The Game’s first full length offering, The Documentary, was an exciting revitalization of a genre that had been declared dead, but LAX
shows that the re-animation might have been very brief. It seems that Game is eager to move out of the considerable shadow of Dr. Dre, but is that a good thing?
Dre’s production made The Documentary what it was – an indulgent, satisfying buffet of west-coast rap that, while predictable, was a ton of fun. LAX is just depressing, with nary an inventive beat or lyric to be found. It’s not like his lyrical content has changed – Chevy Impala this, chronic blunts that, hackneyed gangsta stuff here, money and sex there – but the constant name-dropping, desperate usage of profanity to fill lyrical space, and total lack of forward musical movement makes this one of the most exhausting listens of the year.
While the guests are plentiful, they’re mostly wasted – Ice Cube barely makes an effort and Raekwon is abnormally boring here, though Ludacris, Common and Nas provide some solid verses. If you can make it through the first half of the album, things pick up with the hard-hitting “House of Pain,” the R&B-infused “Gentlemen’s Affair,” and the smooth “Let Us Live,” but these are hardly classics and after tolerating 40-odd minutes of forgettable tracks, hardly sustain the listener’s interest.
While it’s all the rage to have a cavalcade of guests, Game might have been better suited to stick to time-tested compadres like Snoop, Nate Dogg, and such. Alternately depressing and bland, sometimes mildly humorous and definitely too damn long, LAX is a lot like the airport code for which it is named – tiring, time-consuming, and it brings relief to the user only when it disappears below the clouds or in the rearview mirror.