The Game The Game/comptongame.com

When the release date of The Game’s “The R.E.D.” album kept getting pushed back, the Compton rapper had plenty of time to reflect. He was able to reevaluate his life, his music, his lyrics and the album’s title.

“With the delays, it brought more meaning to the title,” The Game says on the set of his “Pot Of Gold” video in South Los Angeles. ‘R.E.D.’ is the Rededication. I just took ‘edidication’ off of it and kept ‘R.E.D.’ It’s the rededication of myself to my family, to my friends, to my body, to my mind to my soul. I’ve been back in the gym, working out heavily. I switched my diet up, man. I stopped smoking. I stopped drinking. I don’t know how long that’s going to last, but it’s been four or five months so I’m just trying to go back to the beginning -- if only inside my mind, just to look more youthful, to feel better about myself and clear my head so that I can create the type of music that I know that I’m capable of, man.”

I’ve been back in the gym, working out heavily. I switched my diet up, man. I stopped smoking. I stopped drinking.

The internal changes came because The Game realized that in order to improve as an artist, he had to improve as a person.

“You get to a point where you’re approaching 30 and you’re like, ‘Shit. I’m 29. I’m about to be 30,’” he says in between shots. “One day you wake up and you’re not twenty-anything anymore and you start to realize you’ve got a gray hair or two popping out from unknown places in your head and shit starts to get real. You start to really lock in on your credit and your mortgages and you start to sort of cut off people who have been leeching, sort of draining you, sucking you dry so to speak. I just came to a point where I woke up one day and realized I needed to start making the necessary steps to alter my life to a level where it was positive.”

Inside “The R.E.D. Album”

So as The Game readjusted his personal life, great things started happening with “The R.E.D. Album,” which is due in stores August 23.

“Dre came back in and I had a long talk with Pharrell, and I didn’t even think that was possible, to get a beat from him, and we had a long talk and became the best of friends,” he says. “Those guys came in and Pharrell made it move. He made it colorful and gave me a lot of air and a lot of space to rap in the form that I’m best at, which is a couple bars and then a break, where I can take a breath. Then Dre came in and he came hitting hard. The bass is crazy. Dre is actually rapping on the album, which is crazy ‘cause we’re still looking for ‘Detox’ and Dre don’t really rap on shit.”

Although the process took longer than expected (“The R.E.D. Album” was three years in the making), the final result was worth it on many levels.

“I’ve seen my album go from somewhere that was not ready for the world and would have had me ridiculed and probably written off because of my head space [at the time],” he says. “What the delays have done is just buy me more time to perfect my craft. If the album would have come out when it was first supposed to -- no Dr. Dre, no Pharrell -- which are now the key elements. Dre is helping oversee the album and narrating it and then Pharrell’s an executive producer, as well as Mars. The album is incredible.”

Ed. Note: Make sure to check out The Game’s unprecedented “Daytona 500 (500 Bars)” track, where he lays down 500 bars over the “Otis” track -- really unbelievable.

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker.

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