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Surprise back-to-back release puts The Game right back in it

The Game creates a potentially classic album

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Album: The Documentary 2.5

Artist: The Game

Rating: A-

Label: Entertainment One / Blood Money

The Game delivers what might be his best album yet in his newest release The Documentary 2.5.

Released just one week after The Documentary 2 was released, a surprise album The Documentary 2.5 followed suit with more of The Game’s impressive storytelling and lyricism.

With a track list of 18 songs, this album is packed with high-profile artists such as Lil Wayne, Nas, Will.i.am, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, Busta Rhymes and more.

The sound choice is brilliant – the lyrics are conceptually profound with a wide-ranging flow that constantly hits the nail on the head throughout its listen.

Beautiful tones of jazz and gospel make up the softer background sound for The Documentary 2.5, as soulful percussion coalesces with soprano, acapella, piano and even some rhythmic finger snapping.

“New York Skit” reveals an odd visit back to The Game’s career when he fell off from G-Unit Records.

“Magnus Carlsen” is layered with impressive vocals from Anderson Paak accompanied by a sense of impending trouble. Arguably one of his best tracks in the album as far as aesthetics is concerned, the thematic and auditory build-up sets the pace for the rest of the album.

“The Ghetto,” featuring Nas, and “Gang Bang Anyway,” featuring Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q have some of the best soundscapes and lyrics on the album.

Conceptually powerful, the storytelling takes listeners to Compton in a vivid staging of words.

“The Ghetto” objectively offers a history experience and puts you in the violence of the ghetto and, unlike most rap songs on the radio, he does so without presenting the violence as glamorous.

“Gang Bang Anyway” bumps a bold message of gang life.

It is a collaboration of Crips and Bloods – Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and The Game, respectively – considering the consequences and expectations of gang life and the violent history of the two gangs.

As this track unfolds the past of the two gangs is introduced - information the average listener might not know, adding context for listeners to make their own conclusions about the gang lifestyle.

Lil Wayne performs the hook on “From Adam.” The song, recorded when the artists were drunk, has an emotional edge to it.

The violence hits home for The Game here as he shines a light on the murder and near-death experiences of gang life.

Documentary 2.5 is the second half of a double album that earns praise with its excellent consistency throughout the listen.

Its quality does not sway as listeners transition from one song to the next.

The Game delivers a crafty use of language, with unique application of flow, rhyme and perfectly used sound bytes to expedite his theme of impending violence – highlighted through a diverse set of reactions and awareness from different artists and perspectives.

This album is both a contemplation and reflection of the ghetto and their influences on the way The Game and others live.

It is a beautiful rendered narration of an environment that provides the content of what much of rap is derived from.

Giovanni Gaglianese is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com


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