If you know me then you will know that I love hip hop! Over the years I’ve witnessed some of the genres creams of the crop perform live. These include the likes of Ice Cube, Naughty By Nature, 50 Cent and Krs-One to name a few. But the artist who I’ve seen perform live the most is The Game, seeing him seven times in total.
He really has put Compton and the West Coast back on the map. From Tupac dying in 1996 until the emergence of The Game in 2006, the West Coast only had Snoop Dogg representing globally. Since the release of his 2005 debut album, The Documentary, The Game’s career has catapulted, seeing him continuing to carry the torch for West Coast hip hop.
Last Thursday, The Game kicked off his Born 2 Rap world tour at the Albert Hall in Manchester. Living not too far away, I jumped at the opportunity to see him perform again. After a short wait, Bradford rapper, Lunar C, warmed the excited Manchester crowd up. Lunar C came out of the UK battle scene in 2011, with his music played on mainstream radio. He did a great job, with him running through some old material along with new songs towards the end.
Every time that The Game has toured throughout his career, he always brought an emerging artist out of L.A. On his LAX tour in 2009, he included the late great Nipsey Hussle, who was just emerging. This time, Game’s DJ, Nu Jerzey Devil, introduced Coyote, a rap duo from Los Angeles. Spending part of their childhood in Mexico, Coyote spoke out about the US President, having the whole crowd shouting “F*** Donald Trump.”
The time had come for The Game to perform, entering the stage wearing a hoodie and LA Lakers shorts. With a bottle of Hennessy in his hand, he went straight into ‘No Smoke’ from Born 2 Rap. Halfway through the song, he pulled out a blunt and lit it in memory of his friend, basketball icon, Kobe Bryant. He passed the blunt to the crowd to hit in memory of Kobe, who passed away four days prior.
The first person that the blunt was passed to was, you guessed it, yours truly! All eyes were on me, including The Game’s, as I took a hit from his blunt! Wow, what a moment! After the blunt made it’s way back to the stage, Game’s brother passed the remains of it to me! The security tried to find it but I quickly stashed it away in my pocket. But nobody was going to take The Game’s Kobe blunt away from me!
After this, I was so lit! The next hour or so went by quick, with the hip hop superstar performing some of his biggest hits. These included West Side, One Blood, Dreams, My Life, Red Nation and Higher. When he came to perform Put You On The Game, I knew what was coming, his Tupac dedication. The Game rapped; “Another memorial for Makaveli and Big Pop”, then dropped Hail Mary, instructing the crowd to put their twos in the air. Throughout, everybody in the venue rapped along to Hail Mary, an incredible tribute to the greatest of all time.
Closing the show, he performed How We Do and Hate It Or Love It, both from The Documentary. At the end of Hate It Or Love It, The Game once again pays tribute to Kobe, Gigi and the others who died in the helicopter crash. Reflecting on life, The Game pleaded for people to treat others better and appreciate them while they’re still alive. Raising the Hennessy and kissing it for Kobe, The Game left the stage with the crowd shouting Kobe’s name.
Furthermore, I purchased meet and greet passes, which gave me a chance to meet one of my favorite rappers. Directly after the show, myself and my brother made our way backstage to his dressing room! When I walked in, The Game was sat on a sofa with his Death Row chain on display. With me wearing a red Makaveli Branded hoodie, he told me that he loved my hoodie. Stating that Tupac is a legend, he broke out in rap, rapping the lyrics to West Side. So I’m sat next to a living legend, rapping his latest single to me. Afterwards, he signed some merchandise for me and told me that he appreciated the love. What a night, one that I will never forget!