Thursday, June 19, 2014

Game Day: Jesus Piece

On December 11, 2012, I posted my "breakdown" of today's topic, "Jesus Piece". So what I'll be doing on this post is including my original thoughts, verbatim, and adding in my "updated" thoughts one year and a half after its initial release. You can check out my 2012 breakdown below:

[Note: My apologies if you're offended by this cover.]

Release date: December 11, 2012

[My 2014 thoughts will be in bold brackets.]

After Game's fourth album, the solid yet forgettable "Red Album," "Jesus Piece" comes the year after "Red," with almost no promotion/hype whatsoever. At first I was anticipating it because I like Game, however, once I saw the tracklist and listened to the samples via iTunes, I almost vowed to avoid this album. So I went ahead and "Spotified" the album just to review it for the blog. How does it hold up? Let's take a look.

[WM 2014 POV: After the previous review, I wouldn't say "The R.E.D. Album" was totally forgettable, but then again, "The City" is the one thing that's still talked about today.]

[WM 2020 POV: I ended up adding the "deluxe edition" of this album to my collection in 2018.]

This will be broken up into 3 different sections: the production, the guests (there are lots of them), and the closing.

  Black Metaphor (Scared Now and Ali Bomaye), Boi-1 da (Jesus Piece), Cool & Dre (Pray, Celebration, & All That- Lady), Jake One (Hallelujah), K. Roosevelt (Can't Get High), just to name a few. Production on this album ranges from very good to more of the same. Game usually has very good beat selection, but overall it's a notch below his previous albums, and that does include "The Red Album."

[It's going to be interesting to see how the production on this album matches up against that of "The R.E.D. Album today.]

Guests/The Album
I'm really going to break this one down, so bear with me, and one thing I will say early is that most of the guests end up stealing the show from Game, which would've been somewhat impossible a few years ago.

*Scared Now (featuring Meek Mill). This is a good opener, and although I'm not a fan of the overrated Meek, he actually delivers a good verse and doesn't yell all over the place for a change, and surprisingly, he bests Game on this track. [WM 2020 POV: I warmed up to Meek a little bit.] It's also something to hear Game essentially, temporary adopting a Young Jeezy like flow here.

[I like this one a little more upon second listen. My thoughts still remain the same, however, I don't know where I got the "Young Jeezy like flow" from, because Game sounded like himself here.]
*4 out of 5*

*Ali Bomaye (featuing 2 Chainz & Rick Ross). I didn't care too much for this one. Game was his usual self here, but 2 Chainz and Ross, two guys I'm not a fan of either, didn't bring anything to the table that we haven't heard before. [WM 2020 POV: I've warmed up to Ross obviously, but not 2 Chainz.] Same ol ish here, definitely nothing special, and did Game really quote that ignorant "bandz to make her dance" line on this one???

[Black Metaphor brought another tight beat to the table. I don't know what I heard back in 2012, but I didn't hear a "bandz to make her dance" line the second time around. Moving on, Game was flowing well until he started a "Ross like flow" towards the end, and of course my thoughts on 2 Chainz and Rick Ross' verses remain the same. Decent song, about 2-3 minutes too long though.]
*3 out of 5* 

*Jesus Piece (featuring Kanye West & Common). Boi-1 da delivers a tight beat for the song, and although Game's verse was decent, it pales in comparison to a seemingly energetic Common. And I guess it was smart to have Kanye perform the hook, as there would've been a chance of him stealing the show on this one too, even on a song with Common. Either way, good stuff here.

[I said Boi-1da produced this, but that was incorrect. This nice beat was produced by Stephen "Koz" Kozmeniuk and The Maven Boys. Pretty good performances from all involved, although today I wouldn't say Common was energetic, neither was there a chance Kanye would steal the show on a song with Game and Common. Possible, but not likely with this song.]
*4 out of 5*

*Pray (featuring J. Cole & JMSN). The first of three straight songs catering to the female audience. J. Cole, who's been disappointing me continuously a lot lately, has the best verse, but that's not saying much.

[My feelings remain the same on this one.]
*2 out of 5* 

*Church (featuring Trey Songz & King Chip). Is Game REALLY trying to equate the holy place of worship with a STRIP CLUB of all places????? It certainly sounds like it on this one. We get the standard "crush that" type track, as Game provides nothing we haven't heard before, Trey Songz delivers his usual sexually charged material (in this case the hook), and King Chip brings a forgettable verse.

[Oh God no, I refuse to revisit this, because chances are, based on my words above, I don't see myself feeling any different about this song. Next please.]
*1 out of 5*

*All That (Lady) featuring Lil Wayne, Fabolous, Big Sean, and Jeremih. Did they really have to sample D'Angelo's classic "Lady" for this? I mean seriously, and again, no one says anything we haven't heard before, especially the overrated Lil Wayne. This song is already interesting because towards the end, as Fabolous begins his verse, the song abruptly ends.

[Looking back, I probably was a little too hard on this song when talking about the D'Angelo sample, but on the flipside I was right, it's nothing we haven't heard before. And to comment on Fabolous' verse again, it doesn't seem like the abrupt ending of his verse was planned at all and it ends like that due to an apparent timing issue, amounting to a rare wasted Fabolous appearance.]
*2.5 out of 5*

*Heavens Arms

[I don't know what I missed the first time around, but this was pretty good as well. Game feeling it over a nice Cool & Dre track.]
*4 out of 5*

*Name Me King (featuring Pusha T). This is dope as hell. The beat works, Game steps up a bit lyrically, however, Pusha T absolutely kills this track, and again, Game is upstaged on his own song.

