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  • Tuesday 18 January 2005
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  • Documentary
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The Documentary (2005)

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The Documentary is the debut studio album by West Coast rapper Game, released on January 18, 2005, through Aftermath Entertainment, G-Unit Records and Interscope Records. After recovering from a shooting in late 2001, The Game pursued a rap career and was discovered by Dr. Dre who signed him to his Aftermath Entertainment label. The album features production provided by but not limited to Dr. Dre, Kanye West, and Timbaland, and guest vocals from 50 Cent, Eminem, Nate Dogg, and Faith Evans, among others.

The Documentary debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 586,000 units in the first week. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album two times platinum in March 2005 and it sold over five million copies worldwide. The album received generally favorable reviews, with music critics praising the album's production. Since the album's release, The Game has been credited as a driving force in reviving the West Coast hip hop scene, which had been overshadowed by artists from the East, Midwest and South.


Game was born Jayceon Terrell Taylor on November 29, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in Compton, California in a primarily Crip gang neighborhood known as Santana Blocc, although he grew up to become a member of the Bloods. He was born into a life of gang-banging and hustling. In an October 2006 interview with MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway, Game described his family as "dysfunctional" and claimed that his father molested one of his sisters. When later interviewed, Game stated that at a young age, he recalled seeing both of his parents preparing to do drive-bys. His father was a Nutty Block Crip and his mother a Hoover Crippelette. drugs and guns were all around Game growing up. At around the age of 6, Game stated that a friend of his was murdered in the neighborhood by a teenager, for his clothes and shoes.

At the age of 7, Game went into foster care. In foster care he was teased by other children, he didn't go unnoticed however. Game's intelligence was acknowledged by his caretakers and he usually helped his foster brothers and sisters with their homework. Around 1989, Game met his idol, Eric Wright also known as Eazy-E founder of the rap group N.W.A, this being a defining moment in his life. Game's adolescence was one of many hardships, at 13, one of Game's older brothers, Jevon who was just 17 at the time was shot at a gas station. His brother had just received a record deal. Game stated that he felt his father played a hand in this by not being there and felt that if he had, his brother would not have been shot. Jevon died the day after Game visited him in the hospital promising that things would be better and lost time would be made up. Two years later at the age of 15, teenage Jayceon was removed from the foster care system and back into his mother's home. Lynette (Game's mother) and Game had troubles in the beginning, Game's father was not around.

Game attended Compton High School and most of the students that were gang affiliated were Crips. His older half brother George Taylor III, known as Big Fase 100, attended Centennial High School and was the leader of the Cedar Block Piru Bloods, Game was beginning to follow in his brother's footsteps. But Game's natural abilities in althletics led him into a spot as point guard on the basketball team. He also ran track and did various other sports. After graduating from Compton High School in 1999 and had received many scholarship offers from various colleges, Game chose to go and attended Washington State University on a basketball scholarship to play basketball. His ticket and way out was shortlived after being found with drugs in his possession. Game's scholarship was revoked, before being suspended in his first semester because of drug allegations. However, the university's athletic department refutes these claims.

It was then that he started fully embracing street life and turned towards selling drugs and running with gangs. At the age of 18, he began to follow his brother's footsteps. Game and his brother Big Fase had an apartment on the outskirts of Compton in Bellflower. Shortly after moving there, they quickly had a monopoly on the drug trade, that was shortlived however. In October 1, 2001 while at the apartment alone, Game heard a knock on the door at 2 a.m. Wanting to make a late night sale, he opened the door to see a regular customer. His regular however brought two others with him. He and another man fought. Reaching for his pistol, he was shot execution style by one of the assailants five times. After laying still for several minutes, Game used his cell phone and called the ambulance. Effected by his wounds, he went into a three-day coma as a result.

While recovering in the hospital after being attacked in late 2001, Game told his brother to go out and buy all of the classic hip hop albums. He studied seminal hip hop albums such as Nas' 1994 debut Illmatic, Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, Dr. Dre's "The Chronic", Tupac Shakur's All Eyez on Me and albums by Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube. While Studying all the various influential rap albums in the course of five months, Game developed a strategy to become a rapper himself and with help from Big Fase, they founded The Black Wall Street Records. The label originally featured such artists as Glasses Malone, Vita, and Nu Jerzey Devil, along with The Game himself. His stage name was coined by his grandmother cause he stated that she used to call him Game saying he was game for anything. The Game first gained prominence when he attended a hip-hop summit hosted by Russell Simmons and Louis Farrakhan, After fully recovering, Big Fase and Game made a mixtape together. Releasing his first mixtape You Know What It Is Vol. 1 in 2002, followed by a record deal with the independent label, Get Low Recordz owned by JT the Bigga Figga.

Game's mixtape reached the hands of Sean Combs founder of Bad Boy Records who originally was on the verge of signing him to his label. But five months later Dr. Dre was passed Game's demo CD and had been suitably impressed. According to Aftermath A&R Angelo Sanders in an interview with HitQuarters, when Dre then met him, "He saw the swagger in him and thought he could do something with him." Later Game was signed to Aftermath Entertainment only a week later through a joint deal with 50 Cent's G-Unit Records. Although originally signed as an artist, Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre decided to have Game also work with 50 Cent and G-Unit. The arrangement was to help build a growing buzz around Game. Since then, he made numerous cameo appearances in music videos by 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, and Fabolous, first appearing on the music video of "In da Club", dancing with a girl. Game spent the next two-and-a-half years working on his debut album and being mentored by Dr. Dre.

