The Game - Manchester Apollo - 4.12.06

More than any genre of music with hip hop you're only as big as your last record and for the Game that meant he went from hero to zero in a matter of months. "Doctors Advocate" is an album that for many simply didn't make the grade of "The Documentary" and it really seems like a case of as Nas says, that hip hop is dead. Take away the samples and lyrical pastiche's to NWA and you're left with the bare bones of a struggling artist.

Still with all that in mind the Game has produced one of Manchester's best hip hop shows in recent years it's just a shame he painstakingly tried to recreate it again this time with the neither the music or the heart to back it up. The war with 50 Cent still goes on only this time its even more pantomime staged than previously with Fiddy ignorant to the fact that The Game still has a beef with him and the funniest thing about tonight is the Hennesy drinking competition which sees a local Manchester wideboy stumbling around the stage after trying to down 2 bottles of the stuff. That that point remains the highlight of the event with mammoth security guards grabbing him any time he gets to close to Game even funnier.

When it comes to the old material "Hate It Or Love It", "How We Do" and "Dreams" all still hit the mark and that owes much to Dre's production which is missing on the newer tracks.

As we leave tonight's gig we think of Snoop Dogg and remember just how many years he was locked away in the Doggpound until Pharrell Williams brought him hit after hit. The Game still has a fanbase even if the records don't chart anymore and all it takes is one massive hit to put him back on focus.

Alex McCann
Photos: Andy Stubbs

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