Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf (to be released October 14, 2014)
Quick question: Tell me why you hate The Game?
The man has a near-classic with his 2005 debut The Documentary, a couple of solid releases with 2006’s Doctor’s Advocate and 2011’s R.E.D. Album and – when he’s focused – he’s capable of delivering bars hard enough to crack concrete.
Even with that catalog behind him, the dude doesn’t get enough credit.
Is it the frivolous beefs that blind fans to his talent? Or his aggravating obsession with name dropping?
Maybe. But if you ask me, Game’s Achilles’s heel has been inconsistency, which is the biggest drawback of Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf, Game’s sixth studio release. It’s frustrating because it shouldn’t be that way.
The first single, and album opener, “Bigger Than Me” is legitimately one of my favorite tracks all year. Game grabs his chainsaw, christens himself the “black Marshall Mathers” and lyrically slaughters this generation’s batch of underachieving rookie rappers. “Tampon lyricists, evacuate the premises/Mute BET Cyphers, cause I don’t wanna hear that sh*t.” For a bitter rap fan of Old Man Rap like me, this track is like Christmas in October.
The rest of the album is like your aunt’s fruitcake – way too much going on and very hard to swallow.
Of the album’s 16 tracks, only a maddening three are solo cuts. The rest are bogged down with every trap rapper imaginable. Yes, I know this album is billed as a “compilation album” but that’s no excuse for shoddy quality.
Sometimes the results are OK – “Really,” featuring Yo Gotti, T.I., 2 Chainz, and, sigh, Soulja Boy, is a serviceable posse cut with Game clearly standing out. And “Cellphone,” with Game’s artist Dubb, isn’t bad thanks to the horn-laden track from The MeKanics (and I’m a sucker for horns).
Most of the rest? Ugh. Game dumbs down his flow to Rich-Homie-Quan-levels of garbage on “F*** Yo Feelings,” while Lil Wayne delivers a lazy, irritating hook. Game’s above this kind of stuff. “Married to the Game” has incomprehensible punchlines like “If gay is happy I’m Tyler Perry in this motherf***er.” while French Montana, Sam Hook and Dubb do nothing of note. And there’s the abundance of embarrassing strip club anthems like “Or Nah” and “Best Head Ever” that only 13-year-olds on Snapchat will be interested in. In fact, the only interesting thing about “Best Head Ever” is when Game steals a 15-year-old Jadakiss punchline.
Game is like the kid who wilds out to impress the corner boys but is the model student behind closed doors. On the few solo tracks here, things go MUCH better. The threatening “F.U.N.” sounds like something from an old G-Unit mixtape (which is probably intentional since he, sigh, name drops them). And “The Purge” is a great concept track – Game rampages through Beverly Hills fighting injustice while encouraging the oppressed to join him: “Purge Sandusky, purge Zimmerman…Long as I got two hands, long as I got two feet, millions in my crew deep, we purge.”
Instead of an LP, Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf mostly sounds like a mixtape – and I don’t mean those “free albums disguised as mixtapes” you young’ns are spoiled by. I’m talking those sloppy, early-2000s mixtapes where the artist drowns in a sea of lackadaisical features.
I love Game, but it’s hard to love this album. Holla at me when The Documentary 2 drops next year.
Best tracks: “Bigger than Me,” “The Purge”
2.5 stars out of 5