The Game has been one of the hardest working men in rap the last two years. 1992 marks his third record in 2016. Yes you read that right, THIRD. The other two, Streets of Compton and Block Wars, were recognized as soundtrack albums, in support of a game (actual game) and a documentary he's part of. Although I'm listening to a lot of other things, I've always got time for The Game. His flow and raspy tone always make for a smooth listen, and despite there being hip-hop records I enjoyed more than last years double effort The Documentary 2 // 2.5, I still find myself craving them more often than the albums I preferred. What a world!
His albums have always contained more of a conceptual approach than many of his peers. Either by way of the tracks playing into each other, a la The Documentary 2, or connectivity in terms of subject matter. 1992 falls into the latter, focusing on The Game as a 12 year old growing up in Compton and dealing with everything that came through that year (LA Riots, OJ trial, etc.). He's always at his best when retracing his steps, painting vivid pictures of his world, and for him to introduce someone like me, whose childhood couldn't have been more different, shows a skill few possess.
The record features the R&B/ soul filled stylings that Game likes to incorporate, but it's WLPWR's dreamy production on "The Soundtrack" that was my main squeeze on this record. My other favorite comes courtesy of Bongo. The classic sounding "However Do You Want It," samples Soul II Soul's "Back To Life" and provides the perfect canvas for Game to work. He's more of a wordsmith then people give him credit for, and he does his best work over minimalist production, like the two tracks I mentioned. They do enough to create atmosphere, but hang back and let him do what he does best, tell stories.
While this 1992 isn't on the level of Vince Staples studly 2015 debut LP, Summertime '06, the concept is the same, and one I really enjoy. It gives you a look into a specific time in their life, and for artists who've lived a rough and storied existence, the glimpse into his childhood is both interesting and informative. And it's worth noting, for someone who has been in the game for quite sometime, the fact that he's still looks to grow and evolve in terms of presentation and concept shows that under his hardened exterior, he's a true creator, who's love of music and artistry sits above all else. This isn't his best, but it's definitely a positive link in his chain. Keep on Game.