Rapper Game finds mentor, friend in Williams

Mon Jan 4, 2010 7:00pm EST
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By Mariel Concepcion

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Once upon a time, gangster rapper Game had preconceived notions about eccentric rapper/producer Pharrell Williams -- and vice versa. But the two have since put aside their differences; Williams is the executive producer of Game's fourth studio album, "R.E.D.."

"It was the most hood album I had until Pharrell came in and took over," the Compton, Calif.-raised rapper said of the collaboration, which Interscope Records will release February 16.

"Don't get me wrong -- this album is still hood," Game continued. "I would describe it as the beauty of the sky meets the gangster of the streets. It's just got a bit more color to it."

Williams isn't the only mixmaster contributing beats to "R.E.D." Cool and Dre, DJ Khalil and Dr. Dre all lend their production efforts, while Beanie Sigel, Rick Ross, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke make guest appearances.

Billboard: What does the album title mean?

Game: It was a title Pharrell and I came up with. It was like where I am at in my career. My last album felt like it might've been my last album, but it turned out not to be. So, this album is the rededication -- to myself and to what I care about, like my friends, my family, my city, my hood, my genre and rap.

Billboard: How did you link up with Williams for this album?

Game: We worked together one day, and that one day turned to 30 days, and those 30 days turned to 60, and then those 60 developed into a friendship. We both prejudged each other, but once we met, we realized although we come from different places and different situations, we were kind of the same in different aspects of life. Now, our relationship is bigger than music. We have life conversations about bettering ourselves, and we've become good friends. We realized that aside from being musicians, we are brothers in this thing we call hip-hop.   Continued...