The Game Shocked By Runaway Success of 'Purp and Patron' Mixtape

Rapper says he's still working on studio disc: 'I'm not gonna put out no half-assed album'

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The Game's Purp and Patron — a sprawling 29-track mixtape featuring guest appearances by Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Rick Ross, T-Pain and a long list of other hip-hop luminaries — is one of the hottest new releases this week. Rolling Stone caught up with the Los Angeles rapper Thursday afternoon to find out what inspired him to record P&P and check on his progress on his upcoming studio record The R.E.D. Album and another mixtape, The Hangover, that he's planning on releasing in the next few days.

Do you have an idea of how many copies of Purp and Patron have been downloaded so far?
In the first two hours, we were at, like, 200,000. I have my guys checking, and now we're close to 1.1 million downloads in three days with all the sites combined. Is there another word that supersedes "amazing"? It's that.

Did you expect Purp and Patron to take off on Twitter and blogs like it has? Did you try to make that happen?
F-pound-C-K no! I just put the tape out, and once my fans got ahold of it I guess they told somebody else's fans and those fans told somebody else's fans and everybody kinda chimed in.

This has been a big success, but it's a mixtape. In your mind, is there a difference between an album and a mixtape?
A mixtape is pretty much just calling in favors from, you know, some of the biggest rap superstars who happen to be good friends of mine off the mic and them just delivering for me and me throwing it all out there. But an album, you know, I've got to take my time because that's my legacy. I can joke and I can play around with different topics and lyrics and different rhyme patterns and sounds on a mixtape, but on an album I've got to take it seriously because that's who I am, it's what defines me.

What if a popular mixtape like this ends up being your legacy?
Then so be it. Let's just wait and see what it is. I'll take either/or, man.

Purp and Patron is a pretty huge collection of songs. How long did it take to put it all together?
The mixtape took me about seven days. The new album has damn near took me two years. People don't understand that with a mixtape, you don't have to go through too many clearances, and you just come up to an agreement with the producers. You just spread out, it's a throwaway. An album, though, there's politics, label politics. There's timing — this artist has to come out at this time, and we gotta set up this artist right. There's a lot more that goes into it, and plus I got to feed my family and take care of my stuff on a monthly basis so I go on tour for three months here, four months here, and I work on the album here and there. The songs outdate themselves so I got to make new songs.

It's a long process. I don't think everyone factors that in when the date gets pushed back. I'm trying to make as much quality as I possibly can and I'm not going to put out no half-assed album. That's not the way Dr. Dre taught me to make music and create classic albums.

Your representative said you were going into the studio later. What are you working on now?
I'm finishing up The Hangover, which is the 10 or 20 tracks that didn't make Purp and Patron, the double-disc, and I'm gonna throw that out this weekend or probably this Monday. I'm gonna finish that up tonight and then I've got to get back to work on The R.E.D. Album because I've got some important people in town and we've got to get it in.