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1992 *

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Performer Notes
  • Game's eighth proper studio album came out during an active 2016. Earlier in the year, he released soundtracks for a documentary, Streets of Compton, and a mobile app game, Block Wars. On a personal level, he and 50 Cent made amends following a prolonged period of mutual antagonism, and then he went after Meek Mill, as documented on the forceful but controlled "92 Bars," included here. Although it's titled 1992 and is heavily nostalgic (even by Game's standard), stacked with references to the state of hip-hop circa the early '90s, it's inspired by the era more than it is a period piece. Anachronism chasers might prefer to call this album Nineties-ish. Pre-1992 classics by Ice-T, the D.O.C., and Soul II Soul are among the sampled material, as are later tracks from Mystikal and Clams Casino. Game references numerous figures who ascended post-golden age and frames a track, backed by "The Message" -- like the 1993-issued remix of Ice Cube's "Check Yo Self" -- around O.J. Simpson, referencing the tense 1994 ride with A.J. Cowlings. Granted, that same track is purposefully 2016 with allusions to the U.S. presidential election and a blunt rejection of "[Simpson's] whole TV show" (presumably the documentary or series about him) that recalls Ice Cube's opinion of The Arsenio Hall Show. Regardless, Game frequently evokes his age-12 year with references to the 1992 NBA all-star game, the unrest in response to the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King, and the general condition of life in South Central Los Angeles. The constant flow of pronouns is not bound to sway Game critics, but the rapper's narrative aptitude is indisputable, most evident in track six, where he richly details a close friendship severed by gang alliances. Moreover, the rapper's fervor is tireless. The melodious single "All Eyez," produced by the re-emergent Scott Storch with Jeremih on the hook, preceded the album by four months and appears as a bonus. For the compact edition, the track, one of Game's most pop-oriented moments, was given its own disc to help distinguish it as a disconnected work. ~ Andy Kellman
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