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The Documentary
Studio album by The Game
Released January 18, 2005
Recorded 2004
Genre West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap
Length 69:57
Label Aftermath, G-Unit, Interscope
Producer Dr. Dre (exec.), 50 Cent (exec.), Buckwild, Che Vicious, Cool & Dre, Danja, Eminem, Focus, Havoc, Hi-Tek, Jeff Bhasker, Jeff Reed, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Luis Resto, Mark Batson, Mike Elizondo, Scott Storch, Timbaland, Kon Artis
The Game chronology
G.A.M.E.
(2004)
The Documentary
(2005)
Doctor's Advocate
(2006)
Alternate cover
Special edition cover
Singles from The Documentary
  1. "Westside Story"
    Released: September 28, 2004
  2. "How We Do"
    Released: November 23, 2004
  3. "Hate It or Love It"
    Released: February 2005
  4. "Dreams"
    Released: June 7, 2005
  5. "Put You on the Game"
    Released: August 30, 2005

The Documentary is the debut album by West Coast rapper The Game, released on January 18, 2005 through Interscope Records. After recovering from a shooting in late 2001, The Game pursued a rap career and was discovered by Dr. Dre who signed him to his Aftermath Entertainment label. The album features production provided by but not limited to Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Cool & Dre, and Timbaland, and guest vocals from 50 Cent, Nate Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, and Faith Evans, among others.

Contents

Conception

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Background

In October 2001, The Game was shot five times and put in a three day coma after being attacked by three assailants in his drug dealing area. While recovering in hospital, he studied seminal hip hop albums such as Reasonable Doubt, Ready to Die, Doggystyle, All Eyez on Me, The Chronic, Illmatic and Regulate...G Funk Era.[1] Five months later, he was discovered by Dr. Dre who listened to a mixtape produced by his brother.[2] The Game spent the next two-and-a-half years working on the album and being mentored by Dr. Dre who signed him to his Aftermath Entertainment label.[3][4] In late 2003, Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine decided to have The Game join G-Unit and be signed under a joint venture with Aftermath Entertainment and G-Unit Records.

The album's title was originally "Nigga Witta Attitude Vol. 1" (a reference to N.W.A),[5] but was changed to "The Documentary" due to legal issues.[6] It was set for a late 2004 release, but since other high profile albums including Eminem's Encore was to be released around the same time, it pushed back to January 18, 2005.[7] The Game worked on the album with the goal of reviving the West Coast hip hop scene, which had been overshadowed in the past few years by artists from the East and South.[1]

Recording

After The Game signed with G-Unit, he recorded nine tracks with 50 Cent in his home studio in Farmington, Connecticut. He then went back to Los Angeles and finished up the album with Dr. Dre.[8][9] In a 2005 Vibe magazine interview, 50 Cent stated he was brought in by Interscope Records to work on the album, which he claimed was on the verge of being shelved and The Game being dropped from the label. However, in an interview with Funkmaster Flex, The Game said his status was never uncertain nor was he close to being dropped.[10] 50 Cent also claimed he wrote six of The Documentary's eighteen tracks—"Hate It or Love It", "How We Do", "Church for Thugs", "Special", "Higher", and "Westside Story"[11]—and was not receiving proper credit for his work.[12] The Game denied the claim, saying 50 Cent helped write two songs.[13]

Music

Production

The Documentary's production was well received from critics.[14] The first half of the album contains "upbeat, gangsta boogie" tracks with the other half relegating "smoothed out R&B maneuvers".[15] At seven tracks, Dr. Dre co-executive produced the album with his "stripped-down cinematic" approach.[16] "Westside Story" contains an "evil sounding piano plink", "Dreams" has a "simultaneously smooth and eerie" beat, and "Hate It or Love It" unveils a "smoothed out R&B funk vibe".[15] "Higher" revolves around a pounding synth blast and "How We Do" contains syncopated hand claps[15] with a beat described as "a hypnotic blast of sinister seduction powered by a deliciously primitive 808 pattern and a slinky synth."[17] "Don't Need Your Love" samples Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon Cry" and is one the album's more soulful songs.[18] "Church for Thugs" delivers a "sing-song stylee over an accentuated sonic bed" and "Put You on the Game" is a club track containing "dark dirge[s] of synth".[15]

