Game Talks 'The R.E.D. Album': Video Track-By-Track
"Ricky is the story of every fallen young black man in Los Angeles. What people don't understand is that Boyz in the Hood is that, aside from it being a movie, that was the everyday lifestyle of young black teenagers in Los Angeles County and now spreaded across America. I kind of always wanted to make that movie into a song so I called DJ Khalil and told him what I needed and he was like, 'I don't think I'm gonna be able to do that in a couple days' he was like 'Give me a month.' I'm like 'that's unusual.' I gave him a month and called him back. He was like, 'This is just too hard, I can't. You want me to turn a movie into a song.' So I just let it go. 'He called me one day, about four or five months later, and was like, 'Where you at?' And I'm like, 'I'm in the studio with Timbaland' He came down and played the beat to 'Ricky' and it was so theatrical and scary that we were just like, 'Wow.' I went in the booth and I just freestyled the song from top to bottom. So how you hear it is how I felt on that day."
9. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
"I took the concept from the TV show First 48 and then I put it up against a story that I went through myself in Compton, selling drugs in a dope spot when I was 17 years old. There were guys outside the window and they knew that me and my brother had the best product, I mean we were rollin'. Everybody knew it so a couple Crips came and surrounded the house. I just was home alone. I was scared to death. I didn't know anything other to do except than to pick up a gun and shoot. So I just shot out the window and they disappeared. After that no one ever bothered us again. So that's the story I told in 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.' In no way, shape, or form [through] telling my story do I ever want anybody to re-enact it or try to be tough. I'm not preaching or shedding light on gang violence. I'm so far removed from that in this day and age and like I said, I got kids that I love to death and have to be here for for the rest of their lives. When listening to me tell my story or my music, it's just music, it's my own reenactments vocally of situations that almost killed me."
10. "Heavy Artillery" Feat. Rick Ross and Beanie Sigel
"Beanie Sigel will forever be held as one of the best street MCs. Who else better to have on that type of song where a sample says, 'They got guns.' StreetRunner produced that. I don't know where he found a sample from the 60s where somebody was saying, 'They got guns, 45s, machine guns, and heavy artillery.' Listening to the sample, the song must have been talking about maybe the army, something like that. You know back in the day I know they wasn't just talking about busting guns like that, so kudos to StreetRunner for getting a crazy sample and Ross and Beans for doing what they do best on it."
11. "Paramedics" Feat. Young Jeezy
"I can remember being in Atlanta when Jeezy first hit the scene. I was in a strip club and I got introduced to Jeezy by Big Meech -- the real Big Meech -- this was when Jeezy was in the group Boyz N da Hood. I was like, 'I don't think he needs to be in this group. He's too dope.' Shortly after that he went haywire. And you know Jeezy, the laugh, the 'ha ha.' You always want to do that laugh on your records, but you can't because you're bitin' Jeezy. So I just wanted to get Jeezy on the song and live vicariously through him if only for three and a half minutes, and that's what I did. That's one of my favorite songs on the album. It's high energy, it sounds like a Jeezy record, and that's exactly what I meant."
12. "Speakers on Blast" Feat. Big Boi and E-40
"As soon as I heard 'Speakers on Blast' I thought E-40 and Big Boi, but I had wrote too many verses. I had two verses, regular song format, you know, three hooks, three verses. We were at a stand still on who to get on it. So I reached out to both, Big Boi and E-40. E-40 sends his verse back and I was like, 'Okay, we got a song.' I put E-40 in the end and I rapped the first two verses. Then the day after, Big Boi sent his verse and it was so crazy that me and my guys had an argument in the studio. We must've argued for three hours about who to take off. Me take off one of my verses? I was like, 'No, I'm not taking off one of my verses.' We argued and argued so I came to the conclusion that it'd be okay if the song had four verses. I didn't think anybody would mind so I left them on there and that's the story about that. I'm definitely happy that I finally got one member from Outkast on a song."
