Loves this song but not convinced about it being the official first single over here.
Here's my interview with Jayceon that ran in the last issue of the lovely iD
He’s known as being one of hip hop’s most contentious, controversial figures but is the Game finally having a Time Out? Hattie Collins Goes Back, Back To Cali, Cali to find out…
“I’m mad that the KKK traded the white sheets and the ropes for a gun and a mothafuckin’ badge/ I ain’t never shot a cop but if they do me like Huey P Newton, I’m pulling out glocks…” 911 Is A Joke (Cop Killa)
It’s a typically hot Californian day at a particularly plush LA hotel; swaying palm trees stretch up from the perfectly manicured lawns while white-shirted waiting staff ferry $20 cocktails to bronzed bodies in bikini’s as they lounge by the pool. A cobalt blue sky is dented only by a burning white sun that beats down relentlessly on the City of Angels.
“Maybe they do things differently in New York, but if that shit had gone down in LA, you’d be seeing smoke in that sky now,” insists Jayceon ‘The Game’ Terrell Taylor, his deep boom breaking the calm reverie. “I'm not promoting no riots or anything, but if that would have happened here, it would have been a different outcome.”
Game, 28, is ostensibly here to promote his third album, L.A.X. co-starring Lil Wayne, Kanye, Cool & Dre, Quincy Jones, Snoop, Keyshia Cole and Chris Brown. But it seems the Compton MC would far rather talk about the 2006 killing of Sean Bell. A young man celebrating his forthcoming wedding, the unarmed Bell was shot to death 51 times outside a Queens nightclub by New York police who claim they thought Bell was carrying a weapon. Days before we meet, the inquiry verdict came back; 5.0 were found, you guessed it, not guilty of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and assault. But unlike South Central in 1992, there were no riots in the Rotten Apple when the Bell verdict was delivered. “When it happened to Rodney King, I didn't have a voice in the community. But now I do have a voice and I used it to explain my frustrations and my emotions on 911 Is A Joke, ” says Game about his Bell protest song. It’s an incendiary track aimed purely at the conscious-minded – little surprise the record label chose not to include it at the L.A.X playback earlier in the day. “We need to make an example out of those police officers like they made an example out of Shyne, “ insists Game, referring to the imprisoned rapper who was once signed to P. Diddy’s Bad Boy label. “Shyne shoots in the air in a club, doesn't hit anybody and has been in jail since 2001. The law, the government, we need to figure out a way to make it make more sense cos it seems like total bullshit at this point.”
Despite this justified outrage toward the authorities that be, Taylor is otherwise at peace with the world. The only beef he has these days, he promises, is with President Bush: “Barack’s not really going to get a chance to do anything that he wants to do, because Bush has made such a mockery and a mess of the USA over the last eight years. It's fucking ridiculous,” he frowns. “I think Barack's going to spend his four years cleaning up Bush's shit, so at the end of his four years it's going to seem like he didn't do anything. He'll spend his time bringing the soldiers home, sorting out the gas prices, the credit crunch…“
Dubya aside, the days of beef battling the likes of 50 (hey, he won, why continue?) and feeling aggrieved at Dr. Dre are behind him, he promises. Well, almost…
“I’m sick of bullshit, leave me alone. An’ tell Dre to pick up his phone, before I crawl through his window right into his hom…” (Dope Boys)
“Eminem used to do that all the time. It's not a diss, it's more poking fun at the guy that made my existence possible as far as hip hop is concerned,” grins Game of Dope Boys. While references on L.A.X to 50 and Dre are few and far between, it seems like he can’t help but poke at the hornet’s nest. Is there an element of disappointment that the Good Doctor will not be appearing on L.A.X? “No,” he insists immediately. “That was the last album [The Doctor’s Advocate]. I'm over that. I've completed more albums without Dre than with Dre.”
It’s why The Doctors Advocate holds an even more special place in his heart than debut Documentary. “I had to go up against Dre and 50 and fight my label,” he says of the recording process that left him depressed and occasionally in tears. “But I overcame all the bullshit and the stress and the animosity and showed them.” …Advocate did nearly 3 million in worldwide sales, yet it’s left his relationship with the Aftermath auteur in tatters, right? “Me and Dre will probably never have a working relationship again,” he agrees. “I never knew why and at this point, I don't really care. There will always be a big brother/ little brother type mentorship there, but Dre is Dre. I wish him luck with the Detox album and if he calls maybe I'll answer and maybe not.”
Other than discuss the occasional L.A.X lyric, Game is somewhat reluctant to pull apart his new album, except to say that he’s finally made the record that he wanted to make. “I created it for me first and then everybody else second,” he says of tracks like Money Car, Ain’t Fuckin’ With’ You, My Life and Make The World Go Round. By the way, he adds, most of the seven tracks featured at the playback won’t make the final cut. Why? He just doesn’t like to give a lot away in advance. “At this point in my career, I want to do music how I want to do music. The label, Dre and 50 played big roles in the creation of my first two albums but this one, I created. And it feels good. I walk in the Interscope building and they know, the hallways clear; Mr Interscope is in the building,” he laughs. “All the beefs are done.” It that a relief? “It's more than a relief, it's great.”
Yep, one or two newsworthy quotes about Andre Young and Curtis Jackson aside, the 28 year-old rapper’s raison de etre has shifted gears, Game maintains. Today’s conversation is mostly made up of current affairs and politics, what should be done in the UK to stop the rise in gun and knife crime, and his feelings on current hip hop. “I don't think there's any artist in hip hop that's better than me. I’m pretty much the leader, although I think Lil Wayne is the Nas to my Jay-Z. Wayne actually might be a legend already.” He avoids divulging too much about his latest insane cheek tattoo (“I've promised my girl no more on the face”) but he’ll talk for hours about his family - hardly two minutes pass by before he’s whipping out his iPhone to show pictures of his two children.
A short spell in prison, the arrival of a new son and the engagement to his teacher-girlfriend Tiffany who sits beside Game throughout the interview, seem to have calmed this once restless, aggravated young rhymer. “You remember me, I was raw,” he grins of interviews past. The eight days in prison were after an incident at a basketball court where a man accused Game of waving a gun at him. “Yes, I’ve had guns in my life in the past, but not this time. But people want to test you, have you sent to jail; someone threw me a line and I took the bait.” Though he protested his innocence, Taylor decided to take the time inside rather than fight a costly legal battle. “To make a short story shorter, prison is no place for anybody,” he says of donning an orange jumpsuit. “Nobody in jail wants to be in there and I don't think I'll ever go back. Lesson learnt.” His fiancée sighs: “It was eight hours to get in to see him,” as Game grunts. “They bought me in like an animal to see her. Chains around my waist and everything,” he frowns, before Tiffany smiles. “He still looked cute though.”
The couple has been together for a little over two years; first meeting at a Jay-Z and Beyoncé party at a hotel on Sunset, although it took a while before they hit it off. “I'm hood and she's bougie,” he announces, although Tiffany insists times have changed. “He was – still is – a firecracker. But I bought him on over; now he's still ghetto, but bougie ghetto.” Generally, if Jayceon isn’t pulling 18-hour days in the studio, they hang out at home watching movies or, occasionally, doing dinner with next door neighbour’s Joel Madden and Nicole Richie. “I co-sign Joel and Nicole, but Benji, I don't know what he's doing right now. He'll probably be mad at me for saying that. We like Benji; just not his girlfriend,” he says of La Hilton. ”I think Paris wants to be like Nicole. Those boys are like real down to earth, trailer-park trash and Paris wants that cos Nicole has it. I think she's jealous cos Nicole has a baby and a nice home and she's not doing drugs.” Yeah he’s changed, but it seems Game can’t help but court the controversial.
“Like the Roc needed Sigel/ Like I needed my father but he needed the needle…”
My Life (Ft. Lil Wayne)
Just over a year ago the couple had a son, King Justice and it appears King’s arrival more than anything seems to have doused Game’s flames, if just a little. “I love my kids. I think they can probably be as bad as they want without ever getting a whooping,” he says of King and his elder son Harlem Coran. He’s determined to foster a far healthier relationship than he had with his own father. “You know my dad did heroin and he pretty much blames everything that he ever did bad on that, what a sorry excuse.” he reveals. “But kids need a father, bottom line. It's too late for me and my father, but it's not too late for me to show my kids that this is how it's supposed to be done.”
“Before I was born they was talking bout The Game…When it's all said and done you n****s gon' quote me.” Game’s Pain [Ft. Keyshia Cole)
It’s because of his kids that, the other J.T announces, L.A.X will be his last album. “Hip hop gives and hip hop takes, and hip hop stole a lot of my normalness. So I'm going to retire because I love my family more than I love music,” he explains of putting down the mic. “Hip hop’s given me a lot of things but it hasn't given me what my family has given me, which is total bliss.” So he’s actually going to retire? Really? Really, really, really? Like real retirement as opposed to Jay-Z temporary retirement? “Yep. This is L.A.X and gone. But L.A.X will be an album that lasts a lifetime.”
Finally it seems, he’s ready to talk a little more about his third and perhaps final album. “At this point in my career, I'm pretty much a statue in hip hop, I can't be moved,” he states, bullish and confident as ever. “If you're coming to LA, you gotta go through me, like the airport LAX. Every time I come through there, they know I can' t be stopped,” he smirks with a shrug. He leans back into his chair, surveys the surrounding smoke-free California scenery splayed before him and nods emphatically. “I'm the king of LA and that will never change. I’ll always be the Game.”
Tiffany 4 Jayceon
“He's very sweet, very persistent, dependable and a kind and good person. We have a lot of fun together. I think that's probably the most important thing; we talk a lot, joke a lot, play a lot. We really enjoy each other.”
Jayceon 4 Tiffany
“She's the one stop-shop. She's everything you need from a woman. She just knows how to do everything. Her booty could be a little bit bigger - I'm kidding, I’m kidding!”