Although "Start from Scratch" features R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius, the beat "eschews the traditional R&B vibes" for more "aural intimidation". IGN called it "the most haunting inclusion on the album."[15] "The Documentary" features a "busy backing track" of "crashing symphonics and tinny flares of synth", which one critic believed overshadowed the lyrics.[15] "Runnin'" is a "dark, Stygian tune augmented by tinges of R&B mellowness."[15] "No More Fun and Games" has a fast-paced beat[19] that takes inspiration from early 1990s production.[20] "We Ain't", which samples Dr. Dre's "The Watcher", takes Eminem's "chug laden synth gurgle" and is described as "one of the most menacingly catchy numbers on the entire album."[15] Nate Dogg features on two "smoothed out"[15] tracks; "Special" and the g-funk-inspired "Where I'm From".[21] "Don't Worry" is an R&B flavored track and despite its "minimal production", one reviewer wrote the song "still hits hard."[18] The final track, "Like Father, Like Son", is driven by a "melodramatic, string-laden" beat.[16]

Singles

The first single, "Westside Story", peaked at ninety-three on the Billboard Hot 100. Rolling Stone described it as "a kind of L.A. version of "In da Club" with "a simple keyboard part, a spare 808 beat and strings that manage to sound both stressed-out and catchy."[22] "Hate It or Love It" was the most popular single, peaking at number two on the Hot 100.[23] At the 2006 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Rap Song.[24] The music video, which was directed by the Saline Project, was nominated at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rap Video, but lost to Ludacris' "Number One Spot". "Put You on the Game" was the lowest charting single, reaching only ninety-six on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.[25] Entertainment Weekly called it a "club track so crunkalicious, it's almost shocking that a California newbie — not a Ludacris — was the recipient of its deep-fried Southern charms."[26] The music video was directed by Damon Johnson.

"How We Do" peaked at number four on the Hot 100 for four weeks.[25] It was also moderately successful worldwide, reaching the top twenty in most countries.[27] The music video was directed by Hype Williams. The final single, "Dreams", is dedicated to Yetunde Price who was shot dead in 2003.[28] It peaked at number thirty-two on the Hot 100. One critic wrote The Game "sews together a soulful Martin Luther King Jr. type speech with the acerbic wit and hustler charm of Malcolm X."[19] Phillip Atwell directed the music video.

Lyrics

The album's lyrics contain a lot of namedropping as a way of paying homage, especially in "Dreams". On "We Ain't", The Game follows Eminem's verse by saying 'Loc, get Dre on the phone quick/ Tell him Em just killed me on my own shit'. The line parallels Nas's diss track to Jay-Z, "Ether", on which Nas posits 'Eminem murdered you on your own shit' in reference to the song "Renegade" on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint. It's noted that on the same song, he would switch up his flow, to follow Eminem's style.

The line 'Pac is gone and Brenda still throwin babies in the garbage' refers to 2Pac's song Brenda's Got a Baby. Game managed to compile seminal hip hop albums that he studied in a phrase to form The Documentary. He raps - I'm ready to die without a reasonable doubt, smoke chronic and hit it doggy style before I go out, until they sign my death certificate, all eye's on me, I'm still at it, Illmatic and that's "The Documentary"', the chorus from the title track.

Reception

 Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars 2005
Robert Christgau (C-) 2005
Entertainment Weekly (B+) 2005
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars 2005
New York Times (favorable) 2005
NME 8/10 stars 2005
Pitchfork Media (8.3/10) 2005
PopMatters 8/10 stars 2005
RapReviews 8.5/10 stars 2005
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars 2005
Village Voice (mixed) 2005

The Documentary received mostly favorable reviews from music critics.[29] Pitchfork Media called it "the best West Coast street-rap album since DJ Quik's 2002 LP Under tha Influence" and described the production as "a rich, triumphant sonic tapestry".[16] Allmusic wrote the album was an "excellent debut" that "hints at a lot of potential" and observed the "most remarkable aspect of the Game is how he can be such a blatant product of gangsta rap... and leave a mark so fast."[30] Rolling Stone noted The Game was "going for emotional impact rather than dazzling wordplay or laughs"[22] and PopMatters described him as "a self-conscious, malicious, nihilistic gangsta rapper with a heart and lyrical content".[19] On the other hand, Robert Christgau believed the album was "dull even when he isn't describing his medical problems, this no-talent is masscult rock at its most brazen".[31] The A.V. Club praised the production for being "a sonic classic of slow-rolling G-funk and glossy hyper-soul", but panned The Game for his name dropping, suggesting if he "cut all the references to rappers and albums... it'd be a good 15 to 20 minutes shorter—and probably a lot more compelling."[17] Billboard declared it "one of the best rap albums of the year"[32] and Entertainment Weekly suggested "with the brightest hip-hop stars aligning for him, the Game may have willed himself a popular masterpiece."[26]

