Through his statements in recent interviews — like the one in last month's XXL magazine, in which he spoke of his suicidal thoughts ("There's some good days, some bad days," he said. "Sometimes I'm beat down by my demons, sometimes I beat down my demons") — you would think the Game made his next LP, L.A.X., with a heavy heart. The ferocious Compton MC said he felt quite the opposite. He told MTV News he made his record "free-spirited," with a "free mind and free conscience."
"It's my third album," he said on the L.A. set of his video for "Pain." Keyshia Cole is featured in the clip and on the song. "I dropped the first album, classic. Came back with Doctor's Advocate, classic. [Now] its number three on my road to being a hip-hop legend. All my favorite rappers are legends, and I want nothing more than to be considered among the top, elite MCs.
"I decided on [the title] L.A.X. because that's the major airport here," he added. "I figured people fly into LAX coming and going. I consider myself like that airport, because anything coming through and leaving California gotta come through me."
"Pain" shows Game's undying love for hip-hop, as he references everyone from New Edition to Nas.
"Public Enemy and N.W.A is on my boombox," he raps. "Had to say, 'Today Was a Good Day' had the 'hood buzzin'/ Ice Cube my favorite rapper/ Y'all n---as can't tell me nothin'/ Everybody's first bootleg was 'Boyz N the Hood.' "
"Me and Keyshia came up around the same time," he said of their collaboration. "We always wanted to get in the studio together but never had the chance because both our careers took off at the same time. She blew to superstar status on the R&B side. I blew up on the rap side. I knew she would come in and kill it. And she did."
Keyshia Cole gives a tribute to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul at the end of the song. "See, Mary J., I want you to understand you paved the way for me. I'm givin' homage to you."
"He was doing a tribute [to hip-hop], and it's rarely done," Cole said of the collabo. "I really could feel his pain because of the tribute I did to Mary. ... It's a really nice record."
L.A.X. comes out July 8.