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The Game 

Doctor's Advocate

A uniquely talented MC, Compton rapper the Game has some weird vocal tics. On his new album, Doctor's Advocate, he repeats variations of the same phrase on every fucking song. "I'll never fall off even without the Doc," he raps on "Lookin' at You," referencing how Dr. Dre got him moved from Aftermath Records to another Interscope subsidiary, Geffen. If that isn't Oedipal enough for you (the Game say Dr. Dre is "like a father to me"), there's the title track where he sobs, "I never thanked you/I took you for granted." As a strange tribute to his former mentor, Doctor's Advocate somehow works. The Game drops some devastating punchlines: On "Gangster Boogie" he says "I'm sick/You can't get rid of me, I'm HIV." Add the best beats (from Scott Storch, Just Blaze and Kanye West) and guest appearances (including Snoop Dogg and Nas) money can buy, and you've got one of the most bizarrely affecting thug-rap albums of the year. As the Game puts it on "Scream On 'Em," "These critics ask questions/My album be the answer." 4 stars

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