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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 08:30 GMT
Sound of 2005: The Game
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter

Los Angeles rapper The Game, the latest artist to be championed by hip-hop star Dr Dre, has come fourth in the BBC News website's Sound of 2005 poll to find the best new music talent.

Tips from more than 100 influential UK music critics and broadcasters have been compiled into a list of artists to watch in the next 12 months.

We are revealing one artist from the top five every day until Friday, when the winner and full top 10 will be named.

When rapping about life and death in the notorious 'hood of Compton, Los Angeles, it helps to know what you are talking about.

That makes The Game, aka Jayceon Taylor, well qualified to document drug deals, gang violence, family break-ups and poverty in the area known as the home of gangsta rap.

When I sold drugs, it was because it was my last resort... when I picked up a gun, it was because my life was threatened
The Game
Taylor, 24, has been through a lot and, in the gangsta rap world where a hard life makes a good story, has drawn on his own experiences for his new album, The Documentary.

He was moved to a foster home after "family problems", dealt drugs, has had two brothers, a cousin and several friends killed in gang shootings and himself survived being shot five times in one night.

It was his own brush with death that made him look for an escape - and the world of rap, where the talented and lucky make millions and become superstars, was an appealing option.

Taylor's escape route came thanks to Dr Dre, rap legend and member of Taylor's idols NWA, whose Straight Outta Compton album was a landmark in 1989.

The Game
The Game says rap pioneers NWA are his idols
"I'm not telling anybody to sell drugs or pick up guns," Taylor has said. "When I sold drugs, it was because it was my last resort, because I had four sisters and an older brother and we were eating Cheerios on Thanksgiving.

"When I picked up a gun, it was because my life was threatened. I'm not glorifying the life I lived because I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I'm just one human being raised in the 'hood who wanted nothing more than to get out."

The Game got his name from his grandmother, who said he was game for anything when it came to sports.

He was a promising basketball player at school, but any notions of a career as a sportsman went out of the window when he was drawn into the gangs his brothers were involved in.

"I had a problem with authority growing up," he said. "I'd get an A on the math test, then run outside and steal a car."

Rap stars Eminem (left), 50 Cent (centre) and Dr Dre
The Game has worked with Eminem (left), 50 Cent (centre) and Dr Dre
When his brothers were killed, he got immersed in gang life and started dealing drugs. It was as a dealer that he was shot in the chest, arms and leg in 2001, leaving him in a coma.

While recovering, he turned to his hip-hop heroes and taught himself to rap, coming to the attention of Dr Dre the following year before being signed and groomed for the big time.

Taylor said rather than making him want to get into the violent world they depicted, NWA actually made him realise he could make something of himself.

He has described both Dre and former fellow NWA member Eazy-E - who died in 1995 - as being "like the father I never had" and has a tattoo of Eazy-E on his arm.

"We didn't even know our A-B-C but we knew N-W-A," Taylor said. "To me, Eazy-E was like Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor."

Dr Dre has now produced much of The Documentary - while it also features the likes of 50 Cent, Kanye West and Nate Dogg. With names like that behind him, Taylor is set to become the latest gangsta made good.

  • The Sound of 2005 survey was compiled from the tips of more than 100 impartial music critics and broadcasters, who were asked to give three names of artists they thought would be successful in 2005. The artists with the most tips were then ranked to compile the Sound of 2005 list.

    The Game feat 50 Cent: How We Do


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