Does Game’s New Album, “L.A.X.,” Really Suck?

Ever since Game stepped on the scene, I’ve been skeptical of the guy’s skills. If he’s top 5 like some of my constituents propose, then hip-hop is truly in the toilet bowl. Cause Game don’t be saying shit when he rhymes. Like seriously, he’s got his moments, but what the fuck is he talking about 90% of the time? I give it to him, his flow has definitely improved, and he’s got a good voice and good delivery, and in general he’s a good “rapper.” But to make him out to be anything more than that would be foolish.

I had zero expectations for LAX. I actually figured it’d probably suck, because well, everything I’d heard was pretty underwhelming and sounded much worse than the couple singles he had out from the last LP (which I actually thought was a pretty remarkable album, mainly because of the beats). That said, I know I’m sort of a music journalist and all (not a hat I wear too confidently these days, what with all the fuckery going on in rap music), but I have no idea when LAX is even supposed to drop. So for whatever it’s worth, here’s my preview of the leaked version of the LP I downloaded a few hours ago. RIAA, holler at your fucking boy.

1) “Intro”- is this DMX? What the fuck? This is one guy I’d try to stay away from hanging with on a regular basis.

2) “L.A.X. Files” (JR Rotem)- nice piano little piano progression over triple time drums, cool little strings come in and out in the background sporadically. Game name-dropping throughout the whole song, is he gonna do this again for the whole album?

3) “State of Emergency” ft. Ice Cube (JR Rotem)- got some cool Paper Thin-like drums underneath a little Yamaha DX-7 synth line. Too bad there’s no verse from Cube.

4) “Bulletproof Diaries” ft. Raekwon (Jelly Roll)- this joint is all deep rolling bass and hard drums, and there’s a soul sample buried somewhere in there, but it’s not really all that identifiable under synth blurps and drum rolls.

5) “My life” ft. Lil Wayne (Cool N Dre)- I don’t know if the leaked version I have is official or what, but if it is, then this has to be the worst mix on a record I’ve heard in a long time. Game’s vocals are way too loud, I can barely hear the instrumentation in the track, which is actually pretty damn good, despite being kinda sappy sounding.

6) “Money” (Cool N Dre)- starts with these chopped up vocal samples of the word “Money” arranged in a nice little melody, backed by pianos and synthesizers. The hook incorporates some wordplay with the word “Money,” which is not necessarily new technique, but it comes off well here. This is the best song so far, although it’s kind long and gets boring after a while.

7) “Cali Sunshine” ft. Bilal (Nottz)- This is one of them joints that when it first comes on it makes you scrunch your face up and just nod your head uncontrollably. Beat heads will love it. Got Nottz trademark rolling bass line over some weird little banjo-type melody, and all this interesting percussion going on. Another joint I think could have been mixed better, but oh well.

8) “Ya Heard” ft. Ludacris (Nottz)- another really solid Nottz track, with these rising sine wave synths over drums that swing off-beat in a good way. Just a complete side note, sounds like Fat Joe wrote Game’s verse on this, or at least inspired some of the flow, cause I could swear Joe was spitting when it was actually Game. I mean, they both kinda suck, so what difference does it make, but just saying.

9) “Hard Liquor” Interlude ft. Nas- not sure what track that is in the background, but that shit bangin as fuck.

10) “House of Pain” (DJ Toomp)- when this first came on I thought, wow this is some terrible wannabee rap rock shit. Even though the rock guitars get built up with horns and pianos and other instruments, there’s no way to take away from the fact that this 6-note melody just flat out sucks. Low point of the LP so far.

11) “Gentleman’s Affair” ft. Neyo (JR Rotem)- This is real nice. Got a very smooth r&b feel, but the drums are still pretty thick heavy sounding. I like how the organs come in very subtly toward the end of each verse and add a nice build-up effect. Probably could have done without Neyo on this. Pretty generic selection of a singer to appear, but Game’s a major label act, so I shouldn’t expect anything less.

12) “Let Us Live” ft. Chrisette Michelle (Scott Storch)- A pretty simple repetitive bass line with little keyboard sprinkles at the end of each bar. I hope Game didn’t actually pay for this track. This is pretty lackluster. Chrisette Michelle feature totally goes to waste. Game admits to not hating Nas or MOP, says he was just going through a phase. Hmm.

