XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Jan. 18, 2005: On this day in 2005, The Game dropped his major label debut album, The Documentary.
As the newest signee to G-Unit Records at the time, The Game set out to prove his worth in the crew, as well as revive the rep of the West Coast. After signing, the Compton, Calif. rhymer began working on his debut, both in 50 Cent‘s home studio in Connecticut and in Los Angeles.
Dr. Dre and 50 Cent served as executive producers on the 17-track project, which features production from many of hip-hop’s best studio wizards, including Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, Eminem, Dre and more.
The Documentary tells The Game‘s story from his childhood in Compton, to his introduction to the streets, to recovering from a shooting in 2001. The autobiographical aspect and vivid storytelling matched with Game’s impressively relentless bars made for a modern-day rap classic.
The album was propelled by the hit singles “Westside Story” and the 50 Cent-assisted “How We Do” and “Hate It or Love It.” Other standout tracks include “We Ain’t” featuring Eminem, “Runnin'” featuring Tony Yayo, “Where I’m From” featuring the late Nate Dogg and “Dreams.”
As one cohesive offering, The Documentary is an album with no skips. It was well-received by fans and critics alike. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of Jan. 26, 2005, after moving 587,000 units in its first week. On March 23, 2005, The Documentary was certified double platinum (2 million) in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In the 18 years since its release, The Documentary made a star out of The Game and it’s considered to be one of the best albums in his discography.