“Ready to Die, Reasonable Doubt, and Doggystyle in one.” Dream on, Game. The Documentary is solid, but far away from being a classic. With a portfolio of today’s finest hip-hop producers including Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Just Blaze, and Timbaland behind the tracks, the production is impressive, but Game’s lyrical skills aren’t deep enough to reach his legends.
Following Tupac Shakur’s footsteps, Game skips the flamboyant flow and cuts straight to the bone. Unfortunately, he only scratches the surface, whereas Pac went all the way to the heart, but that doesn’t mean he cannot deliver. He sounds honest and sincere on “Start From Scratch,” and convincing when he spits, “Homie if I could make ’94 today / I tell Eazy and Dre to bring back NWA.”
Though Game carries the thug’s image just like the rest of his G-Unit crew, he does not sound as cocky as 50 Cent, as misogynistic as Cam’ron, or as flashy as Jay-Z. Instead of rapping about ice, rims, and hoes over and over again, he speaks out his mind on the title track “The Document.” The way his chorus plays off the classics album is clever – “I’m Ready to Die without a Reasonable Doubt / smoke Chronic and hit Doggystyle before I go out / until they sign my Death Certificate / All Eyez On Me / I’m still at it, Illmatic / and that’s The Documentary.”
On the flip side, the album sounds more frivolous than serious, especially with 50 featured on “How We Do” and “Hate It or Love It.” The style switching sounds smooth between the two on “How We Do” and Dre makes the club beat pumping. While Kanye drops a blazing beat on “Dreams,” Eminem flops on “We Ain’t.” The track sounds like the sequel 50’s “Patiently Waiting,” but out of tune. Em kills himself and the Game on his own beat – no pun intended.
Although The Documentary is not a magnum opus, the album has some sparks. Game offers a satisfactory debut with potential for improvements. His references throughout his lyrics prove that he has indeed studied the classics. Keep on learning, keep on dreaming of making a masterpiece , but stop dreaming of “fucking the R&B bitch.”