Guest Star: "He Has To Put A Dr. Dre Reference In Almost Every Verse"
Friday, Dec 14, 2012 4:00PM
[With West Coast rapper Game's new Jesus Piece sparking controversy amongst religious groups, Philadelphia Pastor Jomo K. Johnson gives SOHH readers his song-by-song review.]
Ever since Game released his fifth studio album, Jesus Piece, people have been asking me for my opinion. I assume the connection comes from Jesus Piece being titled after our Lord and Savior (especially seeing a gangstafied Jesus is depicted on the album cover) and a Pastor who has argued with Meek Mill on the radio about the wrong use of Religion in music. So I decided it would be good to give a critical and track-by-track album review of Game's Jesus Piece.
Scared Now - Ft. Meek Mill
Game opens the album with Philly Native and (My Radio Interview Homey) Meek Mill. The beat goes hard as it opens with dark synth and heavy hitting bass. It's somewhat weak as an intro but serves its purpose. The chorus opens ups, "Who the F Scared Now?" It almost sounds like Game is trying to mimic Young Jeezy. (I don't know if this is trying to be a hood anthem, but if it is, it's not memorable enough to be classic.)
Lyrics - Game goes on to threaten his enemies by stating "Who's scared now." This song is violent and is done for the hood dude riding in his car ready to hit a lick. (Problematic - but not surprising.) Game also has a unique way to make it seem as if Hip Hop revolves around him. He does this by insinuating that he knows who killed Biggie. (Don't we all know who killed Biggie that Knight? Oops) But anyway, it's a little old but it seems to work for game. Meek Mill plays the background with another run of the Mill Meek verse. Nothing new here. Meek talks a lot of game but really doesn't say much. But people love the way he says it. Scale of 1-5 (2)
Ali Bomaye feat. 2 Chainz & Rick Ross
One thing that Game has always been able to do is get guest appearances. In this album he enlists 2 Hip Hop giants as he compares himself to Muhammad Ali. Rick Ross pulls out another verse from his Gangsta Alter-Ego while 2 Chainz plays his usual role of Gangsta Bozo - spitting Crazy metaphors (although tame for this song).
The beat is somewhat of a throwback to his Documentary style beats in which he samples some Caribbean sounding background vocals. But the beat is forgettable and needs the guest appearance to make it worth anything. Ps, is it just me, or does anyone start falling asleep when Rick Ross starts to rap. Scale of 1-5 (2)
Jesus Piece feat. Kanye West & Common
This track is one of the most troubling as it relates to spirituality. The track is produced by Boi1da and Maven. I'm a little surprised by unnamed Christian Hip Hop artists use of Boi1da. He is a tight producer but he produces beats on songs that would be very considered disrespectful to Christians.
The beat is one of the best on the album. The various piano chords are simple yet do well to bring out Game's lyrics. (Common disappoints, almost seeming like he wasn't comfortable on the track. Kanye gives his patented (Huhh) but not more.
What is problematic is that Game relates his success to God and Jesus. This is a common theme in Hip Hop, but there is a problem when you acknowledge your willingness to put 40 Glocc on World Star Hip Hop after knocking him out and then talk about your lucky Jesus Piece. As a Pastor and Christian - this don't work with God. (PS, the Jesus Piece Skit that proceeds the song is ignorant and disrespectful too.) Scale of 1-5 (3)
In Pray feat. J. Cole & JMSN, Game tells a story of a woman who needs God. I respect Game's willingness to try to tell a story here. The beat and his rapping are completely off kilter but one can over look this for his good intentions. J. Cole saves the track. PS, when I heard of J. Cole, I had hopes that he was the Savior of Good Hip Hop...that was before I actually heard J. Cole. (I'll keep waiting.) Church is the coonery song of the year. It's Meek's Mill Amen on Steroids. If I was from Compton I would call for a boycott. It doesn't help that Trey Songz backs up the R&B beat with porno lyrics. "Im'a crucify that p*ssy." Really? This song shows that Game has a need to have someone really explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him. Game, holler at me, I got you. All That (Lady) feat. Lil Wayne, takes a DeAngelo classic and ruins it. He tries to do a Tupac style RnB sample for women. Some ladies might like it because you can dance to it...but as soon as Weezy F. comes on, the track Fails. Heaven's Arms boasts of Game's ability to smoke kush, pack heat like 2 Lebrons, and make that girl sing high notes. (Game is most lyrically versatile on this track though.)
Name Me King features Pusha T which instantly addd street credibility to your track. Pusha T is one of a few real southern lyricists (like his content or not). But despite both their claims, they are not Kings (not in album sales or in spiritual domain.) Song gets lost on album because of its repetitive "swagger" theme. See No Evil is hands down the best song on the Album. The beat is deep and is mysteriously therapeutic. Game reveals his heart on this track that is reminiscent of his classic Tha Documentary. Kendrick Lamar does his thing again with his verse and almost outshines Game. Powerful song that serves as an Urban commentary. If the album had 5 of these, without all of the (Jesus Piece Garbage) it would be a classic. In Can't Get Right Game make the statement, "I ain't trying to go to hell." (How is that he has to put a Dr. Dre reference in almost every verse - especially one in which he desires to escape hell.) K. Roosevelt sings on the track on a nice hook. But the song isn't believable. Does the Game really want to escape hell or just wants to create a song in which he wants us to believe he wants to? I'm not sure.
Hallelujah is another attempt to mimic the Pseduo-Spiritual track of Meek Mill's Amen. I hate this track. I hate it as a Hip Hop fan as a Pastor. The beat is nice, produced by Jake One. But that's about it. Jamie Foxx sings on the track but Red Fox could of sang and probably made it better. I don't like the concept of Church being a place in which the Game thinks he can come say some prayers and then leave to slay his next redbone. It is especially disrespectful to call women in church "bad bitches" while saying, "you know I love Jesus." Liar.
Celebration is a remake of the Bone Thugs classic, "First of the Month." This is a unique sample that would of done better on a mixtape. The remake feat. Chris Brown, Lil' Wayne, Tyga, and Wiz Kalifa is a slowed down west coast version of French Montana's Pop That. I don't see anything wrong with a party record. But why does every party record these days have to include references to lesbianism? I'm just saying.
Blasphemy or Religious Disrespect: 4
Overall Album Rating: 2 out of 5
It appears that Game tried to capitalize off the religious theme and image to gain a bit more exposure for this album. (Don't worry Game, I'm not going to call for a boycott. You're not from my city.) The entire album is not about Jesus but seeks to show off the "Jesus Piece" lifestyle. Game does not know the real Jesus. You cannot meet the real Jesus, follow him, and be the same. This album gives listeners a false Jesus who is cool with your sin as long as your beat is banging and your money is long. To hell with that.