[My feelings remain the same on this one too. It's dope as hell, and while Pusha T brought it alongside Game, he didn't completely upstage him.]
*4 out of 5* 

*See No Evil (featuring Kendrick Lamar & Tank). This apply titled song is very good, featuring an excellent verse by one Kendrick Lamar. Speaking of Kendrick, remember "The City" from "The Red Album" and how Kendrick stole the show? The same thing happens here.

 [Very good song, but I don't think Kendrick stole the show here. Man, I must've been listening to a different album in 2012.]
*4 out of 5*

*Can't Get Right (Featuring K. Roosevelt)

[Game opens up his confessional side here, another very good song.]
*4 out of 5*

*Hallelujah (featuring Jamie Foxx). This is one of the best songs on the album, mostly because of the beat, but Game still comes through with Mr. Foxx.

[This is another one where my feelings are the same. Jake One's beat alone would be a "5 out of 5."]
*4 out of 5*

*Freedom (Featuring Elijah Blake)

[Shave about 2 minutes off this, it would've been a little better. As it stands, it's ok.]
*3 out of 5* 

*Celebration (featuring Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Tyga, and Wiz Khalifa). My God, wasn't one song with Lil Wayne on this album enough?? Aside from Game and Chris Brown (depending on the song), I'm not a fan of Wiz, Tyga, or Lil Wayne, and sampling the classic Bone Thugs N Harmony song "First of the Month" did them NO favors, and it's ANOTHER song catered to the females at that. I'm NOT sexist, but come on man, smh.

[This certainly was all over the place. Was it for the smokers, the ladies, or both? It's like the song couldn't decide which. Oh yeah, my thoughts above remain the same as well.]
*2 out of 5*

*I Remember (featuring Young Jeezy & Future). This is another confirmation as to why I'm not a fan of Future, and Game mimicking his flow for this track does NOT help. Jeezy, not surprisingly in this case, has the best verse here, but that's not saying much.

 [This was the first of two deluxe edition tracks and it's not a good one in my view. No one had the "best verse" on this song, plus it was not even a half way decent song for the ladies. Forgettable.]
*1.5 out of 5*

*Blood Diamonds

[This would've been a better closer than "Celebration." It's pretty good too, not just another song about fine jewerly.]
*4 out of 5*

"Dead People" (produced by Dr. Dre), "Blood of Christ," and "Holy Water" are there ADDITIONAL tracks included on the iTunes and Best Buy versions, respectively.


The first thought that comes to mind is that this is the most inconsistent (i.e. the worst) album of Game's career. [Well, I really shortchanged this album a bit. It has its fair share of filler to be sure, but it's not his worst or most inconsistent album. In fact, I'd place this one above and ahead of "The R.E.D. Album.] I'm not sure why Game switched up his voice (even dating back to the Red Album), but listening to him on this album compared to "The Documentary" and "Doctor's Advocate" is like night and day. [He didn't switch up his voice per se, but it was different from his vocals on the first two albums, not in a bad way.] Also, having an apparent "church/religious theme" interspersed with a hip hop "swag," if you will, does NOT help this album at all, and if that's what he was aiming for, he failed in that regard. [Yeah, I shortchanged this album a bit. Game said "it does not have a spiritual theme, but it would have a gangster theme of enjoying life while also having faith in God." That does sum up this album in a nutshell, no failure here.] Also, this album, much like his last album, was LOADED with guests. Game is already a star, but it's leading me to believe that he may be starting to become a little insecure in his starpower/artistry to continue to get all of the "hottest" artists at the moment, plus most of the guests steal the show from him on his own record. [I wouldn't go so far as to say he was "insecure" in his starpower/artistry; it was less about that and more about getting the "hottest" artists at the time. While some of the guests bring it well, no one straight up stole the show from Game on this album. Pusha T was the only one who came close in my view.] And just when you think the name dropping has leveled off, it rears its head here, and I'm thinking, "man, we get it already," and lyrically he's bringing nothing new to the table. Just more of the same if you ask me. [The name dropping did return, but it didn't bother me like it does others. Lyrically it's very good, and while he's not saying anything new, he's not phoning it in and I can usually spot something like that instantly.]

This is one of those albums that I wouldn't recommend to even the most hardcore Game fan, however, I'll give it a somewhat generous 3 star rating mainly because there are a couple of highlights here, and I feel this album will be forgotten quicker than "The Red Album" was.[I would recommend this album and it's better than I initially gave it credit for in 2012, and I bump my previous 3 star rating up to a solid 3.5 stars. It also moved 86,000 units in its first week, moving a total of 281,000 to date. There are multiple highlights on this album and honestly, this album has been forgotten in time. I'd recommend a revisit, especially if you haven't heard it before or listened to it in a long time.]

This "series" on The Game has concluded. He has one classic under his belt (The Documentary), an awesome album (The Doctor's Advocate), two very good ones (LAX and Jesus Piece), and an ok one (The R.E.D. Album), and I'm looking forward to what he does next. Speaking of next, it was recently announced that he'll be releasing his sixth studio album, "Blood Money La Familia" on September 16, and it's already on my radar, plus he also announced "The Documentary 2". Game, thanks for your contributions (as well as putting a spotlight back on the West Coast at a time when it wasn't there) and keeping doing your thing!

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