As if his critically acclaimed Documentary 2 was not enough, The Game has given fans 18 more tracks on with Documentary 2.5. Being both his first double album and bearing the weight of his magnum opus gives this album a heavy workload to its pre-release hype. After quintessential delays and shifting release dates, we finally heard the album would be released along with even more music totaling 36 tracks. What finally came to light was a double album in the tradition of All Eyez on Me and Life After Death.
“I’m proud to announce to my fans the REASON it took so long to get this album to you … Because it’s a mothafucking double disc,” Game said in a statement. “In a world where labels punk artists to keep their albums down to 10-12 songs … I don’t give a fuck because 2 of my favorite artists 2Pac & Notorious B.I.G. put out dope double albums … I figured 10 years into an iconic career I’d give my fans the opportunity to have one from me.”
What resulted is an album with huge depth that, by all accounts, feels worthy of the deep tracklist and both volumes. Any concern over 2.5 being a companion or taking a back seat is dispelled without even pressing play. Features like Nas, Lil Wayne, Scarface and Busta Rhymes paired with production from The Alchemist, Travis Barker and DJ Mustard assure the listener that regardless of mathematical implications 2.5 equals two in this instance if you are talking production value.
Game is once again able to capitalize on what has perhaps been his strongest skill to date, beat selection. Tracks like “The Ghetto” and “From Adam” lay down high-quality easels for both Jayceon and his guests to paint upon. Where this project sets itself apart is the instrumental combinations and sonic elements it employs.Unlike the bass heavy West Coast calling cards upon which Game has built his stellar discography and list of strong release including Documentary 2, this offering is more jazz and gospel than 808s and boom bap. Soulful percussion meets a lot of soprano and alto singing and even a capella, snapping and pianos when it really goes out on a limb.
The result of this different sound direction is a newfound appreciation for Game’s production ear and more so his ability to spit over different vibes. Not only does the Compton native find a way to craft his lyricism over gospel, he also manages to include an awe-inspiring list of guests who match his tone and bravado whilst never overshadowing the main attraction.
What sets this offering apart more than anything else is how much Game is a stalwart of authenticity in an era where its importance is being debated. Over a decade into living out of poverty and being able to “cop the matching Jordans,” Game is still able to rap about the street life. This includes its glorious triumphs and heartbreaking pitfalls; almost like he is still deep in the midst of Compton and the struggle.
For the second time this quarter, Busta Rhymes jumps on the hottest track of a West Coast album where Game bears it all and talks about his family, his craft and boasts “We me it out the hood, cause my daddy hustle.” Yes, Mr. Taylor may have made it out of the hood with hard work and talent but, these 36 tracks have added to an often overlooked and at times incomparable discography filled to the brim with strong offerings. With so many artists trying and failing to capitalize on reprisals of their finest work and have the breadth of work necessary for a strong double album, this particular release and its quality deserves attention.