i don’t need 50 cent, my niggas make collect calls


Download The Game’s G-Unit Diss “300 Bars N Runnin'” at the BWS Forum

Plenty of talk about The Rapper The Game dropping 300 big ones on 50 Cent et al., the Summer Jam rat calls, his interviewing prowess. I’m not one for bread/circuses (on Atkin’s/hate clowns), but while everyone’s rightfully excited for some hot real-life drama-as-art marketing mayhem this summer, Game’s quietly upped his flow. This much-maligned pro forma thug might actually be a rapper now, however much he claims to fleece hip-hop stupid for personal gain (“Four times platinum I done been there and did it/ Came in the game and shitted then wipe my ass with it”).

“300 Bars N Runnin”, his 15-minute kamikaze screed on the current hip-hop landscape, trades Game’s flimsy rags-or-riches narrative/prefab rapthentic backstory for a piecemeal lit of riffs: fierce iambs, persona collapse, mimesis. In other words, Game’s sticking to what he can be good at. He got shit for chameleonism on The Documentary, and here he’s flipped the insult into high compliment, effortlessly mimicking his fores’ flows over their own beats, and trouncing his G-Unit by whiddling down their shticks often just to two bars.

Through spite comes, finally, maybe, a good voice. At least the beginnings of one. Compare “My clips bananas/ I kill a gorilla quick/ beatin on your chest I see to your death, yep/ Tell Ecko to make him a suit/ Tell Reebok to make him some boots/ Give him a headband to cover the holes in his head/ He’s a dead man for thinking he can walk through Muddy Waters like Redman”– vicious pomo tipped with spit– with the Game of yore: “These G-Unit girls just wanna have, fun/ Coke and rum/ Got weed on the ton/ I’m bangin with my hand up her dress like, unh.” In six months Game’s gone miles beyond the meta-narrative-at-best moments of The Documentary.

Imitation flatters, but it’s also self-reflexive. When Game cops an identifiable Nas scheme (“That’s the eulogy/ beefing is kinda foolish see/ niggas runnin they mouth bout what they gonna do to me”), he’s bragging intimate understanding of what made that rapper so compelling beyond the content. Same time, Game can use that skill to devastating effect on his foes, condensing phony MCs like Lloyd Banks to just a couplet full of huffy-gruff shtick– “I’m a G-Unit toy solider on Sesame Street doin voice overs”– or collapsing 50’s person/persona split like a Fox Special on magic tricks: “We getting tired of you talking ’bout who you shot, I’ll use another six bars to tell you who you not/ You ain’t 50 Cent, he went out like a gangster/ you went out with Vivica….three months after ‘Wanksta’. ”

And passing over all the “diss raps are the old-new rap marketing ploy” rants– I mean, of course, cf. pro wrestling, we like our drama so real but hey hold the bloody turtlenecks plz– Game does make light of “300 Bars N Runnin” ‘s inherent alliance-building agenda. Over the “Dear Summer” instrumental, we get: “Let me out so I can drive down criminal way/ pushin the rock nah this ain’t no subliminal, Jay.” This will be a summer of hits, though a little off the top rope.