Purp & Patron

Purp & Patron offers fans of The Game something they've never quite experienced from him: fun. The 50 Cent protégé-turned-adversary has always been a sharp-witted and pugnacious MC. He's also been a bit of a downer — solid but stolid, a rapper that's easy to admire but hard to love. But on this sprawling mixtape — 29 songs, 108 minutes — Game drops his perma-scowl and lets a twinkle come into his eyes. He raps an ode to his Chuck Taylor sneakers ("Taylor Made"); impersonates Slick Rick ("Children's Story"); and holds his own with some of hip-hop's most glorious goofballs (Doug E. Fresh, Lil Wayne, Snoop). The beats, by everyone from the Neptunes to Dr. Dre, are taut and funky, but the Game's charisma holds center stage. "I'm more famous than Amos," he boasts, "taking cookies from these rookies."

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