One of the most popular Gangster Hip-Hop rappers, The Game, released his only “concept album”, “Jesus Piece” back in December 2012. The album faced backlash for its ‘controversial’ album cover but received acclaim for its guest features and religious but still very raw and gangster-occupied lyrics.
Fuck the rest of the intro, lets just get to it. The album is full of life, energy, emotion and reflection. The production, handled by Cool & Dre, Boi-1da, Black Metaphor and SAP, allow The Game to fully migrate himself into the idea of religious concepts. He voices out how the gang life he’s taken part in while growing up, battling depression, repenting for the wrongs he’s done…and “getting some chicken wings and after that go to CHURCH!”. It’s a dense album, but doesn’t fall short on tracks or features. The only thing that irritates me are Kevin Hart‘s so-not-funny skits at the end of some of the tracks.
The first track, “Scared Now” features everyones’ favourite ‘L’ taker, Meek Mill. The production consists of heavy church bells, sharp claps, light keys and quick guitar strums. Game’s slow but vicious flow and lyrics showed us that he still is the same Game who came out with the classic “The Documentary“. Meek Mill, surprisingly, has a memorable verse and, in all honesty, steals the show.
One of the definite highlights off the LP has too be JMSN and J. Cole featured “Pray”, which sees both rappers discussing strippers with depression and living a belittling life, where men like The Game and Cole will always be there for them, even if they are stigmatised by bias media. JMSN’s vocals on this track are just pure as the emotion that the rappers’ and singer are displaying. The melancholic vocal sample, R&B drums and Pop guitar strumming at points help showcase the depressing and intense subject matter on hand.
As always though, The Game comes through with typical but ‘religious’ orientated songs. “Church” is one of those generic rap songs, however, the melodic bells, Jazz bass line and a star-studded verse from King Chip, give it a bit more of a ratchet vibe, also thanks to the always seductive Trey Songz.
“See No Evil”, featuring a superb verse from Kendrick, brings back lyrics and a flow similar to that explored on his darkest album, “Doctor’s Advocate“. Every time I hear Kendrick’s verse, I can’t help but sway my head to his flow and hum along.
Disappointingly, although the album is ‘good’, although the guest features are what sell the album. If The Game had cleared samples for tracks such as the haunting “Holy Water“, ridiculously smooth and Jazzy “Stripper” and “Murder” (ANOTHER KENDRICK FEATURE), the album may have been album to hold its weight. However, The Game still provides an album where every song is listenable and keeps you entertained…it just doesn’t have that raw, West-Coast sound that he displayed so well on previous projects.