Photography by Rochelle Jeannine
Whilst its been almost 2 years since paragon West Coast rapper, The Game released his last album, 1992, the now regarded Hip-Hop icon and self-crowned gatekeeper of the culture, geared up for his 20+ date European 45 Tour, kicking off in Helsinki, Finland on February 28th.
London’s o2 Forum Kentish Town was the latest stop for The Game and his entourage following a hectic back-to-back schedule. Over 2 hours after a simmering performance from UK rapper Nick Brewer however, the packed out, spotted with huddles of red, forum began to grow restless as the rappers arrival was imminent. He was soon forgiven however, following an amped up arrival just after 22.10 on stage to a parade of live instrumentation and screaming seasoned ‘Hip-Hop Heads’, opening the set with 2011 gang-banging anthem Red Nation, prior to a performance lined with sporadic tributes paid to West Coast legends from Dr. Dre to the late Eazy E and Nate Dogg.
Whilst sporadic, such breakouts were far from anomalous, given not only his consistent presence on the scene as an LA figure from pre-G-Unit days, but also the fact that his last project, which debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200, was essentially a journalistic reminiscent dedication to the golden age of hip-hop (with a few provocative detours of course).
The Game, with a painfully hoarse voice, then broke into a frenzied mosh-evoking El Chapo, a 2015 collaboration with Skrillex off ‘The Documentary 2.5’ album, with some of the most aggressive Spanish barring one may witness outside of Latin America…before swiftly jumping into an arm-raising Ali Bombaye. It was at this point you are jarred into recalling the classic Hip-Hop hits this man has supplied us with throughout the years, and the energy he brought along with a live band was equivocal to that the tracks conduct alone.
The steaming clammy crowd were then taken back to 2005 with an emotional few cuts off the legendary ‘The Documentary’ album, the project which stamped Game’s name on the scene, including Dreams and Put You on the Game, broken up with an emotional monologue about his late father, George Taylor who tragically passed away earlier this year. The party vibe was then re-commenced with the invitation of several fans to join him on stage polishing a few bottles before the finale came.
How We Do and Hate It or Love It, arguably his biggest anthems to date, topped-off what was an affirmation of legendary status for The Game on this 45 Tour. Ending with a fan-led a cappella, a declaration of humility from the man himself and an eagerly awaiting tour-bus driver, as they jet off to the final European dates of the tour, his figure is cemented.