IGN criticized the large number of guest appearances, stating "the propensity of guest artists makes it hard to actually get a grasp on the rising star's own voice."[15] OMH Media observed "like many rap albums The Documentary is too long, but it maintains a high level of interest" and overall, it was "an impressive effort" that "introduces a strong presence to the West Coast".[33] Stylus Magazine wrote "no one disappoints" and despite the record being "so obviously and deeply grounded in marketing, it’s still an outstandingly solid and enjoyable" debut.[14] The New York Times noted The Game's "tough but straightforward rhyme style is appealing but not, usually, enthralling... This is a rapper who almost never forgets himself, who almost never loses himself in syllables just for the fun of it."[34] The Village Voice criticized the rapper's lyrical skills, saying "the Game's rhymes are about six degrees from totally artless".[35] Yahoo! Music also panned the lyrics for "almost totally lacking in shock value, humour or insight", but praised the production, writing that "musically, this is probably the greatest major label hip-hop album of recent years – a near faultless succession of hi-tech beats and ominously catchy hooks".[21].

Sales

The Game is often credited as a driving force in reviving the West Coast hip hop scene.[36][37] Before its release, he expressed his desire to have high opening week sales, saying "I want to sell a million albums in my first week. And if I only sell one album the following week, I'm good."[1] He also admitted feeling nervous about not being able to live up to the industry expectations, saying "Yeah, I've got some butterflies. I'm worried about my first-week numbers, and I'm worried about living up to the hype."[1] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 586,000 units in the first week.[38] The RIAA certified the album two times platinum on March 23, 2005[39] and it was the tenth best-selling record of the year.[40]

The Documentary peaked at the top fifteen in most European charts it entered. It peaked at number seven on the UK Albums Chart and remained on the chart for thirty-three weeks. It reached the top ten in the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Switzerland, and the top twenty in Belgium, Germany, and Norway.[41] The album topped the Canadian Albums Chart for three weeks[42] and on March 8, 2005, it was certified platinum with 1,000,000 units shipped.[43] As of 2006, it had sold over 5 million copies worldwide.[44]

Track listing

Information taken from The Documentary's liner notes.[45]

# Title Producer(s) Featured guest(s) Sample(s) Time
1 "Intro" Dr. Dre, Che Vicious "Down into the Magic" by Donald Kerr 0:32
2 "Westside Story" Dr. Dre, Scott Storch 50 Cent 3:43
3 "Dreams" Kanye West "No Money Down" by Jerry Butler 4:46
4 "Hate It or Love It" Cool & Dre 50 Cent "Rubberband" by The Tramps 3:26
5 "Higher" Dr. Dre, Mark Batson Natasha Mathis (Additional Vocals) 4:05
6 "How We Do" Dr. Dre, Mike Elizondo 50 Cent 3:55
7 "Don't Need Your Love" Havoc, Additional Production by Dr. Dre Faith Evans "Not Gon Cry" by Mary J. Blige 4:26
8 "Church for Thugs" Just Blaze 4:00
9 "Put You on the Game" Timbaland, Co-Produced by Nate "Danja Handz" Hills Timbaland (Additional Vocals) 4:14
10 "Start from Scratch" Dr. Dre, Scott Storch Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry 4:07
11 "The Documentary" Jeff Bhasker, Co-Produced by Jeff Reed Audio excerpt from the Central Avenue Films Production "Livin' tha Life" 4:11
12 "Runnin'" Hi-Tek Tony Yayo, Dion Jenkins (Additional Vocals) 4:26
13 "No More Fun and Games" Just Blaze "You Can't Love Me, If You Don't Respect Me" by Lyn Collins, "My Philosophy" by Boogie Down Productions and "Gangsta, Gangsta" by N.W.A 2:37
14 "We Ain't" Eminem, Co-Produced by Luis Resto Eminem "The Watcher" by Dr. Dre, "One Day at a Time" by Tupac Shakur, and "Patiently Waiting" by 50 Cent 4:46
15 "Where I'm from" Focus... Nate Dogg "Amanda" by Dionne Warwick 3:08
16 "Special" Needlz Nate Dogg "Catherine Howard" by Rick Wakeman 3:57
17 "Don't Worry" Dr. Dre, Mike Elizondo Mary J. Blige 4:11
18 "Like Father, Like Son" Buckwild Busta Rhymes "Mariya" by The Family Circle 5:27

