The Game - VIBE The Game - VIBE

VIBE Q: The Game - God Blessed A Gangsta

Things just ain’t the same for the aggressive content brigade. But Game’s impact on West Coast hip-hop is solid. Once the new kid on the Left Coast block, the Compton native is now an elder statesman from which upstarts like Kendrick Lamar can learn. With arguably his best material cued up, the spiritual O.G. reviews the good, bad and inbetween of his career

Words: John Kennedy (@youngJFK)
Photography: Johnathan Mannion

When Jayceon Taylor was ambushed in his Compton, Calif., stash house, back in 2001, and punctured by five bullets from a .45 Glock, the soon-to-be rapper’s life literally flashed before his eyes. Eleven years later, after selling more than 7 million records and reviving a dormant L.A. rap scene as the Game, the MC once again feels his existence is in danger. Amidst the hell-raising fury of October’s Hurricane Sandy, his plane suffered a precarious descent into Atlanta. “No exaggeration, we almost died on the landing, bro,” recalls the 33-year-old spitter, once known as Hurricane Game, of today’s flight touchdown. “When the wheels touched the ground the plane jumped back into the air because it was unstable. It’s scary out here, no exaggeration.”

Game is, of course, exaggerating. But based on his newest project, Jesus Piece, you get the sense that he’s already made right with the (wo)man upstairs. The recently baptized rapper’s fifth LP—comprised of 13 tracks to represent Jesus and his dozen disciples—attempts to convey the struggle between adopting street life and Sunday service. It might be Game’s best, and certainly truest, effort in the midst of iPhone-self-recorded rapper scuffles and his on-off-on engagement to fiancée Tiffney Cambridge (as documented in the VH1 reality show Marrying The Game). The father of three is still finding himself, and he’s far from ready to die. “I’ve grown as far as decision-making, and just being a smarter, wiser and better person,” says Game. “But I’m the same person at heart. You can’t change that.”

VIBE: When the world first met The Game, you were a Dr. Dre progeny and lone bright spot for the future of West Coast hip-hop. Now there’s an entire class of young rhymers, from Kendrick Lamar to Dom Kennedy. Do you feel like a California elder statesman?
The Game I do. I feel like an OG, but these cats are coming in at about 24 [years old], so I’m not that far from them. I’m on my fifth album, so the separation between rookie and veteran is a bit further than it seems. But the West Coast is about to have a real strong movement. The East needs to unify a little bit more, but we’re about to make a real strong push and tip that scale.

Kendrick is already playing a big role. How did you feel the first time you heard his song, “Black Boy Fly,” where he said he used to be jealous of your success?
It was a dope concept. I appreciated it, because I’m all about paying homage to people. I feel like he spoke for a lot of up-and-coming artists from California watching me do my thing. For someone to pay homage to me makes me feel like job well done. I did a reply to “Black Boy Fly,” called “Little Brother.” Kendrick did the beat. It’s speaking directly to Kendrick, letting the world know from my perspective what I saw in him from the time he was 15 until now. It’s exactly like [Kanye’s “Big Brother”] in reverse. It’s just dope.

On Jesus Piece’s title track, there’s a line that says Dr. Dre gave your beats to Kendrick.
I was working with Dre, and it was the early stages—after me and Top Dawg put Kendrick with Dr. Dre. Dre was supposed to give me a bunch of beats, and I only got to keep one out of all the ones he promised me. I said in that song: “Dre promised me records, I never got ’em, and some of my albums missed records/I felt he shitted on me for Kendrick, recorded diss records/And Kendrick my nigga, put him on his first mixtape/I popped champagne when I heard he was with Dre.” It’s the same concept as “Black Boy Fly” in four bars.


From the Web

More on Vibe

Dimitrios Kambouris

Fred The Godson Tests Positive For COVID-19

It was all good two weeks ago. That's when the Bronx-bred Fred The Godson released his Big Payback mixtape. But today (April 6), the Fat Boy Fresh rapper announced on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

"I’m in here with this Covid-19 shit! Please keep me in y’all prayers!!! #GodIsGreat," Fred said in Tweet.