13. "Hello" Feat. Lloyd
"We were going through the album sequencing and taking songs off that weren't gonna make it and we realized something. That there weren't any songs for girls on the album. So we were like, 'We need at least two songs for women.' And they was like, 'We already got one, 'Good Girls Go Bad.' I was like, 'That's a conceptual song. It's not really for women, it doesn't really make women feel good. The other one kind of makes you think and its conscious.' So I called Mars to the studio and he came down and produced it so fast. I called Lloyd, he jumped on the hook. Then it was just left to me and you know, I'm a ladies man and I know what to say to the women, so we got that done."
14. "All the Way Gone" Feat. Mario and Wale
"I feel like women should have more than one song or they'd be mad at me and I didn't want that so once again I called Mars to the studio and he produced that one really quickly. Mario just happened to be working in the same studio so he came over and we wrote the hook together. Then I called Ross and asked him if it would be possible to get Wale on the album. I told him I only had one day to turn it around and he gave Wale my number. Wale called me and was like 'I would be honored.' He did the verse and he sent it to me faster than anybody ever sent me a verse. I loved it, everybody loved it, so there it was."
15. "Pot of Gold" Feat. Chris Brown
"It's always the songs that I don't like that everybody else loves. I'll take you through the history of that. 'Dreams' was a song that I thought was alright, but I don't really like it. I thought it was too conscious. I always want to rap about what really goes on in the hood, talk about my friends being murdered. I guess in the beginning of my career all I wanted to rap about was drugs, guns, trouble and just drama. But, 'Dreams' went on to be successful. Then, 'Hate It or Love It,' didn't like that song. But Dr. Dre and 50 loved it, then everybody else did. 'My Life,' I didn't really like that song but it end up being one of my biggest singles and [now] 'Pot of Gold' too. So I'm gonna start making songs that I don't like more then maybe I can go diamond on the next album."
17. "All I Know"
"Produced by Boi-1da. Lu Breeze I've never met in my life except via Twitter. Stand up guy through the social network it seems and really did a good job on that hook, it's amazing. I think that's the only song on the album where I could just rap freely. I wanted just one song where I could just rap freely with no concept, just rap. I was able to do it and Boi-1da provided a great beat. I think all of Boi-1da's beats sound like they were stolen out of Drake's safe, so I was appreciative to be able to inherit one of those jewels."
18. "Born in a Trap"
"I always wanted a chance to just be Nas on the 'Illmatic' album, if only for four and a half minutes. I called Premier and asked him if he'd do a beat for 'The R.E.D. Album' and he was like, 'Well, no because I'm on tour with Christina Aguilera but when I get back I'll try.' About a month passed and he reached out after he got back. As soon as I heard it, I just had to rap on it and get it back to DJ Premier because I really wanted DJ Premier to be on a track. Luckily, I was able to hold my own on it, channeling Nas' rhyme pattern. It turned out to be a great song."
19. "Mama Knows" Feat. Nelly Furtado
"My mom was a young mother. With my father really abusing her verbally, mentally and physically, even throughout the good, the bad and the ugly, she still told me, advised me and was there for me. She shed as much light on bad situations as she could and it kept me alive and it kept me here. I paid homage to my mom on 'Hate It or Love It,' through countless DVDs and interviews, but I never gave her a song. Pharrell did the beat. I wrote the verses. [I] kind of just went through them, telling the listener different things my mom told me that I didn't listen to. So shout-out to my mom. Getting Nelly Furtado to sing the hook in a Janet Jackson-esque form was just beautiful and I appreciate her."
20. "California Dream"
"Me and my girl always joke. She has a story about her mom, her mom passed from cancer. Her mom had a bird named Sonny and it was her life. She almost loved the bird more than the kids and the family but the bird flew away one day and she was just heartbroken forever. So we got this thing where we call something that we love the most 'my mama's bird.' My daughter, out of all my kids, that's my mama's bird because if something happens to her I'm gonna wreak havoc on the world. But that's my baby. I watch her sleep every night. [From] the way she looks at me, she smiles, she looks identical to me as if I had her and her mom had nothing to do with it. Out of all three of my kids she looks like me the most and she's beautiful. So that song [is] dedicated to her."