Charts

Charts (2005)[41][46] Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 9
Austrian Albums Chart 11
Belgium Albums Chart 8
Canadian Albums Chart 1
Dutch Albums Chart 10
French Albums Chart 7
German Albums Chart 11
Irish Albums Chart 6
New Zealand Albums Chart 3
Norwegian Albums Chart 11
Swiss Albums Chart 8
UK Albums Chart 3
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums 1

Personnel

Information taken from Allmusic.[47]

  • Producers – Dr. Dre (exec.), 50 Cent (exec.), Buckwild, Che Vicious, Cool & Dre, Danja, Eminem, Focus... , Havoc, Hi-Tek, Jeff Bhasker, Jeff Reed, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Luis Resto, Mark Batson, Mike Elizondo, Needlz, Scott Storch, Timbaland
  • Engineers – Steve Baughman, Tony Campana, Demacio Castellon, Kevin Davis, Robert Hannon, Hi-Tek, Kent Huffnagle, Mauricio "Veto" Irragorri, Steven King, Kyla Miller, Oscar "Filtrate" Ramierez, Jeff Reed, Jason Schweitzer, Ed Scratch, Joe Warlick, Ryan West
  • Assistant engineers – Marcella "Ms Lago" Aracia, Jose Borges, David Brown, Michael Dobmeier, Scott Gutierrez, Rouble Kapoor
  • Vocals – D. Diana Jenkins, Natasha Mathis, Timbaland
  • Mixing – Dr. Dre, Jimmy Douglas, Eminem, Mauricio "Veto" Irragorri, Steven King, Justin Smith, Timbaland, Ryan West
  • Keyboards – Mark Catson, Mike Elizondo, Lionel "LJ" Holwan, Ervin Pope, Luis Resto
  • Bass – Mike Elizondo, Keenan "Kee Note" Holloway, Steven King
  • Guitar – Glenn Jeffries, Wayne Kee, Steven King
  • Musicians – Jeff Bhasker, Mike Elizondo, Focus, Scott Storch
  • A&R – Mike Lynn, Angelo Sanders
  • Photography – Jonathan Mannion
  • Scratching – Tank

