Twelve years ago today, The Game changed the face of West Coast hip-hop by dropping his debut The Documentary. To commemorate the anniversary, the Compton rapper reflects on what the album means to him and hip-hop.
In a lengthy post on Instagram, Chuck Taylor called it “an album that would “go on to sell 10 million copies worldwide & reshape my city & coast.”
Despite past feuds with mentors Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, Game offered gratitude. “I’m forever in debt to @DrDre for believing in my dream… [YOU] my fans for the support then & the ones that are still going hard for me at this very moment…. ain’t no ME without YOU ! @50cent for helping push it through the final stages.”
Adding a moving touch to the caption, Game also thanked his first son Harlem, who he says inspired much of his material as “the motivation behind everything I put into this album.”
“Without the birth of my 1st son, I wouldn’t have ever had the fire inside me to be anything other than dead,” he said. “Before him, I didn’t give a f**k about who’s life I took or who would take mine…. all I knew was #Compton…. & I figured I’d end up shot dead in the streets over gangbangin just because that is the mentality of a young African-American male coming from where I come from.”
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Documentary has gone on to sell more than two million units. It was certified double platinum in 2005, the same year it was released. At the time, Pitchfork awarded it an 8.3 rating and USA Today gave it a 3.5 out of 4, noting that “his pensive rhymes flow easily over the dark frooves of Dre and other producers.”
In 2015, in honor of the album’s 10-year anniversary, The Game unleashed The Documentary 2 and its follow-up, The Documentary 2.5.