“F— 50 Cent!” yells Compton, Calif., rapper The Game from the stage at the record-release party for his album Documentary 2 (out Oct. 9 on Blood Money/Entertainment One) at the Playhouse Nightclub in Hollywood on Sept. 26. “I don’t give a f—. I haven’t given a f— since 1981.” Ten years ago, that boisterous persona is partly what made his debut, The Documentary, a classic Billboard 200 No. 1, with mentors Dr. Dre and 50 Cent providing a boost. Since then, the 35-year-old has been known more for controversy than music: He had a bitter falling out with 50 and beefed with other rappers from Jay Z to Young Thug; released several more albums that gradually waned commercially; and faced tons of legal trouble, including reports of a recent lawsuit, from a contestant on his VH1 dating reality show She’s Got Game, that accuses him of sexual assault. But on Documentary 2 and companion disc Documentary 2.5, released Oct. 16, he’s back in mint form, spitting crisp rhymes alongside stars like Dre, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. That doesn’t mean he’s done stirring the pot, however.
You were visibly intoxicated at your release party when you dissed 50 Cent. Do you still have beef?
I was really drunk. I think sober me don’t, but the drunk me has beef with everybody. People got to be careful when The Game says something. People think twice because it’s a plethora of bullshit coming when it’s a beef with me. People know that at this point and chill. Not to say I’m a bully — I’m just good at what I do.
You and Young Thug have been dissing each other over his beef with Lil Wayne. Why did you get involved?
If you had a friend and somebody was f—ing with your friend and you didn’t help, then are you really a friend? I’m more vocal than Wayne is as far as beefs are concerned. I stepped in and said what I had to say in defense of a longtime friend. It’s good not to ever have a beef with anybody, but I’m not the one that starts beefs. I’m just the guy that once it’s on, it’s on. I’m not really tolerating any type of disrespect to me, my children or my friends. At the end of the day, that’s all you really have.
You posted a video a month ago from your surveillance camera of someone vandalizing your cars. Did you ever find out who that dude was or why he did it?
Nah, but you know, sometimes that happens. When you decide to be a celebrity or a huge rap superstar that stuff like that is going to happen. If I was in the hood, and I had a nice car, I would probably be getting broke into there. Some things you can’t escape. Today, if I wanted to go by let’s say Puff’s house and throw a rock at the window, nothing is going to stop me. You know, it happens. I didn’t call the police or anything. I’m not a “call the police” kind of guy.
Dr. Dre has played an integral role in your career. Is there anything he didn’t like on the new album?
He said I shouldn’t make it a double-disc. He said you should give people 10 to 12 songs because their attention span is so short. The longer you draw it out, people start to get bored. But I did it anyway.
Dr. Dre didn’t originally like your song “How We Do,” which was one of your biggest hits. How come?
Dre doesn’t like things that are dated. I think he made that beat probably in the late-‘80s or the early-‘90s, or at least the first few tracks of it. When he heard me playing around with it, he was like, “Is that one of my old beats?” He just didn’t like it. Then when me and 50 made a song. Then, of course, we changed his mind.
How do you like working with him?
Dre is the Mr. Miyagi. You know? Dre is hard on you. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career. Still as big as Snoop Dogg is or Eminem is or myself, there is a rigorous critiquing and just Dre being Dre. No matter how far you have gotten or how many albums you have sold, Dre is still the teacher, and you are the pupil. It’s not easy getting songs finished at Aftermath. If it’s not 100 percent as it can possibly be, you will probably never hear it.
You often describe your childhood as dysfunctional and not really having a strong structure. Can you tell me a little more about that?
It’s like that for every kid. You grow up in a home where your mom is not with your dad, and your father figures are your homies in the streets. You know, it is what it is. It’s like that for 95 percent of the kids growing up in the hood in America.
Did your father really molest one of your sisters? How difficult was that to deal with then? Do you feel there are any lingering emotional issues in your family because of that?
You know what? That was a long time ago. Of course, it sort of put a wedge between my family members. But, I mean, we are talking about something that happened 26 or 27 years ago. Everyone has pretty much moved on and is living their lives. My sister, the one in question, is happy and great and has moved on. I don’t really speak to my dad at all these days. We had times that we were close and times we weren’t. Of course, that was one of the reasons there was a break in our family. It never kind of mended itself. But it’s like a lost memory, you know?
Did you box when you were younger?
Yeah, I boxed early in my childhood. Probably from age five all the way to thirteen. That’s probably why I have this f—king putting my hands on people problem. I need some control.
You have President Obama’s face tattooed on your stomach. What are your thoughts on Donald Trump?
I never liked him. I’m not white, so I wouldn’t be proud of Trump. He also wouldn’t be the first white president. Obama is the first black president, and that was a historic moment. But I don’t think Donald Trump is going to win. If he wins the presidency, we are f—ed.
You were sued by Priscilla Rainey, a contestant on your reality show. Her lawsuit claims you were on drugs and sexually assaulted her. What happened?
One, I don’t do drugs. Two, that chick, I don’t think she should even have been on the show. She was crazy from the beginning. I never touched — not even appropriately touched — her. I wasn’t attracted to her, so anyway. She’s psycho, and I guess she’ll do what she got to do. But ain’t nothing coming of that. She’s fabricating shit. Every girl on that show knows what it really was.
You were shot back in 2001. Does anything still scare you?
It doesn’t matter if someone shoots me today or I live to be 90. I’m going to die, and so is everyone. Fear nothing. Why would you fear anything on earth?
This story originally appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of Billboard.