Despite abutting, as it does, a review/essay–predominantly essay–on Rick Ross’ freestyle treatment of the very same song, one would not expect to find much in the Game’s rendition, by way of comparative analysis. This is because, for most of his career, Game has occupied roughly the same end of the Voice-Skill spectrum as Rozay, hovering comfortably closer to the former rather than the latter.
“Voice” rappers (e.g., Slim Thug, Gunplay, Chief Keef, Waka Flocka) derive most of their appeal and artistry from their very sound; they may not posses the largest vocabularies or nimblest flows, but their voices are imbued with some sort of slippery quality which elevates anything they put down. In short, they are fine rappers because they sound like fine rappers. On the opposite end of the spectrum are rappers who rely more upon wordplay and lyrical content in their songs, the old head darlings and, to some zealots, “real emcees”; between the two reside rappers who can do both, a list which shares more than a little overlap with the roster of rap’s Pantheon (think Rakim, Krayzie Bone, Bun B, Ghostface Killah).
While more than capable of above average rhymes and some potent imagery, The Game has always sauntered about subsisting on his inherently dangerous sounding voice–and, it must be said, his look (so few gang-oriented rappers look so damn hard)–running down tracks with the subtlety of a gold spoked Impala, all power and menace and flash, a loping stride that bears a striking resemblance to his former antagonist 50 Cent. He stalks exceptional beats–“How We Do,” “Church For Thugs,” “It’s Okay (One Blood),” “Dope Boys”–with the purposeful viciousness of an adjule. There were always hints, beneath the surface, of a quicker, leaner Game, but for the most part Compton braggadocio, strong bars, a willingness to beef, and a fine selection of memorable beats have carried The Game’s career.
Which is what makes “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” somewhat surprising, and allows for the juxtaposition with Ross’. The low, soulful swing upon which Game’s voice would usually take to its more than confidently strut is instead run upon; after a few opening warm up bars, and with the exception of a mid-verse cool down, Game applies to rhyme structures of some complexity a pacing which would be more befitting fellow Compton native, and original tenant, Kendrick Lamar.
Game’s ability to shift gears does not come completely out of left field; his canter has always read as more cock-of-the-walk than stilted, with enough truly fine turns of phrase to make him a veritable Chanticleer. It is as if his tongue is moored in testosterone and blood rather than molasses. Among a smattering of other tracks, hearing him try to keep up with Bone Thugs on the “Celebration” remix and, to his eternal credit, not entirely failing (Game joins a short but distinguished list of rappers who have tried to run with Bone, most notably Biggie Smalls) irrevocably showed the second gear was there.
Still, one comes away from “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” a touch disappointed. It is tough to tell if Game does not wear this new look particularly well because of its own faults or because his other suit fit so fine, but one must appreciate his receptiveness to shaking things up; if nothing else, it will make his hammer dropping return that much sweeter.
“Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe Freestyle” receives a PAR.
Also Check Out:
Freestyle of the Week Review: Rick Ross, “Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Freestyle of the Week Review: Spenzo, “Started From The Bottom Freestyle”
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