The Score: "['Jesus Piece'] Takes A Wrong Turn On 'Hallelujah,' Where Game Opens The Song Praising God W/ Profanity"

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 2:45PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

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  • Jesus Piece
  • Game
  • December 11, 2012
All Hip Hop 8/10
HHDX 3.5/5
Sputnik Music 4/5
The Versed 4/5
USA Today 3.5/4

After months of promoting his controversial Jesus Piece album, West Coast rapper Game's last contractual Interscope Records studio effort is finally on store shelves nationwide today (December 11).

Just over a year since his R.E.D. Album debuted atop the sales chart, Game wastes no time getting a fifth solo effort to eager fans.

In terms of critical and commercial reception, Game's The R.E.D. Album was a fall from his 2008 LAX album. This was the fuel that Game needed. He desired to create a concept record that was concise, focused, and conceptualized his gangster yet spiritual personality. Game's Jesus Piece begins with "Scared Now" (Feat. Meek Mill), where an eerie religious organ plays atop a heavy bass production. Game immediately bucks shots at 50 Cent saying, "But I got tired of being 50's dog, had to break my chain and break that n*gga 50 off". This song goes hard and Game lets the rest of the hip-hop community know that he is an overly qualified candidate, coming for the crown. (Sputnik Music)

To help highlight what could be his final Interscope album, the former G-Unit member relies heavily on a slew of star-studded guest appearances.

He offers a variety of flows, inspired in part by the slew of hip-hop luminaries who populate the album. Fortunately, his rhymes shine brightest even with such guests as Kanye West, Common, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar. Game has stirred controversy (no surprise) with an album cover of a tattooed Jesus in a red bandana on a stained glass window, yet fans will praise the music. (USA Today)

The rapper-turned-actor injects his latest solo offering with a multitude of different tones and vibes to help differentiate the 13-track LP song-by-song.

The best parts of Jesus Piece, however, are when Game either takes a chance out of the blue, or when he turns aggressive when rhyming. A perfect example of the first is "Pray", which features strong vocals from JMSN and a show-stealing verse from J. Cole, and "See No Evil" with Tank and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, there's a legit flip of a classic D'Angelo song ("All That") that features Lil' Wayne, Big Sean, Jeremih, and Fabolous that deserves props. The second's illustrated the best in "Heaven's Arms" and "Freedom", illustrating Game as he flips the switch and goes to work without the help of guest emcees. (All Hip Hop)

Instead of submitting himself to the pop-sounding trends currently infiltrating hip-hop these days, Game laces his bars around various West Coast-sounding beats.

From a production and musical standpoint, it's almost the same story, but minus most of the star power except on a few hooks. From start to finish, there's a ton of variety, but it's truly tough to say that there's anything truly original or that really "stands out" in the grand scheme of 2012's releases. In true Game fashion, we get some heavy percussion and synth driven West Coast beats, and while they all achieve that sound in much different ways, stay pretty consistent. However, there aren't any beats that even come close to achieving the same presence that the instrumentals on The Documentary or even some of the more polished beats on LAX, which is understandable considering he was working with legends back then. But, even so this, one's a strong effort through and through and never comes close to trying to capture a pop or electronic sound - which is growing increasingly rare these days. (The Versed)

Despite some near-perfect ratings, many music critics found flaws in the rapper's guest feature selection and content.

On Jesus Piece, these strengths aren't nearly as prominent. The production is generally strong and memorable, yet inconsistent at times. Where the album really falters is with the features. Listeners can't help but wonder whether Game sat back, identified Maybach Music Group, Young Money, and G.O.O.D. Music as the hottest crews in the game, and simply decided to pick a few from each. Sure, there's a lot of talent amongst those lineups, but there's also a lot of homogeneity. As the features go, so does an album so replete with them. (HHDX)
Game is able to mesh his brash raps while talking about his trials of spiritual growth - especially on "Heaven's Arms" and "See No Evil," with Kendrick Lamar and Tank. But the album takes a wrong turn on "Hallelujah," where Game opens the song praising God with the use of profanity, rapping about the struggle to overcome his worldly desires during church services. Some have said the song is offensive, but don't let this particular track overshadow the rest of this quality album. (Huffington Post)

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