LAX is a dope album title. It’s concise and aptly says, “Welcome to Los Angeles,” just like the signs do when you’re driving down Century Boulevard, leaving the airport.
Game represents the west coast well. His flow, vocabulary and wordplay are on point, and he really knows his hip hop. He often alludes to hip hop greats, as evidenced in the first single from LAX, “Game’s Pain” featuring Keyshia Cole. This track, as well as the remix, run along the same vein as Method Man and Mary’s version of “You’re All I Need.” The collaboration between a dope lyricist and a hip hop soul songstress is magical.
Game’s artistic growth shines on this album. While I can’t say I’m in love with every track on the album, I appreciate his lyrical skills. On the track featuring Chrisette Michelle, Game sounds very Nas-like, something he points out in the song. I wouldn’t go as far to say he’s swagger jacking, it’s more of an allusion to a hip hop legend. Sometimes when you listen to certain artists, you can tell who their influences are.
Nas blessed Game with his greatness on “Letter to the King.” The song is quite somber, but the soul samples are great. Nas and Game balanced the tone of LAX with this elegaic reflection on being black in America.
Game’s knowledge and appreciation for real hip hop is much of his appeal. Compared to many of his contemporaries, his style is characterized by his study of hip hop greats; taking their influences and making them his own. He knows that hip hop started in New York, but when it made it to Los Angeles, it became gangster. He intelligently exploits that fact. Like it or not, it is what it is.
My personal favorite track on LAX is “Angel,” featuring Common. The track is produced by Kanye, and it sounds like some Rick James, Bootsy Collins, funky soul shit. It’s one of those songs to use as your soundtrack to engage in your chosen vice, or just ride to it with the bass speakers pumping.
And that’s what real hip hop does. Take what the greats created for you, make that shit your own, make it hot. It’s a winning formula.