with the Bloods and the Crips get along with the Crips.”
Game responds, “It started off that way. Again, it’s too many boroughs in a sense of New York — it’s too many. Somebody’s gonna feel like ‘Get your hands out of my pocket, nigga’ at one point or the other.” He continues, “Gangbanging has met a different time zone, now niggas is in group texts. The shot-callers are still on the phone, but it’s not happening like meet-ups.”
9. On reconciling with Meek Mill
In 2016, Meek Mill and The Game were feuding after an incident that reportedly went down at a club where Sean Kingston was robbed for his jewelry and knocked in the head. Fast forward to 2018, the two put their beef behind them following Meek’s release from prison. “That’s my fault, too. I thought Meek did some shit he didn’t do,” Game admits.
“I love Philly, I love New York and all that, and I got love for Meek. But yeah, Meek called me on his first day out … We talked for about an hour and he was like, ‘Yo, I’m coming to L.A., but I don’t wanna be beefing with a nigga that I know,’” The Game shared. “I told the nigga, ‘It’s good. I didn’t wanna see you in jail.’”
Stating that the two were in the “best space ever,” the “Dreams” rapper expands, “We talk about prison reform, and shit like that, what’s gonna be better for the youth and how to keep our masters and how to keep new artists from signing these slave deals. Meek is waiting to put his music out freely. I’ve been independent for ten years.”