Game Speaks on New Mixtape, VH1’s Behind the Music and “The City” Video With Kendrick Lamar
To call Game’s career a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement. In the seven years since he first impacted the rap scene with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent-helmed, The Documentary, the Compton MC has feuded with his share of rappers, had quite a few run-ins with the law. He’s also quite been successful—releasing two platinum and one certified gold albums and starring in films like Waist Deep and Street Kings. His journey is set to be documented in season premiere of VH1’s new season of Behind the Music, Thursday (March 22). Being featured on the historic VH1 series may be an accomplishment for Game, but he's not resting on his laurels. Here, the Compton rapper talks about his upcoming mixtape, why he chose the Kendrick Lamar-featured, "The City" as the final video from The R.E.D. Album, collaborating with French Montana and tonight's Behind the Music episode. —Adam Fleischer
XXLMag.com: You were just overseas in Australia not too long ago. You’re back in the States now?
Game: Yeah. I just finished recording something for my mixtape in the booth with my boy from the Buffalo Bills, Stevie Johnson. He kinda nice, too. When compared to modern day hip-hop artists, he’s right up there.
I know he put out a mixtape not too long ago. Is he gonna be on your project?
It was actually doing something for ESPN. They got a new TV show called Knock, on YouTube, so we was doing it for that. It’s like a day in the life. He comes in my life, I come in his.
What can you tell me about the tape? Does it have a release date yet?
I know it’s going to release sometime before the end of March. I don’t even got a title. Twitter came and just messed the game up, because now you gotta have a title that could trend. With that, and with the Facebook pages, you gotta tie that social networking in with what you name stuff—make sure it ain’t too brash or too crazy or offend nobody.
Is it gonna be with DJ Skee again?
Always with DJ Skee.
Who are you working with on there?
I just sent something to French Montana like 10 minutes ago. We haven’t collaborated before. We’ve been trying to. It’s a little issue in between camps that got misconstrued, so when we finally chopped it up on the horn, we got it all together. Some cats that are loosely affiliated with him and some cats loosely affiliated with me had problems. Nothing but real nigga shit.
You’ve always been a dude with a prolific catalog. You dropped The R.E.D. Album last summer, why come back with a tape now?
We about to put out the last video for The R.E.D. Album. The The R.E.D. Album exceeded my expectations and did well. No matter what an album comes out and sells the first week, it’ll end up catching platinum in the long run, 'cause I definitely have a million fans out there somewhere. I don’t know what they be doing the first week, but my albums always have legs. But just for that album to come out and be No. 1, that’s all I wanted. So I got what I wanted. And we shot the last video with Kendrick Lamar to “The City.”
I just feel like it’s time for a mixtape. But the mixtapes be number one for me. I love to do it. That’s where I’m from; that underground hip-hop is my sport. I be doing it for me, first, cause every now and then, I just wanna put out some raw shit. Then, for my fans, just to give ’em free music and show my appreciation after they purchase the album and help me achieve my successes.
What made you choose “The City” as the last video from the album?
That shit hard. Kendrick got off on that. And I wanted to put on for my city. That’s my little homie. I’ve been championing him since the beginning of his career, and got him over there with [Dr.] Dre, and the did they thing, him and Top Dawg, and now they got ScHoolboy Q is doing his thing; they got Jay Rock. I wanted to make sure my last video was with him so he can shine.
When I was speaking with Kendrick a while ago, he told me that he just sent you his verse, and didn’t know it was gonna become the hook, and then this a capella at the end of the track.
That’s exactly what happened. He sent me a verse and it was too long. So I was like, I’m gonna chop the first eight bars and just make it the hook, and at the end have that whole verse play as if the hook just was continuous. But it’s dope. That’s hip-hop. I’m a conceptual dude, so I can always see through bars and music and cut and chop and make it different. I don’t like regular format: three 16s and 8-bar hooks. I like to do different shit.
You’ve got a VH1 Behind the Music coming up. What was that process like?
VH1, they did a real good job of just being very cool to my family and my mom and my grandmother, wifey, breaking down my life, talking to my homies. We were more than happy to do the Behind the Music. I’m in the beginning of my 30s, and I’m four albums in, which is a lot of albums these days, so I appreciate them even choosing me. All the Behind the Musics I’ve seen—my favorite one is Courtney Love and my second favorite is the Biggie one—those were legends. For them to even want or do a Behind the Music on you, you have to accomplish things. So I feel like that just let me know that that was a marker in my career where someone appreciated my efforts. I thought it was dope, man. I really appreciate VH1 for giving me the opportunity to have my life displayed in the fashion that they do it, because they do it so thoroughly and so well.
Have you seen the finished product yet?
Nah, I’ma see it with the rest of y’all. I might have a viewing party. Just got a new crib with a movie theater. Maybe invite some of the homies over.