While serving his prison sentence, the Game didn’t want to make a mockery of people doing “real time.” He just wanted to stay out of the way. But like a lot of celebs who find themselves in prison, Game was harassed and got into physical conflicts with some of the corrections officers.
“They was doing all kinds of crazy stuff,” the MC said recently in New York. “They were playing G-Unit songs through the intercom while I was asleep. They was playing ‘Window Shopper’ just to irritate me. First couple of days, I was getting irritated and pissed off. But then it started to set in that this is a big game to them and they just kids, and they don’t really understand life yet. It was funny after a while. It wasn’t funny the first couple of times, though.”
Game only had to serve two weeks of his 120-day sentence — for which he gives a big thanks to his lawyers — but it was a burden nonetheless. Game’s first single after his release from prison in mid-March was the Cool & Dre-produced “Big Dreams.”
“I was just free,” he said. “I was so happy to record, even though I was in there for just two weeks. In jail, you’re counting seconds: ’1, 2, 3.’ Nothing’s happening, man. You’re just standing there. No TV, no radio, you’re in your cell. You gotta find time to meditate. Read a book. Work out. That’s what I did. I read four or five novels in two weeks. Got my push-ups on.”
In addition to “Big Dreams,” the Compton MC also released “Game’s Pain,” an ode to hip-hop luminaries from LL Cool J to the Fresh Prince. Keyshia Cole sings on the hook.
“There was a message in The Documentary, there was a message in The Doctor’s Advocate, there is no message in L.A.X.,” he said of his upcoming LP. “If there is a message, that message will be that for the first time in my career, I was able to record a studio album in peace — without drama, without anything rendering me helpless, without having to fight with my label or 50. Or without worrying about if Dre would be producing on the album. I can do it on my own. I proved that with my last album.”
Game described his state of mind as “free-spirited” and said his artistry is vastly improved.
“My lyrics, 10 times elevated,” he said. “I’ve grown as an MC more than I’ve ever thought I could have done. I got to record with people that really wanted to do music with me.”
In some cases, the artists and producers broke their necks to work with the Game. No MP3s were sent out. Everybody who contributed to the album, whether it be vocally or musically, was actually in the lab with Game during the recording sessions. Ice Cube turns up, as do Marsha Ambrosia and Busta Rhymes on a record called “Undefeated.” Ne-Yo appears twice on “Thug and a Gentleman” and “Camera Phone.”
“I came up with a couple of concepts,” Game said. “Two times in a row, he outwrote on my hooks. They became Ne-Yo hooks. … Ne-Yo is like my Nate Dogg right now.”
L.A.X. will be released July 8.