Sunday, 16 December 2012

Album Review: Game - Jesus Piece

Game’s fifth studio album’s previous title was F.I.V.E.: Fear Is Victory’s Evolution (which makes no sense at all) but Trey Songz thankfully released an album by the same name so Game had to change the title. Game later announced the album would be called Jesus Piece and after he revealed the album’s artwork, interest surrounding the project increased. If you haven’t seen the album’s deluxe cover it features a dark skinned Jesus Christ, wearing a red bandanna (typically associated with the Piru Bloods gang) with a tear drop tattoo; interesting to say the least.

The album doesn't really get going until the fourth track, “Pray”. Jesus Piece begins with the most average of songs “Scared Now”. Game speaks on his beef with 40 Glocc as well as the possibility of reuniting with 50 Cent and releasing a joint album. Surprising since he also speaks on his split from 50 Cent’s G unit crew, “All this coming out of the mouth of the nigga you used to know as being 50's dog/ but I got tired of being 50's dog." Meek Mill brings some much needed energy to the track, but can’t stop it being skippable at best.
“Ali Bombaye”, the album’s second song features good production from Black Metaphor but suffers from its lack of concept. What a  missed opportunity. Game and 2 Chainz exchange verses which is nice but they just deliver the standard rapper verses about bragging, as does Rick Ross.

"Lord willin', I see a billion
'Til then, I let my nuts hang (Something like my Jesus Piece)" – Game on “Jesus Piece”

Continuing on from the album’s controversial artwork, the album’s title track “Jesus Piece” contains a chorus with lyrics which might not provide the most comfortable listening for some (see above). Again the song is nothing more than ordinary and Game is out shined by Common, who is probably the only artist contributing something valuable on the song.

“Pray”, the albums stand out track, is head and shoulders above the rest of Jesus Piece.  The song is one of Cool & Dre's best pieces of work and could easily find a place on a Drake album. J Cole's entrance is superb and improves an already decent track.

"I'm a thug but I got a heart like Kevin & them" – Game on “Pray”


Cool & Dre also do a nice job on “All That (Lady)”, which is another of Jesus Piece’s highlights. The song has an old school 90’s feel to it with Jeremiah doing his best D'Angelo impression. Big Sean continues to show his improvement with a decent contribution and Lil Wayne provides another stellar verse. Fabolous pops up on the outro with 8 bars that can barely be heard because the song is fading out. Why he is even on this track needs answering.



The best thing about “Heaven’s Arms” is Games last verse which is strong. Apart from that the production is ok, but the chorus is weak. Yet another song lacking concept and subject matter; yawn.

It is interesting to see Pusha T featured on the album even though he is currently beefing with Game's future boss Lil Wayne. Pusha T‘s appearance is probably the most interesting thing about “Name Me King”, a song which can only be described as average. If this is Game’s claim for the throne, then he shouldn’t have even embarked on the campaign!

"Rollies cross oceans like Frank out in England
The Gay Pride bezel rainbow like it's spring again" - Pusha T on  “Name Me King”

Speaking of Frank Ocean, K Roosevelt, the singer on “Can’t Get Right” sounds alot like the Odd Future crooner (which is a complement). Cool & Dre also return to form and deliver one of the album’s better tracks.

On the Kendrick Lamar assisted “See No Evil” Game sounds like Shyne, which is ironic considering their current 'beef'. Boi-1da provides an interesting back drop on which Tank shines and delivers a brilliant chorus.

It is great to see Game working with Jake One (who also produced Rick Ross’ “ThreeKings”) and hearing the song is even better. It is just a shame that we have to wait until so late in the album, to hear a song this good.

"I know this the last one after this it's straight Cash Money, my nigga
So, it's YMCMB, wild life my nigga, let's get it poppin'" – Birdman on “Freedrom”

Birdman adds fuel to the fire by suggesting that Game will sign with Cash Money after this album on Jesus Piece’s penultimate track “Freedom”. Game only has two solo tracks on the album which is surprising for a rapper who has made several tracks with more than 1500 bars. Maybe it's a result of his many years in the industry and the many rapping friends he has now acquired, who knows.
"my album like a 'Rari - a lot of dope features" - game. Sums the albums many features up.

The album’s final song “Celebration” is easily it’s most commercial one. With the list of featured artists including Chris Brown, Tyga, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa. Lil Wayne again has the best verse and breaks away from the temptation that the other artists on the track couldn't resist: imitating Bone Thugs' trademark flow. With only 2 bars on the whole song, it is clear Wiz Khalifa’s presence is more for namesake rather than lyrics.


Highlights

Summary
Unfortunately Game’s fifth studio album fails to live up to the hype that built up over recent weeks. There are four very good songs, but take these away and you are left with nothing but album filler. Sure the album’s many featured artists will help ensure that Jesus Piece performs well commercially, but even they can’t help Game produce a solid body of work this outing. Let’s hope that he can learn from his future boss Lil Wayne’s verses on this album and be inspired by Drake’s Take Care for his next effort.

Rating
Avoid | Stream | Recommend


Game’s new album Jesus Piece is available to buy now on iTunes UKiTunes US. You can also stream the album in its entirety on Spotify by clicking here.

Previously: Album Review: Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City