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POP MUSIC REVIEW

It's party time with the Game

February 03, 2007|Soren Baker | Special to The Times

Southern rappers have been dominating the genre for several years now, but the Game is doing his best to spark a West Coast rap scene that's been short on new stars since the death of Tupac Shakur in 1996.

As the tall, Compton-based rapper sauntered onto the stage at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Thursday, he paid homage to the Southern California street look made famous by Eazy-E and N.W.A in the late 1980s, sporting a black Dickies shirt and pants, a black Dodgers hat and black Chuck Taylors.

The Game gave the outfit a personal touch by wearing a red bandana over his face, but he soon lowered it and launched into "Lookin at You," a muscular cut from his acclaimed 2006 album "Doctor's Advocate." The focused rendition jumpstarted an efficient 75-minute set that he divided equally among performing his material, saluting California's rich rap heritage and disparaging his former G Unit and Aftermath rap allies, including 50 Cent and Tony Yayo.

The Game has had a bitter and public fallout with former mentor 50 Cent, the ringleader of the G Unit rap crew, which led to the dissolution of the Game's relationship with his other high-powered mentor, Dr. Dre. About 20 minutes into his performance, the Game started a venomous tirade about G Unit, Aftermath and Shady Records, which the capacity crowd gleefully echoed.

The Game, who was opening a series of four Southland shows over the coming week, benefited from the presence of a six-piece band, which allowed his tunes room to breathe when he took an occasional moment to address the crowd or, in his most impressive (if foolhardy) performance, down a 40-ounce bottle of beer in one long gulp. When the Game brought legions of his male fans on stage before performing his hit "It's Okay (One Blood)," it cemented the evening's celebratory, block-party feel.

Brief but energetic opening sets from emerging West Coast rap acts Jay Rock, G Malone and Clyde Carson, as well as veteran Kam, help set the stage for the Game's West Coast flag-waving.

*

The Game

Where: House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood

When: 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday

Price: $40 (sold out)

Contact: (323) 848-5100

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Also

Where: House of Blues Anaheim, 1530 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim

When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday

Price: $40 (sold out)

Contact: (714) 778-2583

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