13) “Touchdown” ft. Raheem Devaughn (Nottz)- tight kick drums and smooth g-funk synth blurps, but then there’s this whole arrangement of synthesizers that come in on the hook. Real chill out joint, something to smoke to.

14) “Angel” ft. Common (produced by Kanye West)- some straightforward 4/4 drums with this medley of analog synth sounds. Not sure if Kanye actually played the keys on this. I doubt it. But who knows. Very solid track.

15) “Never Can Say Goodbye” ft. Latoya Williams (produced by Ervin “EP” Pope)- starts with newcasts about the deaths of Biggie, 2Pac, Eazy E. Subject is a little tired in my opinion, but Game’s got a nice little take on it, rhyming as each character in the verses. First verse he’s Pac, second he’s B.I.G., third he’s Eazy. Track is pretty cool, though breaks no new ground. I do like some off the instrumentation, the live bass is sick.

16) “Dope Boyz” ft. Travis Barker (1500 or Nothin)- A lot was made of this collaboration. I’m guess Travis played the drums on it. Pretty standard drumming to me though. It’s just a basic drum pattern, like, what gives?

17) “Games Pain” ft. Keyshia Cole (Knobody)- I always thought this was a good beat. Never liked the song though. Actually this song is a total mess, and I don’t give a shit how many times it plays on the radio. Nothing will change my mind. The hook, while sorta cool because it’s “paying homage,” lacks any real flow and is totally unmemorable. More of a glorified bridge than a hook. Game rhyming about a bunch of hip-hop shit. Yawn. Waste of a hot track.

18) “Letter to The King” ft. Nas (Hi-Tek)- a steady drum pattern with deep kicks and a bright rimshot riding underneath a smooth guitar loop. Game spits a bit of Black History, and makes me think this was originally supposed to be for Untitled, but somehow hit the cutting room floor. Even though this is a dope track, it probably would have fit in more on Nas album. On L.A.X. it sounds a little disjointed from the rest of the LP, but in the age of making 150 songs and picking 19 to making the album, what do you expect?

19) “Outro” ft. DMX- What the fuck is the dog doing back on this LP??!!? Once Game really starts hanging with X, his career will really and truly be in the toilet, no matter how many records L.A.X. sells. Stay away from that guy.

Final thoughts: I give this shit a solid “L” rating, and that’s mostly because the beats are pretty damn good. Game is still rapping about nothing for most of the time. I mean, I couldn’t really tell you what any of these songs are about, other than the fact that he name drops damn near everyone in contemporary urban music in almost every song. There are a couple tracks where the influence of others is sort of understated, but overall it’s still pretty glaring that Game is lacking real great songwriting skills from MCs perspective. I commend him for being a fan of hip-hop, but dog, you gotta really add something to the game, rather than just compare yourself to other people. Also, he had the whole jail experience, the fallout with his brother, he’s been in some movies- there’s a lot of experiences he could have been addressing from a lyrical standpoint on the LP, and if he does, it’s not in any sort of coherent way.

Also, from a beat standpoint, these joints pretty much sound like the same tracks he’s been rhyming on since The Documentary. That Aftermath, West Coast sound, shit is pretty tired already. People wanna hear something new. I commend him for sticking to his guns and not following trends, but other than the joints that Nottz did (and even those to a certain extent), everything on here is just good, not great. Solid, but not spectacular.

I’d probably skip the trip to the store for this joint. Save the gas money, download on Itunes. Worth some listens for sure, but you’ll probably tire of it quickly.

  • yoprince

    exactly what i expected.. dude’s garbage, won’t listen to it until some white boy smokes me out and i’m forced to.. even then i’ll probably pull my ipod out, thug him and suggest something else..

  • DMV hustler

    i only heard a few tracks

    my life-not feeling it

    a joint with him and ludacris- not feeling it

    bulletproof diaries- not working for me either

    is it that hard to put out a good album

    Kanye’s last joint was wack

    curtis was wack

    t.i. vs t.i.p was wack

    fab’s last joint was wack

    SMFH.

    charles hamilton’s mixtape>>>>>.L.A.X

    • LAX

      kanye’s last joint was pretty fucking good actually

  • http://www.xxlmag.com jackpot

    We’ve already discussed this. I give it an XL.

