The Game Describes His Shootout With 50 Cent In Detail (Video)
Late last month, Compton rapper Game released his ninth (and reportedly final) album, Born 2 Rap. The LP, clocking in at 90 minutes in length, showcases the many sides and versatile styles of the veteran Compton, California MC. It features the late Nipsey Hussle (who also has a song dedicated to him), as well as Anderson .Paak, and Dom Kennedy. Approaching 15 years since The Documentary, Jayceon Taylor is looking to bookend a provocative discography.
Promoting Born 2 Rap, Game appeared The People’s Party With Talib Kweli, for a nearly two-hour conversation (embedded at the bottom of this article). The chat centered on his early life, gang-affiliated experiences, and career highs and lows. Notably, he shed light on his beef with 50 Cent during his come-up while recording The Documentary alongside Fif and Dr. Dre. Once an artist on G-Unit, The Game quickly became 50’s arch-nemesis, within the same label family. Going rogue, The Game dropped a series of mixtapes and diss tracks aimed at 50, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck. According to Game, the smear campaign affected the label, clothing line, and other endorsement deals. “If me and [50 Cent] didn’t have beef, ni**a, we’d be billionaires by now,” Game admits. In mid-2016, the two men buried their tensions with a documented peace offering. However, there has yet to be any new collaborative material. “Even though he forgives, he don’t forget,” The Game admits. “I put G-Unit in flames, and he didn’t like that.” Kweli suggests a proper reunion tour after Jayceon believes that it’s in 50’s best interest to reunite with him on wax.
When People’s Party co-host Jasmin Leigh asks the guest which of his songs with 50 Cent was his favorite, he didn’t hesitate long to reply with this highest-charting song to date, 2005’s Cool & Dre-produced “Hate It Or Love It.” Game remembers recording in the song, and how the two worked well together: “Me and him in the studio, by ourselves, with an engineer [was special chemistry]. He knew what to do; I knew what to do. We put our voices together, and that sh*t made magic. I got songs with me and 50 that are still on hard drives at my house that are timeless.” Before joining the G-Unit Records/Aftermath Entertainment fold, The Game was an artist on San Francisco rapper JT The Bigga Figga’s Get Low roster.
He says that while Cool & Dre produced the song, Dr. Dre oversaw “Hate It Or Love It.” “The first half of the hook, ‘Hate it or love, the underdog’s on top,’ that’s how 50 felt about me at the time. He wrote that by himself. I came in and wrote the second half, furthermore stamping the fact that 50 didn’t write sh*t for me; he wrote for himself— on a Game album.” The Game praises his mentor and collaborator as “one of the most melodically-inclined ni**as, ever.” He also says that song was the beginning of the end.
“I’ll let you know something that a lot of people don’t know: on that record—we recorded that record in Connecticut at Mike Tyson’s old mansion that 50 [later] owned—when we did that, 50 had already [distanced himself from me]. He did the record, but he was already moving away from The Game and 50 situation. I blame Dr. Dre; Dr. Dre spent too much time on the completion of The Documentary, and he didn’t spend the fourth-quarter of 50’s The Massacre album working with 50. The Massacre still did numbers, but 50 felt like Dre should’ve did that, and then finish Game since 50 had lended his time to me. I felt like in a perfect man’s world, Dre should’ve focused on 50 and then [seen] The Documentary [through], but The Documentary was coming out so amazing that no one wanted to take time off of it. [Meanwhile], everybody felt like 50 knew what he was doing. So when we started to distance ourselves when we were recording ‘Hate It Or Love It.’ That was one of the nights where we really ain’t talk. We did what we did, and we made an incredible record. I went back to The W [hotel] in Times Square, and he stayed at his house. After that, the next time you heard of me and 50 was having a shootout at HOT 97, in the snow.”
The Game goes on to detail February 28, 2005, the night of the shooting. He calls it “one of the coldest nights in New York history,” adding, “I had on Converse [sneakers. I was] runnin’ in snow. I must’ve slipped 80 times trying to get to the Escalade.” He emphasizes, “We was bussin’ real bullets. One of my homies [Kevin Reed] got hit—he’s still alive, and in jail, but, yeah man, we was shooting, they was shootin’, sh*t was crazy. Me and 50 stared at each other in the eyes with guns drawn. Guns drawn. Two ni**as that was friends and homies and came up in Hip-Hop together. I don’t even know who fired the first shot; I just know we was shooting at each other. And at that moment, everything was in slow motion. It wasn’t about nobody else that was there, even though I had 30 ni**as with me, and 50 had 30 ni**as with him, it’s almost a blessing that only one person got hit, and in the leg, for that matter.”
The two Interscope-backed artists appeared together for a photo following the shooting. However, the next 11-plus years would be marred with beef between collaborators-turned-bitter rivals. The Game points to the ensuing beef as one that cost lives to the entourages on both sides.
The lengthy interview with Kweli also unveils Game’s feelings to the conversation around gang culture, meeting Nipsey Hussle for the first time, admiring great MCs, and being a Blood in a high school full of Crips.
New music by The Game is presently featured on Ambrosia For Heads‘ official playlist.
#BonusBeat: The full episode of The Game on The People’s Party With Talib Kweli: