When he arrived at last month's MTV Video Music Awards, the Game was surprised by all the reporters asking about his upcoming shoe line.
Then he realized it wasn't Hurricanes — the name of his shoe — they were interested in, but the hurricane.
That's when he knew he had a problem.
"I felt like a complete a--hole 'cause I didn't know what was going on," he said. "[Katrina] just missed us [in Miami], so after the show I went and turned the TV on and felt terrible."
The Game, who has long called himself Hurricane Game, procured the name for his shoe line a year ago with Los Angeles's 310 — the fashion arm of car-customizing company 310 Motoring — but worried people would think he was in some way trying to capitalize on Hurricane Katrina when the shoes hit shelves later this fall.
"So I opted to change the name and stop calling myself Hurricane Game," the rapper said. "But then we met at a round table, me and my management and my business partners with the shoe line, and we came up with an alternate solution to keep the name and let it stand as a flagship. Everything we do with the shoe line will coincide with some kind of relief until there's no more shoe line."
A dollar amount, still undetermined, from each pair of shoes sold will go toward Hurricane Katrina relief, and on top of that, the Game donated for auction a 2005 Bentley that 310 Motoring gave him as a signing bonus.
"That's over $300,000 — not to brag about the dollar amount or say that's all I'm doing," the rapper said. "I've been so active. As far as the shoe line is concerned, just know we're doing everything possible. I was supposed to take a trip down there, but I stayed for [Saturday's 'ReActNow: Music & Relief' special]. I will indeed visit and help out wherever I can."
The Game, who cited relief efforts by John Travolta and Sean Penn as inspiration, was a last-minute addition to Saturday's benefit on MTV Networks' channels (see "Reznor, Kanye, Green Day Reflect On Disaster, Inspire Relief For MTV Special") and will also be involved in a benefit being planned by David Banner. The rapper believes people need to step up in place of the government. Like Kanye West and many others, he was disappointed in the Bush administration's initial reaction to the hurricane (see "T.I., David Banner Get Behind Kanye's Bush Comments").
"It's bullsh--," the rapper said. "I think the government picks and chooses who they gonna aid, and it almost felt like they were gonna let people suffer. [The U.S. is] quick to jump in and help others, and not to say that's a bad thing, but this was on our own soil — and for five days. That doesn't seem like that long, but in actuality, one hour without food or socks, or not knowing where your children are, is a long time."
The Game has spent a lot of time in New Orleans visiting his close friend, NBA star Baron Davis, who played three seasons with the Hornets.
"I know I'm supposed to say this because of the tragedy that occurred there, but it really is a beautiful place," he said. "It's devastating not only to America but to the world. It's bad all the way around. I just wish the best to all those people."