The Game's latest album, L.A.X., begins with a prayer for the gangsta rap artist himself. The L.A. hip-hop star, it seems, is in search of redemption. Three months before the release of L.A.X., the Game spent time in jail for possession of a gun in a school zone.
The Game (performing March 30 at the Majestic) is no stranger to gangs and violence. Two of his older brothers were killed by gunshots. The Game spent six years of his childhood in foster care. His rap career began in 2002, a year after he was shot five times when his Compton, Calif., home was burglarized. He spent three days in a coma and dedicated himself to hip-hop after that.
Dr. Dre heard the Game's freestyle raps and signed him to his label. The Game's debut CD, The Documentary, rose to number one on the Billboard album chart. It included a track that earned a 2006 Grammy nomination for rap song of the year.
L.A.X. is chock-full of star-studded collaborations. The disc includes tracks that feature Ice Cube, Raekwon, Lil' Wayne, Ludacris and Ne-Yo. One of the tracks was produced by Kanye West.
The album is full of warnings about the brutal nature of gang life. The Game has experienced it firsthand: "Niggas think 'cause they watch Menace a couple times / That you can survive when a real Crip run upon your corner and flex the nine / You must be out of your mind."
It's a lifestyle that scarred the Game physically - on the track "My Life," the lyrics suggest the damage is more than skin deep. The Game raps in anguish and searches for an answer to make his life worth living:
"I need some meditation, so I can leave my people / why every hood nigga feed off evil? / Answer my question before this bullet leave this Desert Eagle."