The Game’s newest record, the hilariously titled 1992, opens with “Savage Lifestyle” featuring the forcibly controversial Los Angeles MC rhyming over a stormy beat carried by haunting keys and a Marvin Gaye sample we’ve heard three million times before. Like Gaye, we have to ask…what’s going on?
You know all about The Game. He beefs at will. He loves California. He was at one time affiliated with 50 Cent and Dr. Dre. He loves California. He beefs at will. Have you heard that he loves California? Oddly enough, his brand has really never lost steam, yet it’s leveled out with such bland apathy that it’s truly hard to get excited about his work. When’s the last time you anticipated a new Game record? Exactly.
1992 features a true highlight: his ad nauseam name dropping takes a back seat to recycled (but worthy) sounds, flows, and themes. 1992 might have had a chance at revolutionary status had it dropped to rival Snoop’s legendary Doggystyle in 1993. But unlike Uncle Snoop, whose gangster-turned-stoner appeal stands as a viable free pass for sub-par music, The Game’s monotone boasts have no chance at standing alone. “F**k Orange Juice” and “True Colors” are loaded with dopey brags backed by a sample-heavy soundtrack that would make even Diddy cringe.
The Game represents the West Coast as if he’s the only one to plant a west coast flag since Dre and Snoop. Never mind Nipsey, Earl, Schoolboy, Staples, and King Kendrick who are not only putting on for the left coast, but are creating art that shuffles both feet forward, rather than sinking in a quicksand portal that drops you into a watered down version of a decade that helped define the sound of an entire coast.
The fact remains that rapping still matters to The Game. He’s intent on flexing his bar-counting skills at every turn. Rapping for sport rarely feels tired, so it is refreshing to listen to an MC tearing a mic down, which is evident on “Young Niggas”, “I Grew Up On Wu-Tang”, and “92 Bars”. Unfortunately, for every fresh, intricate verse on 1992 there are three tracks that stagger backwards, stalling the overall energy of the project.
For what it’s worth, 1992 will hold up as a fun, nostalgic, and ambitious attempt to pay homage to a formative period in The Game’s life. For the rest of us, we’ll pause this one until the next family reunion, where there’s bound to be a couple of aunts and uncles on one and happy to cruise down memory lane stuck in the right lane.