The Game and his business partner Trillz are addressing recent allegations that suggest he’s somehow conning aspiring rappers into paying him in exchange for a spot on his SoundCloud mixtapes — and then not delivering.
In a rare, exclusive interview with HipHopDX, the veteran rapper explained his motive behind his side hustle and emphatically denied there’s anything mischievous going on behind the scenes. Instead, he believes the allegations stem from unrealistic expectations.
“Trillz came to me and said he had a unique opportunity for underground artists,” the multi-platinum OG tells DX. “I was once an underground artist, so I understand it. No one services underground artists and unsigned artists in the manner that he and I do. No one cares, right? You find Lil Baby by chance and he blows up, but what about everybody else? So what Trillz has created with me and other artists is just a sort of engine to power you in the early stages of your career. What it would have meant to me to have a video drop from Ludacris in the beginning of my career.
“If I could have Ludacris say, ‘Hey yo, this is Game right here and yo, Game about to drop some fire,’ or whatever Ludacris would say, that would help me in my hood with my homies. They’d be like, ‘Yo, Game knows Ludacris’ and it would make me cool, but it would not catapult me to the top of Hip Hop’s elite. I still have work to do, I still have raps to write, I still have to prove that I’m the shit in my neighborhood.”
He continued, “So when someone that doesn’t happen with some unsigned artists, well that person is mad, right? Because they thought that this drop or this mixtape slot was going to change their lives, when in reality it’s just a step on the ladder. Use it as you may and get as much as you can off of it, but it’s not going to make you DaBaby. Basically, I’m just trying to uplift artists with dope opportunities.”
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When asked where Trillz thinks the allegations come from, he suggested it’s all an attempt at a smear campaign.
“It was a group of people who at first loved the services that were going on and they wanted to get involved with it, with their PR behind it,” he says. “And we respectfully declined and they said, ‘Oh really? Watch us demolish what you got working.’ And that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Game is also well aware how the music industry works these days, adding, “You still have to have personality. Most of these artists have to be super cosigned, right? And then also have to have personality. It’s more personality than it is the music these days, especially with everyone damn near sounding the same. When I came out, Rick Ross didn’t sound like Game. Game didn’t sound like Kanye, Kanye didn’t sound like a fucking Cam’ron. Cam’ron didn’t sound like Jeezy. And Jeezy didn’t sound like Gucci Mane. These days, not to call what anybody’s doing repetitive or anything like that, but it’s a bunch of copy me’s.
“If that’s the formula for the generation, let it be the formula. Right? But it takes a lot more to be an artist these days, as far as visual, you have to have it. You got to blow up on Instagram and to do that, people have to follow the personality. Right? It would be the difference between Rah Digga who was actually an MC and then Saweetie, right. Because Saweetie is a fucking superstar. But is she as lyrically inclined as Rah Digga or Lauryn Hill? Probably not, but still respected in her own way.”
Ultimately though, Game says it’s up to the individual artist on how they choose to use an intro, drop or feature from him.
“When someone calls Trillz and they say, ‘Oh, we want Game to do a video drop,’ and say, ‘Yo, this is my song, ‘Fly on the Wall’ and I get on my phone and I do the video drops for ‘Fly on the Wall,’ you gotta take that video drop you paid for and do whatever it is that you do with it, right?” he says. “Like me and you, we pull up to McDonald’s. We know the new McRib is back and we drive up to McDonald’s. We got in our car, we drove through the drive through, we ordered the food, we gave them our money and then we get the McRib, but one of us doesn’t like it. So you throw yours out the window and mine is good. What do we do? You go run and say, ‘Hey, McDonald’s is fucking trash.’ If you want to, you can. But me, I had a different experience from you and I fucking enjoyed my McRib.
“So it’s just that. You can’t make everybody happy. And then again, people think that paying a few hundred dollars for a video drop is going to make them fucking Lionel Richie. Come on, let’s be real. That’s not a reality. I wouldn’t even expect it to happen that way for me. It didn’t happen that way for me, but I do know that if I had the internet and if I had access to certain artists and they were willing to for 500 bucks, give me a drop, I know what that would have did on my block with my homies, and that would’ve just helped motivate me to even go it harder. You still have to do all the work. You still have to respect the levels of your climb, right?”
Game’s recent Instagram Stories have been populated by posts from several rappers thanking the Compton native for his contributions to their craft. But according to the Instagram post that started all of this, there are several others who are upset with the results. “He doesn’t upload on his verified SoundCloud account, he uploads on a separate account with only 266 followers,” the post claimed in part. “In addition, he doesn’t market it on Instagram or Facebook, nor makes an appearance on any on the songs.”
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But Game understands, saying, “I can see why some artists are like, ‘Oh, fuck this.’ Because of course it didn’t make them famous. Of course it didn’t make us go, ‘Oh, we’re going to cover you now because you have The Game,’ but there’s 100,000 who are saying thank you. But you know what the negative media does, because they would do the same thing for people reading it as they would do for me and you.
“If you posted an article right now that said ‘French Montana helps out needy children in Africa,’ I would be like, ‘That’s sweet. That’s sweet’ and I would fucking keep scrolling. If you post ‘French Montana socks a kid in Africa,’ I’m clicking on that because I want to see if there’s a video. We can’t help our human nature. So of course the negative stories are going to fucking have that type of impact.”
Trillz makes sure to point out, “If you go on Game’s bio, he puts every tape that he’s ever dropped in his bio. He’s also done videos, letting people know that, ‘Hey, listen, new tape out now click link in bio. Shout out to dada, dada, dada.’ So at the end of the day, to me a scam is if I pay you guys for a post and they don’t post it, you know what I mean? Right. That’s a scam. This is just 1000 percent a smear campaign.”
Game also acknowleges negative press sometimes comes with the territory, so he isn’t letting it bother him — he just wants his side of the story out there.
“When I read in the headlines, ‘Game is scamming’ — that shit is crazy,” he says. “People make me look like a fucking Somalian pirate or some shit. I’m sitting in my bed and I’m just like, ‘What? Scamming who? What the fuck?’ Me, I’ll just delete them. I just scroll on and be like, ‘Well, fuck it. I guess I’m a scammer this week.’
“You can’t let that shit get you down. And I wish I could spread the message to some of the female artists who are flourishing like the Cardi Bs or Nicki Minajs, so they don’t take it seriously. I’m like, ‘Damn Cardi, if you just didn’t give a fuck about this, it wouldn’t…you wouldn’t give it no power. You have to take the power out of shit.”
Despite the allegations, Game is focused on his next moves, which apparently involves him coming out of rap retirement and dropping another album.
“It fucking sucks there’s no real substance in music anymore, but we have to go through it until it’s fruitful again,” he says. “Logic is working with Madlib. And of course, Kendrick and Cole, and then I’m coming back again. Shit’s coming.
“Kendrick and J. Cole can only sit quiet for so long, so you’ll get some good shit. And again, I like the fucking Polo Gs, the Pooh Shiestys, and of course Lil Baby, I love it. I’m in my car, I throw on Lil Baby, but everybody’s not Lil Baby. So again, we got to pick and choose what has substance.”