Friday, June 13, 2014

Game Day: LAX


Release date: August 26, 2008



CO-STARRING

DMX
ICE CUBE
RAEKWON
LIL WAYNE
BETTY WHITE
BILAL
LUDACRIS
TRACI NELSON
NE-YO
CHRISETTE MICHELE
RAHEEM DEVAUGHN
COMMON
LATOYA WILLIAMS
TRAVIS BARKER
KEYSHIA COLE
NAS


BEHIND THE BOARDS

J.R. ROTEM, JELLYROLL, COOL & DRE, NOTTZ, ERVIN "EP" POPE,
DJ TOOMP, SCOTT STORCH, 1500 OR NOTHIN, KANYE WEST, KNOBODY, DAHOUD, HI-TEK, IRV GOTTI, AND TRE BEATZ



1. INTRO
An opening prayer courtesy of DMX starts things off.


2. LAX FILES

I had no problem with X's intro, but this joint would've been best as the album's opener I feel. This had to have been Game's first time using the "double time" flow, and in his own aggressive way, he did a good job with it.
*4 out of 5*


3. STATE OF EMERGENCY

"California ain't a state it's a army!"


California love, pun intended, all throughout this song. With the legendary Ice Cube on the hook, you could hear Game channeling his "inner Cube" for this one, but being on a song with Cube will force you to step things up a bit.
*4 out of 5*


4. BULLETPROOF DIARIES

DOPE collabo with Raekwon bringing his Wu-Tang touch. 
*4 out of 5*


5. MY LIFE


I liked and appreciated Game's sense of introspection here, but hot damn I could've done without the Lil Wayne, auto-tuned hook.
*3.5 out of 5*


6. MONEY

I've often said that even when the overdone subject of money is talked about in hip hop, it can be a good thing if done right and not in a cliched form like it tends to be. Game's version, while not groundbreaking, is great, made more greater by Cool & Dre's TIGHT beat and Betty Wright on the hook, re-working Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money".
*5 out of 5*




7. CALI SUNSHINE

This was the total opposite of "State Of Emergency", but not in a bad way. I bet a laid back song like this does sound good riding down any streets in California on a sunny day with the windows down.
*4 out of 5*


8. YA HEARD

Pretty good collaboration with Game and Ludacris. In November of 2008, Luda would release "Theater of the Mind" (his best album in my view) and Game would return the favor by making a guest appearance on that album.
*4 out of 5*


9. HARD LIQUOR (INTERLUDE)


10. HOUSE OF PAIN

DJ Toomp comes through with a good beat for Game to rock on, pun intended. Still all about Compton obviously, lol.
*3.5 out of 5*


11. GENTLEMAN'S AFFAIR

As evident by the Ne-Yo feature, this was a joint strictly for the ladies. It's ok, nothing more.
*3 out of 5*


12. LET US LIVE

The title would suggest something a little deep, but instead this was more of the same.
*3 out of 5*


13. TOUCHDOWN

This was another joint for the ladies and it comes off a little more smoother than "Gentleman's Affair". Mr. Raheem DeVaughn brought it on the hook.
*3.5 out of 5*


14. ANGEL

I liked the idea behind this song (featuring Common), however, Kanye's beat could've been a little better to match what were very good verses by Game and Common.
*3.5 out of 5*


15. NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE

This is the album's most creative song, but still second best. Game raps from the "spirits" of the gone but NOT forgotten Tupac Shakur, The Notorious BIG, and Eazy-E, three of the biggest influences on his career.
*5 out of 5*




16. DOPE BOYS



The beat bangs, but lyrically this is nothing we haven't heard before (and done better quite frankly).
*3 out of 5*


17. GAME'S PAIN


This nice, Keyshia Cole assisted song is all about paying homage to those MCs who made it possible for Game to have a career. I tend to really like songs like this, even if I may admittedly overrate them just a tad.
*5 out of 5*




18. LETTER TO THE KING

Game and Nas bring their great chemistry to this excellent song, where they write lyrical lines to Martin Luther King Jr. in true dedication form. And yes this is the album's best song.
*5 out of 5*




19. OUTRO
DMX's closes the main part of the album.



DELUXE EDITION BONUS TRACKS


1. BIG DREAMS

This is a very good song, but it's nothing we haven't heard before, even from Game. (And I personally don't see how Just Blaze introduced him to Hard Knock Life or vice versa, because Blaze didn't start working with Jay-Z until "The Dynasty Roc La Familia".)
*4 out of 5*


2. CAMERA PHONE

Remember when camera phones were JUST starting to become popular? Well, it didn't take long for hip hop to jump on the trend, then we got songs like this, complete with another Ne-Yo feature. Next please.
*2 out of 5*


3. NICE

This was decent, nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*


4. SPANGLISH

Game mixes it up here, delivering his rhymes in English and Spanish.
*4 out of 5*



Well I can start with my rating, which is no surprise (to me at least, lol). I still have "LAX" at a solid 4 star rating. There's a little more filler (and guests) this time around, but it's not a bad album by any means. The Deluxe Edition bonus disc neither helped or hurt the album either. Compared to his first two albums, this one lacked the anticipation and buzz that those albums had, and even by Game's admission he was starting to lose focus a bit. Sales wise, things were different. While it moved 238,000 units in its first week (a good number), overall it has sold 765,000 copies, not the platinum success he was hoping for. Overall, a good album that could've been better with a little more focus and consistency.



After a good number of mixtapes and constant delays, he finally dropped "The Red Album" in 2011, and that's what we'll take a look at next.

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