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The Game

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The GAME went from Gangsta to great musician right before our eyes. He recharged legendary west coast captain Dr. Dre, delivering the producer's last true Cali-themed classic in "The Documentary" and then took it upon himself to keep West Coast hip-hop relevant – #1 hit single, #1 album and $20 million-dollar film role at a time.

His official foray into Hip Hop, "The Documentary", was a #1 Billboard 200 debut, selling an impressive 586,000 units in the first week continuing to 2.5 million plus units in the US. The first official street single, "Westside Story", charted at #55 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart which is remarkable for an urban radio favorite constructed with aggressive content.

Yet even with "Westside Story" success, Game and his "Documentary" were far from done, with several follow up singles charting even higher. A list which includes the infectious club-banger "How We Do" charting at number #2, the Kanye West produced "Dreams" charting at #32, and the Timbaland produced "Put You on the Game" charting at #96. But it was the two time Grammy nominated "Hate It or Love It", a musical moment of self-actualization with a vulnerability in verse rarely seen in rap music, that would prove the classic albums signature song. With poetic lyrics reminiscent of a musically mature Tupac, the single reached #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs chart. The accompanying music video was nominated for a 2005 MTV Video Music Award in the category of Best Rap Video, and with the single certified gold, Game was now a legitimate hip-hop star.

No urban music artist, regardless of Top 40 genre (Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, R&B, alternative), geographical region (East, West, South, international) or major label push, arrived with as much promotional fanfare as Jayceon "Chuck" Taylor. GAME (formerly The Game) was handpicked by legendary star-maker Dr. Dre to headline his Aftermath Entertainment brand, officially declaring it "Game Time". That was in 2002. By 2005, his Black Wall Street label was dominating the street scene with a series of "Murda Chronicle" mixtapes, indie-videos, party appearances, and rap beef settlements.

"Doctor's Advocate" was Game's second album and follow up to "The Documentary". Released in November of 2006, the album debuted at # 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling over 358,000 copies in its first week, making it The Game's second number one album in a row. Without production or executive direction from Dr. Dre, "Doctor's Advocate" still sold upwards of 1 million records. Boasting production from many of the same producers who helped make his debut a classic, a list including Kanye West, Just Blaze, Scott Storch and Hi-Tek, along with an assist from DJ Khalil on "Da Shit", Game's signature sound remained intact, as did his reputation of name-dropping, boastful lyrics and Gangsta rap ethos. The singles "Wouldn't Get Far", produced by Kanye West and "Let's Ride", produced by Scott Storch, both reached the Billboard 100 Top R&B Hip Hop Albums chart.

Never satisfied with just music success, Game accepted a co-starring role opposite Meagan Good and Tyrese in "Waist Deep", directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. The urban Bonnie and Clyde-like film opened on over 1,000 screens nationwide and grossed over $21,000,000. The project is widely considered an urban classic, with Game's commanding role of resident bad guy "Big Meat" stealing much of the show.

With two multiplatinum projects, the Game continued his west coast resurrection efforts with "LAX", which came within a hair of being the artist's third #1 album on Billboard's Rap/Hip-Hop Album chart. "LAX" debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 238,382 copies in its first week, around 1000 copies behind metal band Slipknot's "All Hope is Gone". "LAX" included the platinum selling single, "My Life" featuring Lil Wayne, charted at #21 on the Hot R&B Hip Hop Songs chart.

Game is known as much for his street bangers (Westside Story, It's Okay, Let's Ride, Dope Boys) as for his deeply interpersonal reflection albums (Start From Scratch, Dreams, Doctor's Advocate, Never Can Say Goodbye) and radio friendly Pop pleasers (Hate It or Love It, Put You on The Game, Gentlemen's Affair, It Must Be Me). Fam is nothing if not versatile, but as West Coast Hip Hop icons go, Game is the only international artist not named Snoop and the only Compton kingpin nowhere near 40-years-old with household name recognition worldwide, selling multi-platinum albums and moving over 10 million albums and platinum selling chart topping singles.

Known as much for his rap Beefs with MC's like Ras Kass and 50 Cent as for building Black Wall Street into a hood-favorite clothing brand and community-based company designed to release mixtapes featuring local Los Angeles-area artists that wouldn't otherwise receive mainstream opportunities, Game has since secured a distribution deal with Universal Music Group. The label, still headed by Game, is poised to be the next subsidiary parented by a major label and run by a multiplatinum artist with street cred and business savvy. Game's homeboys are of the same mindset: There is Young Money Entertainment (Lil' Wayne), Maybach Music Group (Rick Ross) and G.O.O.D. Music (Kanye West). Black Wall Street is positioned to be the next star-maker. And Game is seated at the head of the table.

Game could be heard in the streets, seen on the blogosphere, and chatted about on rap news websites as early as May of 2009. Drum-heavy, piano key sprinkled, lyric laden, high concept, Kush smoke-filled recording sessions at million-dollar studios in North Hollywood and Burbank, California - including the famed Paramount and Can Am studios – were being passed from man to fan like Cube's "Kill At Will" EP in 1990. Known to work with only A-list producers, Game's family of "board members" came in droves: J.R. Rotem, Cool & Dre, Boi-1da, Timbaland, Drumma Boy, Jay Electronica and of course long-time collaborator Kanye West, all spoke, tweeted, and/or alluded to contributing to Game's fourth project. Next came the cadre of emcees, with Nas, Busta Rhymes, Jim Jones, Jadakiss and Fabolous – Game's NY family – all reportedly contributing to the R.E.D. album, which was said to dually stand for Game's "REDedication" to rap. And alas, to quiet the rumors and eliminate any uncertainty, Game's longtime LA gangsta rap "uncle" Snoop Dogg posted a picture of himself, Game and Dr. Dre in the studio prior to a R.E.D/Detox recording session. This sealed the deal. The R.E.D. Album was official when the Doggfather leaked it. The only question remaining was "when?"

And now, mega producers Cool and Dre and DJ Premiere had joined R&B artists like Chris Brown, Drake and Nelly Furtado, Game's music-life mentors Dr. Dre, Snoop and Busta Rhymes and new era rap stars Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator in the R.E.D. Album's mix of high profile features. This even before a formal announcement from parent label Interscope/Aftermath or executive producers Dr. Dre and Pharrell. The project is widely considered the most anticipated album of 2011, and is scheduled for an August, 23rd release. After selling more than 10 million albums worldwide on the strength of only three projects, Game is without question the most efficient, marketable and saleable Hip Hop artist on the West Coast.

He has earned his place amongst raps elite. Nothing was given. He never asked anyway – and wouldn't have accepted any Hip Hop handouts even if the industry offered. Game has earned his place in urban music folklore – pasting his Black Wall Street paper all over Hip Hop's streets like global graffiti.

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