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Album Review

The Game, ‘The R.E.D. Album’

By Ken Capobianco
August 23, 2011

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The Compton MC’s fourth album has been delayed more than a Terrence Malick film, but it reestablishes The Game’s relevance with torched-earth verses and his ability to work with diverse superstars to make a supremely coherent and well-executed set. While there are many references to his LA roots and guest appearances by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, this isn’t an effort to re-create the West Coast sound. Instead, by working with producers like 1500 or Nuthin, Cool & Dre, Boi 1da, and even New York’s DJ Premier, The Game shows a willingness to reinvent himself with some beats that are as penetrating (“Paramedics,’’ “Heavy Artillery’’) and resourceful as his engaging rhymes filled with sports and pop-culture references. He can be self-effacing about his break with Dr. Dre (“shot myself like Plax’’), and he wreaks havoc on Erykah Badu, Rihanna, and Bruno Mars on “Martians vs. Goblins,’’ a hip-hop-on-mushrooms escapade. Along with the tough-minded tales of urban defiance are affecting reflections (“Mama Knows’’) and ruminations (“Pot of Gold’’) that give just the right balance to this 21-song opus. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Good Girls Go Bad’’