Despite not having a single on the Billboard rap charts since 2012, 35 year-old Jayceon Taylor, aka The Game, pulled a sold-out show at the Observatory last night, commemorating the 10th anniversary of his double platinum debut, The Documentary.
Less than an hour before the latest edition of his self-exploiting Instagram campaign, #FineNiggaFridays, where he posts a picture of his ripped and tattooed figure, Game plugged the hashtag to the amusement of the ladies in attendance. Once known simply as a gangsta rapper, responsible for a slew of feuds that burned bridges across the rap community, the rapper has assumed the role of a semi sex symbol, among other roles that give his fans reasons to love that extend beyond his music.
But on this night The Game was reincarnated to his 26 year-old self, a renegade who made gangbanging popular again to people around the world. There were still red bandanas and Cincinnati Reds hats in the crowd being touted by those certainly unaffiliated to the gangs those symbols have come to represent. His raspy voice, largely responsible for his bad boy image, could also be ascribed to the resurrection of gangsta rap's second coming after his mentors Dr. Dre and Eazy-E first exposed us.
Sitting on a pair of tires, bolstered by the gilded Dayton wire rims that epitomize his demeanor and distinguish the cover of his debut project, The Game showing his profile to the crowd in a furry, white zip-up, and a black bandana on his face cowboy style. His 6'4″ figure ascends and his debut single, and opening track to the album he came to perform in its entirety, drops. As the emcee makes his first rounds to each side of the packed venue – the only spaces available are left by those who've been kicked out for being obnoxious, his tattoos are put on full display by the white light illuminating the stage. One can clearly see the red star bearing “LA” under his right eye, which covers a butterfly, as well as the “LAX” tattoo, a memento from his 2008 album.
Supporting The Game was a 5-piece band, not including his DJ Nu Jersey Devil, whose role was limited until Game borrowed the DJ's two female escorts for one of many interludes. The two exhibited their voluptuous bodies as Game commentated. Other interludes were caused the stretch of a 70 minute album into an approximately two hour show. Throughout the night, the band was responsible for attributing a classical, opulent feel to the decade old project. Harmonious breakdowns allowed Game to share intimacies (and joints) with patrons including him guzzling a half gallon of Grey Goose vodka in less than a minute and recounting the time he and his hypeman, Taino, jumped fences to escape trouble in the fifth grade. We were also privy to the story of Griselda, a childhood muse who gave the rapper his first boner (his words), while a Hispanic couple dressed in quinceanera apparel twirled around the stage.
When the band was in full swing, though, nostalgic lyrics–reminiscent of a time when the music of Nate Dogg, 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre was popular in clubs and iPod classics–blasted out into the crowd appeasing the Californi-philiacs wearing West Coast attire including the baggy jeans and nylon jackets one can only find in the inner-city. His performance was more than an appearance for a check and some self-promotion. The show was more of a capstone on an era that had implications on the state of rap music. Game seemed fully aware of this by taking the time at one point to pause and give a smirk of satisfaction to his supporters.
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.