  • LBDII

    How the hell was T.I.’s and Kanye last album wack.
    This game album?

    Not bad at all.

    • dMV hustler

      what u mean how? t.i. never put a good album together, all his albums equaled up to “OKAY” status, nothing great.

      trap muzik was the best album he dropped

      and graduation was just terrible, you cant say that shit was better than college dropout or late registration.

      • chad bro chill

        his best album was king fuck face
        and game is better than L

        • dMV hustler

          lmao negro please, no the fuck it wasn’t

      • JDizzel3000

        First of all KING was classic bruh….but TI v TIP that shit was trash can…and kanyes last joint was good ..just not classic like the two before graduation..

  • Penelope Rodriguez

    My comment may come off as mean-spirited, even shallow, but…for LAX, I see no reason to buy it. With THE DOCUMENTARY, Game was a new artist, and I dug him, I wanted to support him, so I bought it.

    With DOCTOR’S ADVOCATE, I wanted to see if he could still make good music without Dre backing him. And he proved he could. His flow was better, the beats were hot.

    Only issue that I have with DOCTOR’S ADVOCATE is that Game showed little growth in terms of subject matter. He rapped the same shit–or did the same shit–on THE DOCUMENTARY. He did the same rapping-while-drunk shit on “Doctor’s Advocate,” for instance. That song made me feel uncomfortable. Why is Game crying to a another man for? Dre don’t owe that nigga nothin’. Dre ain’t his buddy. I thought Game learned that no one is your friend in this music business. I was quite peeved, to say the least. And “Compton” was just terrible. He couldn’t keep up with the beat. But “Why You Hate The Game” was a cool track.

    None of the songs I’ve heard so far from Game are making me go “Oh, I need to copp that shit now!!!” I don’t even wanna download nothin’ except for “Game’s Pain Remix.” And like the blogger said I don’t know when the fuck LAX is coming out. I don’t even fucking care.

    This has been one annoying summer, mainly due to the fact that lil wayne was getting overplayed everywhere in NYC. But that’s a conversation for another day…

    I’m waiting for the fall

  • render

    Why the fuck does every single track on that list have a feature?

    • Penelope Rodriguez

      ‘Cause that schizophrenic motherfucker can’t make a song by himself.

      He’ll probably hide behind this excuse: “Collaborating and namedropping is my style.”

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Benicio Del Thoro

    Too many features gooch. This shit is unacceptable!

    This guy needs to write better songs. Shit I could write his rhymes and put the new r&b bitches on there and bam!

    The reason Fif had the advantage was because not only did he pick better beats and for waay less money, he used the unknowns and they made better shit.

    This shit is an M

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    IMO it gets at least a XL. It grows on you quickly, like razor bumps from a dirty Gilette.

    At first listen, I liked 3 songs. After that, I like all but 3. You gotta give dude some credit. Way better than any G-Unit release in the last 3 years.

    • Stuey

      No, Game and G-Unit are the same they are both lackluster emcees who both contribute to making hip hop lame.

      “It grows on you quickly, like razor bumps from a dirty Gilette.”

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      Are you trying to be clever with that line?

  • Vicious Seiger

    Does anybody over the age of 25 really care about either G Unit or Game anymore? I don’t. Xerox Thugs making the same albums over and over with different beats. Everybody says they are Top 5 but Top 5 what? Top 5 reasons why mainstream hip hop is brain dead, formula based, marketing packaged nonsense. B-O-R-I-N-G Ass Songs about subjects that were done a hell of alot better by other MCs and even some singers. If we have anyone to blame for this miasma… it’s not the south, the east, the west or the midwest to blame we can blame ourselves for still patronizing these lackluster albums and garbage pal wrappers [Wrappers - [n] People Wrapped up to sound like rappers].

  • Dr.J

    First of all who ever wrote this blog has no taste in music at all and who ever agrees with it doesn’t like hip hop i’ve heard LAX and it is the best rap album to come out this year

    • http://www.xxlblocktalk.com/INDOE INDOE

      I’ma co-sign this because Game is nasty with a mic an a beat ! The track floating around on the mixtapes “Compton” is mos def a Nigga Wit’ an Attitude . Go look up N.W.A you little babies .

      INDOE
      http://www.xxlblocktalk.com/INDOE

  • http://www.finaldraftdesign.com/blog VR

    Game tried.

