Before The Album
Angelo Sanders (A&R for Aftermath): “Game was kind of like a baby left at the church steps [Laughs.] The dude was so dope that everybody tried to make a claim to him. There were [so many people] involved [in bringing] the project around. But ultimately it ended up falling in my lap.
"It was a tough grind; he was young, on fire, and we had to get it up out of him. He had to get technically better, but he had the fire originally when he came through the door. That's what I remember. When it had came time to get it done, I was the one who worked on it. I think he signed with us close to the end of 2003. I got involved probably the summer of 2004.
“I got Game back to his original energy. When he first got there, he was trying to create a record for Dr. Dre. Something that Dre would be happy with. The beats Dre would want to rap over. It was like appeasing Dre, which a lot of artists at Aftermath fall into. They come into this wanting to please Dre so much that they forgot what they were signed for.
"So for Game, it was about getting back to that. When I got involved, I was like, ‘This is what I remember when you came in that first day and motherfuckers loved you. So this is what I'm going to get you back to doing.’
"At that point is when I started reaching out to the Just Blaze’s and the Kanye’s. Basically everybody that wasn’t Dre or an Aftermath producer that made a beat on that album was my peoples. I was like, ‘Yo, let’s get with this person cause they can capture the original energy of why we loved you so much.’”
Mike Lynn (A&R for Aftermath): “I started Aftermath with Dr. Dre. I’ve known Dre since N.W.A. I’m the one that signed Game. A mutual friend [passed] me his demo. Then I set up a meeting with myself, Game, Dre, and D Mack. Me and Dre met him at the same time.
"When I saw Game, I saw a star. Game was always an incredible emcee, but we had to turn him into a song maker. Show him how to actually write songs that are bigger than just your block.
"It was Game’s first time doing this professionally. He had never even been produced vocally. The first time I put Game in the booth, we got into a little argument because I didn’t want him to double his vocals all the way down, like the way Pac did.
"This was the early stages, he was cutting his third or fourth song, and I’m in the studio with him and I’m like, ‘Why are your vocals doubled?’ He’s like, ‘That’s the way I sound best.’ I’m like, ‘Nah. You got a big voice, you don’t need that.’
"He wasn’t comfortable just hearing his voice regular because he just never did it. I had to show him to be comfortable hearing his voice by itself without doubling it. A lot of emcees double their verses thinking that’s the way to go. 2Pac is one of the few guys who sound right doing that, the rest of those guys just sound raggedy.”
Sha Money XL: “When we was working on Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, Game was in the studio with Dre just chilling. And Mike Lynn introduced me to this kid from Compton that rapped. He was a lot younger then. Just a humble dude trying to get on that rapped.
"I took the time to listen to him and I was like, ‘Yo 50, this kid got something.’ Fif started listening to him and Fif started digging it. We was like, ‘Yo this could be the West Coast nigga.’
"Then Jimmy Iovine started pushing that to Fif, Fif accepted it, and next thing you know Fif made it happen and we had a new dude on the team, The Game. And he helped Dre get him all finished and packaged up.”