When Game visited the UK last week, I was honoured to be granted a face-to-face interview. I was however warned that he may not turn up, say much or could lock it off at any time. As I waited in the lobby of the posh London hotel, the journalist emmerging from his own interview told me that Game didn’t look up from under his hood once. I was a little taken aback. Having grown up in foster care, I was interested in asking him about his own experiences in care. From the age of five-thirteen, 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…
You’ve lived through so much. What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
The most important lesson I’ve learnt 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?
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 instil in your son?
I just wish I’d known how it feel 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?
That situation is the reason that I’m as fucked up as I am today. I’m tryna straighten it out now 20 years later and it’s a slow process but I’ll get there.
At this point I tell The Game that I also grew up in foster care. Suddenly, he removes his hood, looks me directly in the eye and holds my gaze for a few seconds, before proceeding…
It’s horrible, you feel alone sometimes right? And you really wish that you had family, a mum and dad, and place mats and silverware and mum 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 fucking reality, is it? No, it’s fucked up. It’s a bad situation, and I don’t wish that on anybody, and so 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 and 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…
Of course and so I would never change that aspect of my life because I’ve learnt 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 gansta rap movement.
How does it feel being the spokesperson for West coast rap?
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…
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?
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 and so I had to make do with what I had.
Will he be working on any of your future albums?
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!
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 ‘cos 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?
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…
I would love to talk to you all day but I don’t make the time and (gesturing at entourage) these people, they’re crazy!
Before I leave I ask Game to sign my ipod. He happily obliges, and I wish him all the best with tonight’s show. On the underground 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…
Words: Anna Nathanson