At the tender age of 28, Los Angeles rapper The Game is retiring. In his own words, the self-professed King of LA - real name Jayceon Taylor - is trading in the Lamborghini for a mini van.
"I'm gonna be a daddy. That's the life," he says of his choice to spend more time with his sons, Harlem and King.
Not exactly the tough-talking gangsta you'd expect, and far from the man who spits bold and intimidating lyrics on albums like 2005 debut The Documentary and third and final album, LAX.
But it's no wonder he wants to put his feet up. He's lived a hard life, growing up in the LA suburb of Compton where he was a member of notorious street gang the Bloods and selling drugs for a living. During this time two of his brothers were shot and killed and in 2001 he was shot five times (for the record that's four fewer than label mate and rival 50 Cent), and earlier this year he did a stint in jail on weapons charges.
His five-year music career has also been a confrontational one, including fiery "beefs" with everyone from 50 Cent to embattled Death Row Records founder Suge Knight.
And don't forget this is the guy who claims LA, population 13 million, as his own: "If you're coming to LA, you gotta go through me, like the airport LAX. I'm the King of LA and that will never change."
The Game is hardcore. Yet chatting to him in a fancy suite at the W Hotel in Westwood, he comes across more like a puppy dog than a pit bull. Slouched in a padded leather chair with his feet up on the table, he's relaxed and affable. Apart from the initials "LA" etched on his cheek there's no sign of his many other tattoos, like the letters "N.W.A." emblazoned across his chest in homage to his hip-hop idols who came straight outta Compton in the late 80s.
Nor is there any sign of the brooding sneer he has in photos.
In fact, today, he's more like a stand-up comedian. It's safe to say The Game has mellowed with age.
"I'm a fun dude, man. But I can be mean and hard, I can be conscious, it just depends. There are so many faces to me."
And he's beaming about the prospect of swapping his gangsta face for daddyhood.
"I love my family more than I love music," is his simple reasoning.
It's a big call because hip-hop has been his life and the reason he went from Compton gangsta to one of rap music's shining lights - or "statues", as he sees it.
Even though he's throwing it in he knows he owes a lot to people like hip-hop pioneer Dr Dre, who signed him to his Aftermath record label in 2003.
"Hip-hop is a woman that I will love and appreciate the things she did for me for the rest of my life," he admits, with typical rapper bravado. "It doesn't matter if me and her get married, continue our relationship, or break up, I'm always going to have respect for hip-hop and love it. She raised me."
He has a similar attitude to his old neighbourhood. Even though he moved out four years ago into the swankier surrounds of Glendale, the heavy streets of Compton will always be his home.
"When you think California you think sun, beautiful weather, women, and palm trees. Compton is that in the daytime but when the sun goes down, people get murdered, people start selling crack, cocaine, weed and speed. We say Compton in the daytime is like a Mariah Carey video. At night time it's like Michael Jackson's Thriller ... with guns," he jokes.
Compared to previous albums more of a sense of humour comes through on LAX. Although he's not about to admit it, referring to it as "free-spiritedness".
"There's no beef, no drama, no negativity. This is the first album [where] I was able to be myself, no record label, no 50, no Dre in my ear telling me what to do."
He believes LAX, which entered the New Zealand album charts in the top 20 last week, will supercede both The Documentary, and follow up Doctor's Advocate. The guest list will help: there's beat-maker Tre Beatz ("He is like Dr Dre in a 5 ft 8 body. If you don't get a Dre beat, you get a Tre Beatz beat."), songbird Keyshia Cole (with whom Game went to high school), and big names like Lil Wayne, Nas, Ice Cube and current chart-topper and songwriter-to-the-stars, Ne-Yo. And lyrically, he says it's his best album yet.
"My lyrical growth is just amazing these days and what you heard on My Life, you know, there's not a rapper in the world that's better than me, man. Not right now. I like Nas, I like Snoop, but they've all had their prime. But right now, there's no one better than The Game. I'm lyrically comfortable and I can rip your f****** head off on a record."
You expect posturing and bravado when you interview a hip-hop star and The Game is no exception. But unlike, say, Kanye West, who's notorious for one-word answers and flippancy, The Game likes to chat.
He even turns the conversation around to focus on me. He likens his growth as a rapper - going from a "little MC" under the tutelage of Dr Dre to the King of LA - to my growth as a journalist. "It's just like journalism. When you started off you probably didn't know how to act, you were probably starstruck a little bit, and as you grew as a journalist you got better, you relaxing and now you're chillin'. You got your arm stretched out on the sofa, it's easy going."
Then, perhaps more appropriately, he compares his career to LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant. "When he first got to the league he was young, making stupid mistakes, silly turnovers, and then he grew up. It's just like me."
While you believe that he's grown up and moved on, somehow you can't help but be sceptical about his retirement from hip-hop. Then again, who's game enough to argue with him?
Sorry bout the long read