References

  1. ^ a b c d The New Game in Town Generates West Coast Buzz. The New York Times. Accessed September 7, 2007.
  2. ^ Campion, Chris (November 14, 2004). The Game. The Observer. Accessed September 17, 2007.
  3. ^ Leeds, Jeff (November 27, 2005). Scenes From an Arranged Marriage. The New York Times. Accessed October 5, 2007.
  4. ^ Reid, Shaheem (January 27, 2005). Game: Out of the Shadows. MTV. Accessed September 17, 2007.
  5. ^ Interview with The Game. Aftermath Music (January/February 2004). Accessed September 29, 2007.
  6. ^ Reid, Sheheem (December 6, 2004). Shady/ Aftermath/ G-Unit: The Family Stand. MTV. Accessed September 7, 2007.
  7. ^ Reid, Sheheem (October 5, 2004). Game Ready to Prove He's Worthy of the Hype. MTV. Accessed September 7, 2007.
  8. ^ Reid, Shaheem (March 1, 2005). 50 Cent and The Game — Doomed from the Very Beginning?. MTV. Accessed October 4, 2007.
  9. ^ Reid, Shaheem (February 25, 2005). All Eyes on 50 Cent: The Sequel. MTV. Accessed October 4, 2005.
  10. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (March 1, 2005). Update: Man Shot Not with 50 Cent; Violator Offices Shot Up. AllHipHop. Accessed October 3, 2007.
  11. ^ Berrios, Martin A. (June 27, 2007). Streets is Watching: 50 Cent Part Two. AllHipHop. Accessed October 3, 2007
  12. ^ Susman, Gary (March 9, 2005). How We Do. Entertainment Weekly. Accessed February 18, 2008.
  13. ^ Chery, Carl (June 24, 2005). Game gone wild. SOHH. Accessed October 3, 2007.
  14. ^ a b McKeating, Scott (January 28, 2005). The Documentary Review. Stylus magazine. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j D., Spence (February 2, 2005). The Documentary. IGN. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  16. ^ a b c The Documentary Review. Pitchfork Media. Accessed September 17, 2007.
  17. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (January 24, 2005). The Documentary Review. The A.V. Club. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  18. ^ a b J-23 (January 16, 2005). The Game - The Documentary. HipHopDX. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  19. ^ a b c Hamilton, Pierre (February 15, 2005). The Documentary Review. PopMatters. Accessed September 29, 2007.
  20. ^ Juon, Steve 'Flash' (January 18, 2005). RapReview of the Week. RapReviews. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  21. ^ a b Webb, Adam (February 17, 2005). The Game - The Documentary. Yahoo! Music. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  22. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan (February 10, 2005). The Documentary Review. Rolling Stone. Accessed September 29, 2007.
  23. ^ The Game and 50 Cent - Hate It or Love It. aCharts.us. Accessed September 27, 2007.
  24. ^ The Game. Rock on the Net. Accessed October 8, 2007.
  25. ^ a b The Documentary Billboard Singles. Allmusic. Accessed September 30, 2007.
  26. ^ a b Fiore, Raymond (January 24, 2005). The Documentary (2005). Entertainment Weekly. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  27. ^ The Game and 50 Cent - How We Do. aCharts.us. Accessed October 27, 2007.
  28. ^ Relic, Peter (December 12, 2006). Game Time (Vol. 1). Vibe. Accessed October 5, 2007.
  29. ^ The Game: The Documentary. Metacritic. Accessed September 17, 2007.
  30. ^ The Documentary > Overview. Allmusic. Accessed September 17, 2007.
  31. ^ Christgau, Robert (2005). Robert Christgau: RC: The Game. The Consumer Guide. Accessed September 29, 2007.
  32. ^ The Documentary. Billboard (February 5, 2007). Accessed October 7, 2007.
  33. ^ Hogwood, Ben (January 24, 2005). The Game - The Documentary (Interscope). musicOMH.com. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  34. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (January 19, 2005). Hot Ambition, Twinned With a Hot Ear for the West Coast Spirit. The New York Times. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  35. ^ Tate, Greg (February 25, 2005). MCs Are Paid, Not Born. Despite this he still received praise from Rapreviews's Steve Juon for his lyrical abilities. The Village Voice. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  36. ^ Osorio, Kim (March 21, 2006). Game: Playtime Is Over. BET. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  37. ^ Hope, Clover (February 18, 2005). XXL Spotlights West Coast Hip-Hop In March Issue. AllHipHop. Accessed October 7, 2007.
  38. ^ Montgomery, James (January 26, 2005). Straight Outta Compton, Straight to #1: Game Tops Albums Chart. MTV. Accessed September 7, 2007.
  39. ^ "The Documentary" searchable database. RIAA. Accessed October 8, 2007.
  40. ^ Jenison, David (January 4, 2006). Carey Caps '05 by Capping Fiddy. Yahoo! Music. Accessed October 8, 2007.
  41. ^ a b World Chart Positions. aCharts.us. Accessed September 8, 2007.
  42. ^ Chart Data: The Game. Mariah-Charts.com. Accessed September 8, 2007.
  43. ^ Audio Certifications March 2005. CRIA. Accessed September 8, 2007.
  44. ^ Jackson, Kevin (October 24, 2006). The Game's new album Doctor's Advocate drops on November 14. The Jamaica Observer. Accessed September 8, 2007. The Documentary is considered a classic cd in the hip-hop world.
  45. ^ The Documentary (Compton Collector's Edition). Hurricane Game. Accessed January 6, 2008.
  46. ^ The Documentary Billboard Albums. Allmusic. Accessed September 29, 2007.
  47. ^ The Documentary Credits. Allmusic. Accessed January 6, 2008.

External links

Preceded by
American Idiot by Green Day
Billboard 200 number one album (First Run)
January 30, 2005 - February 5, 2005
Succeeded by
Be as You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair)
by Kenny Chesney
Preceded by
Be as You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair)
by Kenny Chesney
Billboard 200 number one album (Second Run)
February 13, 2005 – February 19, 2005
Succeeded by
Seventeen Days by 3 Doors Down

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