    Beats and production are on the money.
    BUT DAMN THIS DUDE SUCKS! How are cats with the wackest raps (ie. Wayne) coming out with some of the best albums right now. Next up Jeezy.

    Track with Chrisette Michelle is my joint though! I love her.

  • Grand Hustle

    you all are some haters
    LAX album of the year

    • Dickrider Hater

      Grand Hustle, Game knob gobbler of the year.

  • TheCo!!inB

    Nottz came through to me….his timing on his drums is always ill…..but i’ma VA nigga so I may be bias…..nah, Nottz is the truth. The Game isn’t an artist that can deviate from his formula….lets not forget this nigga sat on a shelf for 2 years cause a&r didn’t know what to do with him……….give curtis cred where it’s due cause he made that nigga. now all The Game knows is “call the niggas that did The Documentary”. Rottem, Nottz and Tek always make the dope album cuts for him.

  • EReal

    Ever since Game stepped on the scene, I’ve been skeptical of the guy’s skills. If he’s top 5 like some of my constituents propose, then hip-hop is truly in the toilet bowl. Cause Game don’t be saying shit when he rhymes. Like seriously, he’s got his moments, but what the fuck is he talking about 90% of the time? I give it to him, his flow has definitely improved, and he’s got a good voice and good delivery, and in general he’s a good “rapper.” But to make him out to be anything more than that would be foolish.
    ^
    CHURCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

  • http://xxlmag.com E.RHYMES

    Yall gotta be crazy saying this shit is wack! LAX IS THE ALBUM OF THE YEAR NIGGAS!!!! This is the reason Nas said Hip-Hop is dead cus when real niggas, like Game, drop classic thought provoking Hip-Hop, yall say its wack!!! Look homie, I’m in fuckin Iraq right now. No liquor, no weed, no whips, chains, or any of the perks of being in the hood and just wildin, and I feel like I’m IN CALI when I play LAX!!!!! That is what a classic should make you do. The music should make you feel the rappers environment, persona, and message. How in the fuck can you hate on Letter To The King? Thats the best fuckin record on the there!!!! Are you forgetting that Games breakout song was NOT In The Club, LYRICALLY, but it was DREAMS, where he acknowledges DR. KING’S DREAM all through the hook and the entire song? Muthafuckas is hatin for what? This is the coldest record the West Coast has dropped post-Tupac era!!! I guess niggas would hate that cus Tupac shut shit down and Game is continuing the legacy!!! And Game and Pac got a lot in common, they both would ANNIHILATE Jay-Z in a battle!!!! NUFF SAID LAX AUGUST 26th ( THE RESURRECTION OF WEST COAST HIP-HOP!!!!)

    • Elgotti

      Co sign that shit!!! This homie obviously knows what that Cali Cron tastes like! But…you’re wasting your time here. Muthafuckas in here get wet when they hear Lil Wayne singing about lollipops!..WTF! The Game and G-Unit are part of the few that’s still out there really puttin it down to hold the rap game up. Oh…and all you producers out there…pay close attention to the drums on this album.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Benicio Del Thoro

    You know what, last night they played a couple tracks off the album at the bar which was a rare occasion. I will reiterate that I do not care for The Game. I’m willing to give this a try. They played that Gentleman’s Affair which will prly be the next single, and they played the Luda joint which should be the next single.

    BTW, you wanna talk about bangers that new Ice Cube is bananas!

  • LAX

    You pretty much reviewed the beats rather than the actual songs….

  • Gooch

    Ok, and this is the Scratch blog, which is about production.

    • http://www.going.com/larrybrite Lancelot

      Good Point

      Hi Haters :p

  • Maurice L Dees

    Why hate on the game, he’s the balance in hip hop

  • bennieblancoh

    I swear that I tried to be open minded and “listen” objectively to this cd. Being the equal-opportunity hater that I am, I figured I owed it that much. I finished the cd feeling the same way about Game as I have any other time. Duke is just lame. I mean, granted I’ve never experienced gang life, Impala’s or being shot and put into a coma. Maybe when you wake up you feel the uncontrolable urge to be a dick riding MC… scratch that… rapper! You would just think that after 3 albums there would be some growth, some substance. I know there are so-called industry standards, but an album with nothing but guests? Why wouldn’t you just want to man up and stand on your own two Chucks? His M.O. is going to be blah blah/name drop/blah blah/Dre/blah blah/Pac & Biggie/blah blah/Impala. But the fact that mo’fos can let “Top 5″ run across their lips these days shows the sad state of “hip-hop” (loosely used term). Or maybe I am just a hater.

