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The Game

The Documentary (Aftermath/G-Unit/Interscope)

Dr. Dre has discovered a foolproof method for creating superstars. First he casts an unknown with the right profile -- in this case, Jayceon Taylor, who hails from Compton, used to deal and has been shot five times. Then he introduces him via a disc whose high-profile producers (Timbaland, Hi-Tek) and megawatt guests (Eminem, 50 Cent) make him seem as if he's already famous.

Although the skill of the support staff here can make it difficult to objectively judge the Game's talents -- Jaleel "Urkel" White could rap the Kanye West-produced "Dreams" and it would still work -- he's blessed with a sandpapery, Method Man voice and a flow that underlines his respect for the genre's forefathers. Granted, he name-drops too often; "Higher" mentions seven celebs prior to the couplet "I won't fuck Mariah/Even if she had Ashanti butt-naked in bed." But when he keeps clichés at bay, the Game nearly justifies the hype.

 
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