Album Review: The Game, "Doctor's Advocate" (Geffen)
Eventually, the student must leave the teacher. "Doctor's Advocate" is the second album from Dr. Dre's latest protégé, The Game, but it features nary a track from the old master. Instead, The Game brings back Kanye West, Scott Storch and Just Blaze for another swarthy platter of modern-day gangsta hip-hop.
While it's not as complete or satisfying as "The Documentary," "Doctor's Advocate" supplies plenty of action. Like other second albums, this set is darker and edgier than its predecessor. And that's by design, since The Game has something to prove: Can he be successful without the help of Dr. Dre? From opener "Lookin' At You" to closer "Why You Hate the Game?," there are allusions galore to Dre. These get tired fast. Once we're past "The aftermath of Aftermath," it's time to move on.
Everything about The Game--flow, image and lyrics--screams Dr. Dre Junior. As the opener declares, "He's a reflection of Dr. Dre in his heyday in the worst way." Luckily, there's enough here for a house party in Compton or Orange County. The Game isn't the best rapper in the world--although he is getting more clever with his rhymes--but he can still recognize a hook when he needs one. And those hooks grab you on tracks like "It's Okay/One Blood," "Remedy" and "Too Much," a cut about the temptations of life in the 'hood.
"Doctor's Advocate" features enough phat beats, dark hooks and big-name cameos to make it worthwhile. Kanye, Busta and Snoop all make appearances here, and their presence adds to the proceedings. "California Vacation," with Snoop, is straight outta Dre's glory days, sounding almost like a long-lost Snoop/Dre joint. With both of Dre's students sounding so great, the Doctor should be proud.
The Game still has a way to go. On "Doctor's Advocate," though, he proves he's already learned plenty.