The Game, born Jayceon Taylor, is not a typical rapper and he takes his music to a whole new level with Doctor's Advocate.

Growing up in Compton, California, The Game saw crime and decadence all around him. One of his childhood friends was murdered for his Charles Barkley Nike basketball shoes when they were only in elementary school. His biological father molested his sisters. One of his brothers was shot and killed. He lost a basketball scholarship to a major university after regressing to his troublemaking ways. He himself was shot a handful of times and then fell into a coma. After he emerged from his coma and while still in the hospital, Game started to listen to Tupac, Jay-Z and Nas. He listened to the Notorious B.I.G. He listened to N.W.A.

On "One Blood," Game joins Junior Reid for a reggae-infested jam that proclaims the Game is the true heir to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records Empire. On "Compton," Game gets Will I. Am (another Compton native who grew up hard) to grind hip-hop snares against rock and roll bass drums for one of the album's true defining moments. Will I. Am (or William Adam) is a member of the Black Eyed Peas, but he sounds like a founding father of the gangster rap movement with this song.

On tracks like "Doctor's Advocate," Game goes at all his critics and discusses why he did not do a single track with musical mastermind Dr. Dre on this sophomore release, even though their relationship is still an amicable one. On the Kanye West-produced "Wouldn't Get Far," West employs two different samples in his beat and still raps, expressing why video girls and urban models are not all they're made out to be.

This CD shows why hip-hop is more than music. It comes from the heart, with bullet wounds, aches, pains and all.

--Michael Butler

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