Westcoast emcee The Game has always been one of the most vivid at painting pictures of his environment growing up in Compton, California. Whether it be with his globally critically acclaimed debut album, The Documentary in 2005, his sophomore album Doctor’s Advocate the following year or LAX in 2008, The R.E.D. Album in 2011, leading all the way up to The Documentary 2 last year. But none has been as vivid and as much detailed as the Los Angeles native’s newest album, 1992.
Be it The Game explaining on the opening track, Savage Lifestyle, with such smooth storytelling, the savage actions that he did as a 12-year-old growing up in Compton with so many others that led to the L.A. Riots or his autobiographical account on True Colors/It’s On, of a time in his life when gang violence from the different gang colors was present throughout his childhood growing up in the inner cities of Los Angeles County and how it led to his mother and father meeting, which also led to his birth. Or it be the very menacing JP Did This 1-produced, Bompton, in which the L.A. native raps in an Ice Cube-esque flow, “N*^ga fvck the cops, they supposed to have my house surrounded, but it’s not. So I’m hoppin’ over the backgate with my Glock. Crossin’ Wilmington with 1500 in my sock. Look across the street, they runnin’ in and out my spot. Ant on the curb in cuffs and Pooh don’t know what’s goin’ on ‘cause he just woke up. ’Til my Cincinnati fitted walked in and out the store. Ain’t find no drugs or guns so they let my n*^gas go.” Thus making you actually feel like you are actually in Compton with The Game, as him and his crew ride off in his “Cutlass” to avoid trouble from the cops, as he describes a day in his life as a member of the Blood gang when he was younger.
Not just the gangster like days he grew up on in ‘92, but the emcee also describes on both The Soundtrack and I Grew Up On Wu-Tang, the music him and his homies grew up on. With the very continued to build up hook from Lorine Chia, on The Soundtrack, “Cars drive by in the night. So much sound coming from inside. Red, blue flags hanging from the side. So much time went passing by. The soundtrack to the ghetto was “The Chronic” 4X” describing how his mentor Dr. Dre’s classic debut solo album released in December of that year soundtracked The Game’s days cruising the hood in his car. The latter describing the legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan’s influence on him and even sampling Raekwon’s classic opening verse from the groups classic single, C.R.E.A.M. While Game describes the influence not only that Wu-Tang, but Michael Jordan had on him during that period in ’92. Rapping such verses as, “I grew up on Wu-Tang, dope had my shoe game Liu Kang. Jordan 12’s sick as hell, Michael Jordan flu game. Glass jar, Pyrex, obsessed with the blue flame.” and “RZA with the rings, Ol’ Dirty with the stainless. Five .38 revolvers, thirty-six chambers.”
One of the biggest strongpoints of this album from The Game, is that he not only keeps it mostly to the concept of his own personal experiences growing up as a 12-year-old in Compton in 1992, whether it be growing up in the gang lifestyle he did or the surrounding events such as the L.A. Riots, O.J. Simpson’s murder trial and what was going on in the Olympics with the original Dream Team, but how autobiographical it’s. Long time collaborator and producer Bongo, who produced a few tracks and also helped executive produce it, playing a huge part in the great storytelling aspect of the album. Which was the type of approach most Golden age Hip-Hop had.
The relaxing, yet hard atmosphere of the Bongo-produced, However Do You Want, really letting The Game give a truly autobiographical account of how when he was involved in the gang lifestyle growing up in ’92 he moved weight no matter what the weather was. Rhyming, “Flow ice cold, Max Julian on a ho. Used to run the rock, Jim Brown in the snow. Monclear bomber, armor Under Armour. .38 special ‘cause I believe in karma. Double entendre holdin’ your Aunt Sandra.” The emcee is referencing all the different double entendres he just went off on in part of one of his verses and how vividly he puts it together it makes you actually feel like you were with him in Compton during that time period when he was regularly moving the “rock.” Easily the greatest track on the album though, which the emcee really goes off on though is the smooth and even kind of emotional, What Your Life Like. A track where through a series of shout-outs and boasts about himself, The Game compares his life to anyone who takes offence at his success and how it defies his place as one of the all-time greats in Hip-Hop.
With how well put together this album is and The Game gives you that old-school Golden Age Hip-Hop feel, but in a modern type of way with his very great autobiographical accounts and storytelling on it, it makes you question why he didn’t promote this album as much as he did his last album, the double disc, The Documentary 2. Seeing as even with as great of an album that was, it really pales in comparison to 1992. This album being arguably the greatest the emcee has been at storytelling at any point in his career. A near classic at 4 1/2 out of 5, this is easily somewhere between his 3rd and 4th, possibly even 2nd best album after The Documentary and really shows how much he has grown as an artist since than. Especially with his rhymes as a storyteller. The only thing preventing it from being a true classic, is that it feels like something is missing.