I’m in here with this Covid-19 shit! Please keep me in y’all prayers!!! #GodIsGreat


FTG isn't the only rapper to be hit with Coronavirus. Houston rapper Slim Thug recently tested positive for COVID-19.

"I was definitely surprised because I was trying to be precautious way earlier than a lot of people," the "I Ain't Heard Of That" rapper said during an interview with VIBE. "I started to feel a headache and a fever and I've never had those symptoms so I thought, 'Man this Corona time, it's got to be something.' But at the end of the day, I haven't felt severe sickness or nothing."

"I have high blood pressure, I already do this. I run three miles at the park and go to the gym every day, so I'm pretty healthy," Thug continued." You know, I never felt like I wouldn't be able to fight this off, I never really felt really sick or crazy sick, just kind of felt like a sinus infection."

Also, YMW Melly recently tested positive for the virus while in jail awaiting trial for double murder. The "Suicidal" rapper has plans to file a motion for his release.

Also, Yo Gotti and Team Roc filed a motion demanding that inmates in Parchman Penitentiary receive testing for COVID-19.

Continue Reading

Rita Wilson Remixes Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray"

Many artists are coming together to raise funds for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Today (April 6), actress and singer Rita Wilson joined forces with Naughty by Nature for the "Hip-Hop Hooray (Remix)."

While recovering from COVID-19, Wilson posted an Instagram video of her rapping the classic record. She also sent it to the New Jersey rap group. Impressed with Wilson's microphone skills, and inspired by her recovery, Naughty reached out to Wilson for the remix.


View this post on Instagram


See it to believe it

A post shared by Rita Wilson (@ritawilson) on Mar 21, 2020 at 11:31pm PDT

“We were totally shocked she could rap the verses so well,”  the rap group said via press release.

“’Hip Hop Hooray’ is like modern-day Shakespeare,” Wilson adds. “It took me a month to learn because it’s so complex and nuanced; it was like training for a marathon. The rhythms and tempos are so unique and creative. When I was quarantined and recovering from COVID-19 I wanted to see if I still remembered it, kind of like a brain exercise. To my surprise I did. I thought it would be fun to put it on my Instagram to show people I was doing OK and to make them smile. When Naughty by Nature commented about it, I couldn’t believe it,” she continued.

Back in March,  actor Tom Hanks, Wilson's husband, released a statement saying that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 while in Australia.

Listen to the Wilson remix above.

Continue Reading
Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson attends a ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 30, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

50 Cent's Big Meech-Inspired 'Black Mafia Family' Series Heading To Starz

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is heading back to Starz with another television series.

After the success of Power, the hip-hop icon-turned-entrepreneur-turned television executive producer is set to have a hand in Black Mafia Family. The crime series is inspired by the true-life story of Detroit drug lord Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and his brother Terry "Southwest T," who rose from the decaying streets of southwest Detroit in the late '80s and gave birth to one of the most influential crime families in the country." According to Starz, the series will touch on the subjects of “love, family, and capitalism in the pursuit of the American dream.”

"I told you Black Mafia Family was coming and it’s going to be the biggest show on television," said Jackson in the announcement. "Meech and Terry are legends and I am excited to bring their story to Starz."

Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch added: “This is a project Curtis has always been incredibly passionate about and we are excited to have him as our partner in bringing it to life.

“Black Mafia Family has all the hallmarks of a great drama, from the larger-than-life Flenory brothers to the deadly, high-stakes world they inhabited. This series is going to be an incredible ride for audiences around the world.”

No word on who will star in the series or when it will premiere. 50 Cent's current ABC drama, For Life—about former-inmate-turned-lawyer Isaac Wright Jr.—reportedly tallied the "biggest playback increase for any new broadcast midseason debut — scripted or unscripted."

Jackson's multi-million dollar deal with Starz includes another series titled, Vanguard, as well as other upcoming Power sequels: Powerbook II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Power Book IV: Influence, and Power Book V: Force.

Continue Reading

Top Stories