The Game is a having a grand old west coast party and everyone’s invited! That seems to be the idea behind California Republic, the rap J.T.’s mammoth new offering that crams over 30 professional practicing rappers and 2 Chainz on to 24 tracks. It creates an intense and extended experience, and what the mixtape lacks in tight focus it makes up for with a successful R.S.V.P. list that incluces Drake, Rick Ross and Snoop. If The Game was looking to remind the world that he’s still relevant, he’s done it by association.
For his part, The Game continues to pack his raps with references to other artists. He kicks things off with something of an ode to Drake on “God Speed” with Mele and then follows it up with the Just Blaze-crafted “Red Bottom Boss” with Rick Ross that has him addressing his grievances with Jay-Z with honesty: “Twenty-second mixtape/ Half of ’em dis tapes/ But fuck who I was dissing ’cause I never made a mistake/ Bleek got what he deserved, Jay I might have been tripping/ I was falling, I was slipping/ He was Jordan, I thought I was Pippen/ He was winning, I was losing/ He threw a jab, I started bruising/ So I threw in the towel just to separate our confusion.” But being The Game, he then can’t help adding,”‘Ivy Blue’ was beautiful/ Me saying that’s unusual/ That’s just the father in me/ Don’t think I’m trying to be cool with you.”
It’s early on in California Republic that Game invokes Jay-Z’s name, but the tape isn’t another installment in Jayceon’s fiery and explosive mixtape vault. The bulk of the tracks are content to aim for a comfort zone of boasts about cash and sneakers affixed to attempts to coin club-friendly hooks. It’s a blend that doesn’t always suit The Game – he’s at his best when he raps from the gut. So on the Neptunes produced “When My Niggas Come Home,” he sounds sincere as he kicks a simple scenario about welcoming back a fresh-out-of-chokey compadre. (If you were wondering, Game sent his pal a copy of Superhead’s book while he was locked up.) It’s this rap-first, think-later mentality that also makes “She Want To Have My Baby” entertain, as he rants on rap groupies and coins barbs like, “You don’t look like your Twitter avatar anyway.”
The lack of vitriol in Game’s raps leave California Republic as a curious release. He’s not ruffling feathers and intimidating other artists as he has in the past; instead, it sounds like The Game is asserting that he wants to be part of the modern scene, not destroy it.
DX Consensus: “Just a Mixtape”