The Game's R.E.D. Album arrives, limping and bloodied, in stores this week. The culmination of three years of development, innumerable push-backs, and a humiliating trail of failed first singles, the occasion of its release feels less a victory lap than a death spasm; Interscope Records has finally given up and decided to cut its losses. The remaining crowd of message-board lurkers can now click "download" on the .rar file and move on with their lives. And Game now owes his record label an unimaginable amount of money: the "R.E.D." in the album's title might stand for deficit-column ink.
Indeed, The R.E.D. Album might go down in history as the costliest losing battle a rapper has ever waged against his own irrelevance. Game's albums have always been community affairs, and The R.E.D. Album is no exception: the guest roster this time is the most crowded ever. But no amount of shared pushing can get the doomed project off the ground, and hearing a murderer's row of collaboratorsincluding Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Big Boi, Young Jeezy, Beanie Sigel, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, The Creator and even Dr. Drestep up and pitch their talents into the void over the album's interminable 21-track expanse is one of the year's most dispiriting experiences.More »