Ten years after releasing his multi-platinum-selling sophomore album, The Documentary, and three years after his acclaimed 2012 release, Jesus Piece, The Game returns with his most ambitious statements yet: The Documentary 2 and The Documentary 2.5, a no-holds-barred pairing that solidifies the Los Angeles-based titan’s status as West Coast royalty. Hot on the heels of a slew of updates of the classic West Coast sound, including Dr Dre’s Compton and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, the latest instalments in The Game’s Documentary series prove that the West Coast is alive and well – and fully represented by one of its finest proponents. With one red disc and one blue disc, denoting notorious Compton gangs the Blood and the Crips, The Game hopes to unite the two and “break the colour lines”.
With over 10 years in the business, The Game has risen from his beginnings as Dr Dre protégé and member of 50 Cent’s G-Unit collective to become of the most respected rappers on the planet. Hip-hop legends old and new queued up to work with him on his latest outings, dropping iconic verses on albums that can take their place alongside the likes of Nas’ Stillmatic, Dre’s 2001 and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt II as one of the finest sequels in hip-hop history. Among those paying their respects are:
Thanks to his work with N.W.A, plus solo albums The Chronic and 2001, Dr Dre’s unique production defined hip-hop throughout the 90s and 00s. He’s also opened the door for a number of newcomers, including The Game, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak, while his latest – and final – album is a fitting tribute to his Compton hometown.
(Appears on: ‘Don’t Trip’, The Documentary 2)
Since signing to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment imprint in 2009, Drake has risen to become one of the most successful artists of all time. His surprise 2015 new album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, made him only the second artist since The Beatles to have 14 consecutive single releases in the Billboard Hot 100.
(Appears on: ‘100’, The Documentary 2)
One of the original West Coast icons, Cube, along with Dr Dre, laid down the blueprint for the West Coast sound, kicking the door down for gangsta rap and putting Compton on the map with N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton. A hugely influential solo career followed (including his incendiary solo debut, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted), and The Game nods to Cube’s iconic ‘It Was A Good Day’ on The Documentary 2’s ‘On Me’.
(Appears on: ‘Don’t Trip’, The Documentary 2)
Another latter-day Dre protégé who’s risen to become one of the most original and vital voices in hip-hop, Lamar has unleashed vital missives from the West Coast frontline, among them this year’s To Pimp A Butterfly.
(Appears on: ‘On Me’, The Documentary 2)
One of the few East Coast icons to appear on The Documentary 2, Nas’ 1994 debut, Illmatic, remains a towering achievement. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest MCs of all time, his 2001 album, Stillmatic, comfortably secured his place as one of the greats.
(Appears on: ‘The Ghetto’, The Documentary 2.5)
A relative newcomer on the scene, .Paak released his debut album in 2012, but more recently emerged as one of the finest voices on Dre’s career-defining release, Compton.
(Appears on: ‘Magnus Carlsen’ and ‘Crenshaw/80s And Cocaine’, The Documentary 2.5)
Another original West Coast icon whose work with Dr Dre helped define the West Coast sound, Snoop’s deceptively laidback melodic flow remains unique in hip-hop. Doggystyle introduced him as one of the genre’s “gangsta” villains, but his pop nous has ensured a long hit-making career.
(Appears on: ‘LA’, The Documentary)
One of the most prolific artists of the 21st Century, barely a year goes by without anew missive from Lil Wayne, whose twisted beats and asthmatic vocal style have defined him as a unique voice in modern-day hip-hop.
(Appears on: ‘From Adam’, The Documentary 2.5)
Arguably the most important hip-hop icon of the 21st Century, Kanye West’s restless creativity can justifiably lay claim to have altered the course of hip-hop with almost each of his solo albums issued since his 2004 debut.
(Appears on: ‘Mula’, The Documentary)
As Black Eyed Peas’ mainman, multi-Grammy-winning will.i.am led the hip-hop/pop crossover charge throughout the 00s, establishing himself as one of the most sought-after producers of the decade. The follow-up to his 2013 album, #willpower, will surely promise even bigger and better things.
(Appears on: ‘LA’, The Documentary 2; ‘The Ghetto’, The Documentary 2.5)