Not having dropped an yet album despite being signed onto Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records for awhile, Game still created hype around just his image alone. He appeared in ads for Sean Combs's Sean John clothing company and had an endorsement deal with Boost Mobile appearing in a commercial alongside Kanye West and Ludacris. Game also appeared heavily on the mixtape circuit and guest starred on mixtapes for DJ Green Lantern, The Diplomats, and G-Unit. The first single released with Game on it was "Certified Gangstas". Game guest starred on it alongside Jim Jones and Cam'ron. Though the single wasn't considered mainstream, the buzz increased around the west coast rapper.

The Game recorded tracks based on his life experiences from his childhood to his success as a rapper. When asked about the album, he stated:
I grew up in a boys home and I was taken away from my parents when I was like 8 years old... Here I am, 24. When my album drops I will be 25 so that's 17 years I have been going through my struggle by myself. There are 17 tracks on my album and every track sheds light on a different situation I went through the last 17 years.
The rapper commented on the album's perception before its release, saying, "I know everybody was expecting gang-bang, 40-ounce, low-rider music, but that's not what I gave them... I'm telling a real story, and maybe there are people out there who can relate to my experiences." Rolling Stone observed that "every song has a well-massaged hook and some immediate appeal, and verses that don't waste a lot of time getting to the point."

The Documentary's big budget production from high profile hip hop producers was well received from critics. The first half of the album contains "upbeat, gangsta boogie" tracks with the other half relegating "smoothed out R&B maneuvers". At seven tracks, Dr. Dre co-executive produced the album with his "stripped-down cinematic" approach. "Westside Story" contains an "evil sounding piano plink", "Dreams" has a "simultaneously smooth and eerie" beat, and "Hate It or Love It" unveils a "smoothed out R&B funk vibe". "Higher" revolves around a pounding synth blast and "How We Do" contains syncopated hand claps with a beat described as "a hypnotic blast of sinister seduction powered by a deliciously primitive 808 pattern and a slinky synth." "Don't Need Your Love" samples Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon Cry" and is one the album's more soulful songs. "Church for Thugs" delivers a "sing-song stylee over an accentuated sonic bed" and "Put You on the Game" is a club track containing "dark dirge of synth".

Although "Start from Scratch" features R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius, the beat "eschews the traditional R&B vibes" for more "aural intimidation". IGN called it "the most haunting inclusion on the album." "The Documentary" features a "busy backing track" of "crashing symphonics and tinny flares of synth", which one critic believed overshadowed the lyrics. "Runnin'" is a "dark, Stygian tune augmented by tinges of R&B mellowness." "No More Fun and Games" has a fast-paced beat that takes inspiration from early 1990s production. "We Ain't", which samples Dr. Dre's "The Watcher", takes Eminem's "chug laden synth gurgle" and is described as "one of the most menacingly catchy numbers on the entire album." Nate Dogg features on two "smoothed out" tracks; "Special" and the g-funk-inspired "Where I'm From". "Don't Worry" is an R&B flavored track and despite its "minimal production", one reviewer wrote the song "still hits hard." The final track, "Like Father, Like Son", is driven by a "melodramatic, string-laden" beat.

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Standard edition
# Name Artist Live Acoustic Hidden Duration
1-1 Intro Game       00:32
1-2 Westside Story Game       03:43
1-3 Dreams Game       04:46
1-4 Hate It or Love It Game       03:26
1-5 Higher Game       04:05
1-6 How We Do Game       03:55
1-7 Don't Need Your Love Game       04:26
1-8 Church for Thugs Game       04:00
1-9 Put You on the Game Game       04:14
1-10 Start from Scratch Game       04:07
1-11 The Documentary Game       04:11
1-12 Runnin' Game       04:26
1-13 No More Fun and Games Game       02:37
1-14 We Ain't Game       04:46
1-15 Where I'm From Game       03:08
1-16 Special Game       03:57
1-17 Don't Worry Game       04:11
1-18 Like Father, Like Son Game       05:27
1-19 Intro Game       00:32
1-20 Westside Story Game       03:43
1-21 Dreams Game       04:46
1-22 Hate It or Love It Game       03:26
1-23 Higher Game       04:05
1-24 How We Do Game       03:55
1-25 Don't Need Your Love Game       04:26
1-26 Church for Thugs Game       04:00
1-27 Put You on the Game Game       04:14
1-28 Start from Scratch Game       04:07
1-29 The Documentary Game       04:11
1-30 Runnin' Game       04:26
1-31 No More Fun and Games Game       02:37
1-32 We Ain't Game       04:46
1-33 Where I'm From Game       03:08
1-34 Special Game       03:57
1-35 Don't Worry Game       04:11
1-36 Like Father, Like Son Game       05:27




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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "The Documentary", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.