Marc Cabrera has nothing better to do than watch a lot of movies and television, and listen to a lot of music. Luckily, he has a job that pays him to blog about local and national arts, entertainment and pop culture. He can be reached at email@example.com.
For some reason, folks on here have gotten the impression that I hate The Game (meaning the rapper, not the mythical reference rappers use to describe the music industry). In all honesty, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jeason Taylor, aka The Game, a Compton-born MC who was brought up by Dr. Dre and G-Unit before being kicked out of 50 Cent's posse and essentially black balled from the music industry. The beef with 50 stemmed from several factors, most notably the impending release of 50's album "The Massacre" in early 2005. Game's CD had dropped about two months prior and, looking for a good marketing gimmic, 50 took aim at The Game after the west coast rapper refused to get involved in his boss' beef with rival MC's. Game was excommunicated from the group, 50's album went nearly five times platinum, and both rappers careers have gone in seeming opposite directions. Which brings us to The Game's DVD release, "Stop Snitchin, Stop Lyin." Released almost a year to the date that his first LP, "The Documentary," this self-produced and distributed disc finds The Game hot on 50's trail, "From LA to Farmington, Conn." as Game mumbles in the intro. The video is two-fold: provide true fans with a glimpse into The Game's personal life, including scenes filmed in his lush Beverly Hills sky-rise, footage of his trips to the East Coast, and even some on-the-scene shots of his arrest in North Carolina (which could possibly be used as evidence if he ever pursued a police brutality case against the arresting officers). The other aim of the film is to discredit every member of 50's posse, which includes rappers Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Ma$e, and R&B singer Olivia. Game gets supposed ex-cons who did time with Yayo to mouth off on the rapper, claiming that he was a jailhouse recluse who was too scared to walk in general population. Lloyd Banks gets it in the form of a blurred image of a gay porn star who supposedly strikes an alarming resemblance to Banks (the porn star has since come forward to clear up the confusion). Probably the funniest diss is aimed at Ma$e, a former r&b rapper turned preacher turned gangster rapper. At one point during his diatribe, Game wonders aloud about the seeming hypocracy of such extreme career turns before the screen states flatly "Ma$e is going to Hell," a sentiment plenty of hip-hop fans have shared over the past few years. 50 fares no better, as his name is tossed around in various court documents that suggest he was covorting with federal agents or police detectives. But Game uses lame re-enactments to illustrate those alleged documents, none of which come off as funny but more like they're reaching. The film is a mess of quick cut documentary style footage mixed with interviews that reveal a somewhat reflective Game. But the true revelation comes in the form of "hip-hop police," which follow Game around during his travels. Using superimposed arrows to point out his stalkers, Game runs into these police detectives, part of a New York precinct's undercover outfit that reportedly follows rap stars around to monitor their every move. Game machs these guys from the get, and at one point gets one of them to fess "Hey, I'm just doing my job." It's an eye opener that these guys not only exist, but are determined to shadow their prey. As the film progresses, we get more and more shots of Game trying to find 50 Cent. He travels to his hometown of Queens, NY, as well as Harlem, and the images of hundreds of fans crowding him and one girl breaking down and crying at the sight of Game is pretty moving. As his travels eventually lead to 50's gated mansion in Connecticut, the movie reminds me of a ghetto version of Roger and Me, Micheal Moore's documentary that followed his pursuit of Chrysler president Roger Smith. Where in that movie Moore is stopped short of a face to face with his prey at a public board meeting, Game shows up at 50's house and a hilarious encounter ensues. Although the film is entertaining at times and revealing in others, it does reveal some of Game's weaknesses: at one point, his own CD image is blurred from the screen, proving that he does not have any control over his contractual situation at this point in his career (all images of Aftermath/G-Unit artists are blurred out due to copyright restrictions). He also shares that he paid for his fourth video out of his own pocket, further proof that his record label is not supporting his commercial endeavors. And although Game himself seems somewhat affable and open, he falls into the same rut as his predecessors, putting too much weight on image and profiling. The excessive shots of his fleet of cars, guns and money stacks are just too over the top to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, for true fans, this is sure to be a good argument in his favor. Further proof that one should hate neither the player nor The Game.