West Coast hip-hop is in the midst of a renaissance, with a string of stellar releases from a smattering of talented youngsters (Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, YG and so on) and the long-awaited return of Dr. Dre, who dropped the surprisingly vital Compton over the summer.
Fitting then that the Game, born Jayceon Taylor 35 years ago, hit back earlier this year with The Documentary 2, which finds the rapper returning to the same Compton-area stomping grounds he repped on his 2005 debut The Documentary. Of course much has changed over the past decade. When the Game first emerged in the mid-2000s, he was viewed as next branch in the Dre-led hip-hop family tree. But subsequent releases, including the notoriously spotty R.E.D. Album, from 2011, uprooted this hype.
The Documentary 2, though not a complete return to form, is a more consistent effort, built on the Game's gangster-land boasts ("Think I'm bluffin'? Guns cocked, say somethin'," he sneers on "Step Up") and further propped up by his legit-killer Rolodex. Drake, Kendrick and Kanye all turn up with guest verses that range from spirited (Drake on "100") to sluggish (Kanye on "Mula"), and beat makers like Mike WiLL Made It and DJ Premier provide a variety of cinematic soundscapes for the rapper's hard-edged boasts.
Xclusive Elite Entertainment Center
9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
1921 Channingway Center Dr., East Side