In simplest terms, Game Rebellion is just a bunch of black kids making rock music. That’s how they introduce themselves on their mixtape Searching For Rick Rubin, which is a collaboration effort with DJ J. Period. But Game Rebellion is much more complex than that. Parts Mos Def, part Sex Pistols, Game Rebellion is nothing short of exactly what the music industry needs: a total and complete middle finger to fitting in, selling out, dumbing down, and whatever the fuck else the music industry makes artists do.
GR’s Emi broke it down during a dinner conversation with Naledge of Kidz In The Hall when he said, “the reason we’re not signed to a label is because we got six motherfuckers…there’s now way you can jerk us. We can’t do it.”
Indeed, the band from Brooklyn is not about getting jerked, but breaking the hands that control the chain. Searching For Rick Rubin is much more than a clever ode to one of music’s best producers. It’s a nod to Rubin’s unapologetic uniqueness, as well as a critique of social and political hypocrisy responsible for injustice. It’s a mixtape I reviewed months ago for SoundSlam.com, but felt a need to revisit after seeing the band live and getting a better idea of the ethos behind them.
Perhaps the best example of that ethos is the band’s version of “Peter Piper” where Netic spits:
“A lie is just a little better than the truth/and the truth is just another lie until it’s proof/and the proof relies completely upon the facts/and the facts, they hide and seek behind the stats/the stats depend on how the game is played/and the game gets played by how the rules are made/and the rules could be broken if the ref is paid/cause if the ref gets paid then the rules will sway/and if the rules get swayed then the stats are waived/and when the stats get waived then the facts will fade/ And when the facts start to fade, poof, the proof vanishes/ the truth becomes false and experts are amateurs.”
Beyond that, the mixtape itself is banging all the way through. I get more than my fair share and hate the monotony created by mixtapes with gunshots, sirens, slams instead of blends, and poorly recorded songs passed off as ‘exclusive.’ Take the extreme opposite of all that and you have Searching For Rick Rubin. The mixtape is not just chock full of reworkings of classic joints produced by the former Def Jam and current Columbia music man, Rick Rubin (that’s DJ RR for those in the know), but also a mini-history lesson in Rock n’ Roll.
J Period’s skill behind the boards and turntables are on full display, when matched with Game Rebellion’s poignant lyrics they make this mixtape a great addition to any music collection. Game Rebellion’s rock out mentality and musicianship make the music come to life, and revitalize songs such as “Public Enemy Number 1,” “Going Back To Cali,” and “99 Problems.”
It is “99 Problems” that best exemplifies the partnership between J. Period and Game Rebellion as he weaves Jay-Z’s vocals into the mix, using Jay’s voice as another instrument and band member.
I.E. “If I don’t play they show, they don’t play my hits, I don’t give a s**t, so…” raps Jay-Z only to be followed by “They don’t play my music, as far as I’m concerned, along with the politicians, all the stations can burn,” raps Game Rebellion’s Netic.
Along with the Rick Rubin revisits, the CD also boasts a biting freestyle over Eminem’s “Toy Soldiers” in which Netic questions gangsterism in Hip Hop. He spits:
“Before we imitated Scillians in all our raps/f**king Moolis, we’re just imitating movies/stupid rappers, our favorite gangsters are actors/ Al Pacino’s and Little Bobby Deniros/Now James Gandolfini, I’m just trying to be me/ I hate to see my people humiliated on TV/ Damn 3 6 Mafia, you just make it so easy.”
Searching For Rick Rubin turned up a bunch of dope remakes, and uncovered the talent that is Game Rebellion. The groups motto is “If You See Something, Say Something.” I see you Game Rebellion, and now I’m just letting you know!…again!