What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that many kids will want to listen to this very popular CD, but we don't recommend it for anyone under 17. If you can get past the strong language, violence, and mature content (not to mention the name-dropping), there's some interesting, straight-from-the-heart music and an opportunity for suburban families to get an eye-opening look at gang life in Compton, California.
What's the story?
Containing very strong language; sexist, sexual boasting; death, violence, and prison; racist epithets, and name-dropping that is so frequent that it approaches ridiculous, THE DOCUMENTARY is still powerful and at times even moving. The Game's gruff, honest, in-your-face style is complemented by exquisite and imaginative production. A lot of help from a lot of friends (Dr. Dre, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Faith Evans, Nate Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and Mary J. Blige comprise only a partial list) and the artist's avowed agenda to \"give back to Compton\" provide an aura of sincerity and substance that transcends dance-track superficiality. The last song, \"Like Father, Like Son,\" is The Game's sentimental love letter to his baby boy, and perhaps the first time the phrase \"Lamaze Class\" has ever been heard in a rap song.
Is it any good?
It's tempting to write off The Game's The Documentary as just another over-hyped product, but that would be selling this interesting album short. With the participation of a virtual who's who of rappers and promoted within an inch of its life as "the CD that will bring back west coast rap," mature music fans who like to make their own discoveries (and make up their own minds) may be put off. But there's some interesting songwriting and social commentary, performed by an unseasoned rapper who is trying with all his might to live up to mighty heavy expectations.
There is an edited version available; as usual it's hard to find. If you do decide to spring for the "real thing," watch the enclosed DVD with your teens. Like the album, it's too self-referential and tedious at times, but it's also a well-produced and eye-opening look at gang life in Compton that more families probably need to see.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the history of rap/hip-hop music, and whether they think it is possible to capture the essence of places like Compton without the inclusion of explicit words and themes.