As the Yale student body looks forward to this weekend’s festivities surrounding The Game, it may be useful to revisit some of the reasons that this phenomenon carries such remarkable significance in our culture. Every year in late November, the sensation of The Game sweeps over the Yale community. Students buzz with school pride and appreciation for The Game’s importance, but this year I propose we take a minute to pause and consider the full importance of his career.
At 32 years old, Jayceon Terrel Taylor, better known by his stage name, The Game, continues to produce deeply inspired music, albeit for a listenership decreasing in numbers. A pillar of the contemporary West Coast Hip Hop scene, The Game has released five studio albums and had three children (two sons and a daughter) over the last ten years. Since being signed to the Aftermath Entertainment record label by Dr. Dre in 2003, the Los Angeles, Ca. rapper rose to prominence through his debut album, The Documentary (2005), and cemented his stardom with the 2006 follow-up album Doctor’s Advocate, which debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 exactly six years ago this coming Wednesday.
Many fans enjoyed their first encounter with The Game in his cameo appearance in 50 Cent’s “In da Club” music video in 2003, where he performs a dance called “grinding” with a female partner. From this point, his dominance of the Hip Hop genre was only further solidified with the release of The Game’s hit single “Hate it or Love It,” in which 50 Cent speaks on behalf of both artists, inviting listeners to “hate it or love it, [but] the underdog’s on top.” Critical consensus supports The Game’s triumphant stance at that particular moment in history.
But in the years since, his position, some argue, has slipped. On Nov. 8, 2012, The Game dropped his fifth LP, Jesus Piece, which notably features Adam Levine, judge of NBC’s The Voice. The album will inevitably serve as this weekend’s soundtrack for the Yale community. As we perform the “grinding” dance with lively groups of friends and rivals, let us mark this year as different. This year, as we celebrate The Game, let us tip our collective hats to the man to whom we frequently refer but of whom we understand so little.