The Game: Not Like Daddy

When The Game visited the UK last week, I was honored to be granted a face-to-face interview. I was however warned that he may not turn up, say little, or could lock it off at any time. As I waited in the lobby of a posh London hotel, the previous journalist emerging from his own […]

When The Game visited the UK last week, I was honored to be granted a face-to-face interview. I was however warned that he may not turn up, say little, or could lock it off at any time. As I waited in the lobby of a posh London hotel, the previous journalist emerging from his own interview told me that The Game didn’t look up from under his hood once. I was a little apprehensive. Having grown up in foster care, I was interested in asking him about his own experiences in care. From the age of five through 13, The Game lived in a foster home after his sister accused their father of sexual abuse. But after hearing this from the journalist, I decided to tread carefully.

In what turned out to be a candid and personal interview, The Game reveals his experiences pertaining to family, as well as reflects on who many perceived to be his Hip-Hop father: Dr. Dre. This isn’t the kind of conversation normally associated with Hip-Hop interviews, but then again, The Game is hardly a typical Hip-Hop artist. You’ve lived through so much. What’s the most important life-lesson you’ve learned along the way?

The Game: The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is that you have to be a father before anything else. As long as I be doing that, I seem to be having a lot of good love with everything else I try and fall into. You’ve said before that Dr. Dre is like a father figure to you. What’s the most important thing that he’s taught you?

The Game: Is that you can’t trust anybody in this business, and at the end of the day, you’re all alone so you gotta make the best of what you got. What’s the one thing you wished you knew growing up that you’d like to instill in your son?

The Game: I just wish I’d known how it feels to have your father there for you and really taking care. You grew up with a foster family for part of your childhood. What impact did this have on you?

The Game: That situation is the reason that I’m as f**ked up as I am today. I’m trying to straighten it out now 20 years later, and it’s a slow process but I’ll get there. I grew up in a foster home too… [The Game looks me directly in the eye unflinchingly for several seconds, then proceeds.]

The Game: It’s horrible, you feel alone sometimes, right? And you really wish that you had family, a mom and dad, and placemats and silverware, and mom coming home, dad coming home, shouting, “Honey I’m home!” and then they call you out the room where you’re doing your homework, and you come running down the stairs and jump on your dad – but that’s not our f**king reality, is it? No, it’s f**ked up. It’s a bad situation, and I don’t wish that on anybody. I always try to at least give words of wisdom, if not some type of financial or clothing donation, to kids in foster homes around the world. Because it’s a sad, sad story and people don’t know until they’ve been there, and if you’ve been there you never wanna go back. You can’t say enough how messed up it is to grow up in that type of situation. But going through tough times makes you stronger though…

The Game: Of course, and so I would never change that aspect of my life because I’ve learned so much from that situation and others that I went through. But we all know that trials and tribulations make for a good story, which is why there even is a Hip-Hop, or a gangsta rap movement. How does it feel being the spokesperson for West Coast rap?

The Game: I just tell my story, you know, I wake up everyday, I do these interviews, and this is just me telling my part, I’m only one person, one man, one father, one musician – and it’s just me speaking my piece. Dr. Dre receives a lot of praise on your new album, yet he doesn’t feature or contribute to production…

The Game: Too bad for him! I don’t want anybody to do anything that they don’t wanna do. When I found out Dre wasn’t gonna be working on the album, I lifted my head up and opened my chest out and I had to get it done. So you wanted him on there but he refused?

The Game: I didn’t really care, it’s either you do it or you don’t, I don’t have time to be worried about other people’s feelings; I basically just wanted to complete my album and it was either with or without Dre – I was gonna do that. On this album it was without, so I had to make do with what I had. Will he be working on any of your future albums?

The Game: If I could tell you that then I should probably quit rapping and start some psychic hotline or something. What about the title track, “Doctor’s Advocate,” that’s pretty much a tribute to Dre…

The Game: I was drunk on that song, so I don’t remember or care what I was talking about that night. That was just that night, and it was documented and it’ll forever be remembered ‘cause it’s on that album; it’s just the way I was feeling that night and not the next morning and not the day before. So you and Dre are not as tight as some may think?

The Game: I mean, me and Dre didn’t grow up together breaking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in half. I met Dre in 2001/2002 and we’ve had a great friendship since then, but I haven’t known him for 20 years, so I don’t expect him to jump off a mountain for me, and I definitely wouldn’t do the same for him. But Hip-Hop is every man for himself; we’re all independent artists so we gotta make the best of what we’ve got. Thank you so much for speaking with me, I’d like to talk more but time’s running out…

The Game: I would love to talk to you all day but I don’t make the time and [gestures at entourage] these people, they’re crazy.

[Before I leave, I ask The Game to sign my iPod. He happily obliges, and I wish him all the best with that night’s show. On the subway back to the office, I turn over my iPod and see that he’s finished the message with the words “Foster Kids.” I smile to myself and continue my journey.]