- Labels (TDE, Cash Money, Roc-A-Fella)
- Brands (Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Louboutin)
- Mentions of family that aren't specific names, so mother, brother, father, aren't included
- Organisations, gangs, or groups (Bloods, Crips, Al-Qaeda, The Black Panthers)
- Publications (Vibe, XXL, The Source)
- References to God or Jesus that aren't explicit name-drops (for example, "my Jesus piece" is referring to jewellery, not as Jesus name-drop)
- Self-references, unless Game mentions himself as "The Game" or "Jayceon".
Game name-drops almost as much as some of his peers reference themselves. From the very first track of Game's debut studio album The Documentary in 2005, he went 119 consecutive (musical) tracks with 1 or more name-drops. It wasn't until Young N****s on his most recent studio album, 1992 (released in 2016) that he placed a song with no name-drops on a studio album. To this day, it remains the only musical track in his studio album back catalogue without a name-drop, that's 126 songs.
Who Does He Name-Drop The Most?
The Game's respect and admiration for Dr. Dre can be quantified:
Forgetting Dre for a second, Game's other name-drops are also unsurprising. He named his two dogs 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G., and the two fallen rappers are often mentioned together on wax; 26 songs feature references to Pac and Big. Pac is referenced more often overall, likely because of his importance to the West Coast (Game's region of origin). He appears on 42 tracks, while Big pops up in 31.
The most frequent name-drops show The Game as an artist unbound by what city he is from and what color he represents. Snoop Dogg and Eazy-E are associated with The Crips, the gang rivalliny Game's The Bloods, yet both artists appear in his most mentioned names. Big, Kanye, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Nas, Eminem, Lil Wayne and G-Unit were all from outside the West Coast, an area Game reps so hard, he devoted an entire mixtape song to name-dropping West Coast legends ("Real Gangstaz", addressed at the end of this article).
The margin by which Dre wins is almost unfathomable. Apart from Game himself, he is a full 100 name-drops ahead of his competition. He's referenced almost twice as often as Game. Between The Documentary and Doctor's Advocate Game drops some form of "Dr. Dre" on 21 consecutive tracks. On the first two albums alone he's name-dropped 98 times. In total, Dr. Dre makes up 9% of total name-drops by The Game.
Name-Drops Per Album
The Documentary is Game's most prolific name-dropping studio album, besting L.A.X., which comes second, by 137 name-drops. It's impossible to analyse every single mainstream rap album ever released, but it'd be surprising if this wasn't the most name-laden number 1 album of all time. Over the course of the 17 tracks he performs on, 381 names are dropped, equating to 22.4 per song. 141 unique names are dropped (which, as is shown at the end of the article, isn't his highest "unique name" project).
The Game's name-drop frequency dipped after The Documentary, and stayed steady for the rest of his career. In October 2015 AllHipHop reported Game was called out over social media for his prolific name-dropping on The Documentary 2 and The Documentary 2.5. His response has since been deleted, but the outlet described it as "going off". He seems aware of it, but the numbers from 1992, his 2016 album, suggest the criticism hasn't stopped him from pursuing the name-dropping technique.
What About His Guests? Do They Name Drop Just As Much?
It's possible The Game isn't even an overly productive name-dropper, maybe his numbers aren't as outlandish when compared with his guests?
Game is in the red, his guests are in the green. The figures are per-line, because it's easier than per-word (each name-drop has a different number of words in it it). The numbers above Game's bars prove that Game's frequent name-drops are in no way shared by his guests.
Note how The Documentary featured the least prolific name-drops by guests. It's possible his collaborators were influenced by the huge amount of name-drops on Game's debut, and thus attempted to adhere to his lyrical model more closely during future collaborations.
When all the numbers are counted up, Game name-drops 0.28 times per line over the course of his studio album career, compared with 0.10 by his guests, almost 3 times less.
What Was The Game Like Before He Released The Documentary? Are His Mixtapes Any Less Prolific?
To compare Game's studio albums to his other work, 3 projects have been selected. The Untold Story was an independent album released in 2004, the year before his debut studio album. The Untold Story, Vol. 2 came out 6 months after The Documentary (and was recorded shortly after The Untold Story was released, during 2004 and 2005), and Brake Lights is a mixtape from 2010.
The numbers roughly align with Game's career average, going some way to prove that this was a lyrical technique Game had decided upon before he signed his major label deal and released his debut record. Notably, the track "Cali Boyz" off his 2004 mixtape had a total of 87 name-drops, with none repeated. That's his most name-laden song in the dataset, beating "92 Bars" from 2016's 1992 by 16 names.
If you have any questions about the dataset, or you'd like any information from this dataset, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet me.
I will be publishing a "top 10 Game name-drop songs" article at some point in the future as well.