  • JDizzel3000

    Definately a huge dissapointment…the whole album sounds uninspired and just thrown together …maybe 50 was right “this nigga don’t got shit elese to rap about besides us” you’d figure a guy whos supposedly a harden gangbanger would have more shit to talk about and more stories in his rhymes then just fuckin bitches,ridin 64′s,and name droppin…the thing i don’t get is game can really go in…anybody who has ever listend to BWS chronicles; you know what it is vol.4 mixtape whould tell you he can destroy shit when motivated i guess….overall i just don’t get this album…the beats sound generic as fuck …no comparison to the doc’s advocate…and did anybody notice that first verse on “let us live” sounding like nas ghostwrote the shit?? i hope this isn’t games last album…definately not a way to go out…not a good look at all..

  • http://www.myspace.com/dantefermi Dante Fermi

    I just picked up Game’s album. Threw it on while I played some playstation. I couldn’t believe how horrible it was. I’m a Game fan, but the production on it was garbage, and Game had some good lines here and there, but it just sounded boring and lackluster. Like Game didn’t give a fuck to try. I was disappointed. I also picked up Techn9ne’s double album, I’ll be bumpin’ that more then Game’s.

  • reality5000

    I cant say im not disapointed cos i truelly think game is the last hope for our music,
    the potential this guy holds in his hands is imense he’s got everything he needs to be top 5 of all time but he has never hit the spot,the documentary is still the best album he made and not due to 50 but probably a combination of dre and the desire he had at the time, he has a solid catalog and alot of it comes off of mixtapes, but he needed to know when to leave a track out,take note of my past tense cos i think this is the last album and maybe thats not such a bad thing cos im depressed as a rap fan,the NIGGER album hurt me and im setting myself up for heartbreak when i think about detox,i dont think people listen close enough to t.i before they judge him, he is different to most of the truelly greats but that doesnt mean he cant be mentioned with them,i feel let down by alot of artist’s such as DMX and Eminem who had huge fan bases and failed to feed them after we fed the Artists, going out and buying there album before we bought milk for our children,i think loyalty works both ways and hip hop has become a true example of unloyalty and of how money is the route to all evil,GET RICH AND STOP TRYING,FANS GET PISSED AND STOP BUYING.

  • Shawty J

    After listening to the album twice I’ll give it an XL or 4 mics. Doctor’s Advocate was a lot better which would be XL or 4.5 mics due to the subject range. This album had limited subject range, I feel the same way about this album as I did Carter III, there was no central direction of the album so no it’s not classic.

    The only joint I really didn’t feel was the Scott Storch joint (dude either needs to step his game back up or stop making beats) the beat was God awful and Christte Michelle and Game have no chemistry at all. Oh and did I mention the Scott Storch beat sucked?.

    “House of Pain” and “Ya Heard” had to grow on me. I really just like “Ya Heard” for Luda’s verse “My dick is the Staple’s Center/ I’ll take you to see the Lakers”.

    Favorite track is “Money”

  • Al K

    This album is absolute garbage, and it’s a shame because Game has talent flow-wise. His earlier mixtape stuff is incredible (though recently they have fallen off, showing a similiar trend to his albums’ quality) but the man has trouble making records sometimes. He’s too good for his own good; he feels that he must overcompensate on his albums, whereas on his mixtapes his natural ability shines brightly. As far as the topics go, Gooch is on point; he has lyrical ADD, seemingly rambling for 3 minutes or so, never really saying anything. In that regard he is the anti-Pac. In any event, when he was focused on making mixtapes with one cohesive theme- dissing G Unit- the end product is remarkable. But leave him to his own devices, it is evident that Game is his own worst enemy when it comes to producing records. He needs an executive producer to guide him, which is would not be an admission of weakness at all. But his first two albums were definetly good; he stuck to their script a little too much, and it didn’t manifest itself as excellent hip hop with LAX, as the Documentary and Dr.’s Adv. did.

    And for the record, Game’s verse over Tell Me When to Go is IMHO the best example of excellent hip hop post Biggie.