The Game

The Documentary (Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit)

It's ironic that the latest Shady/Aftermath product rollout is titled The Documentary. With its stylized violence and all-American appeal, the consortium bears a closer resemblance to the latest Jerry Bruckheimer vehicle than it does to an Errol Morris film. There's even a certain formula: Pluck the latest at-risk superstar from the mixtape circuit, surround him with club bangers via Dre, drizzle his body in oil, and voilà -- you have a platinum-plus record. But despite the deceptive title and cookie-cutter pedigree, The Documentary delivers the goods: Nietzsche-on-crack superman swagger on top of club-friendly beats.

From the rugged blues of "Dreams" to the frantic horns of "Church for Thugs," the production is flawless and benefits from a diversity lacking on other G-Unit projects. The lead single, "How We Do," has achieved dance floor ubiquity, and the austere funk of "Westside Story" should be throttling out of club speakers for months to come. Game matches the music's menace, delivering a series of carefully carved threats and bigger-than-B.I.G. bravado. "Prior to rappin', I was drug traffickin'/In the dope spot, playing John Madden," Game declares. While the Game's voice is more rigid than his G-Unit counterparts, he's able to project power and authority. And in hip-hop, that's sometimes all that matters.

 
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