Jesus Piece (album)

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Jesus Piece
Jesus-piece-game-albumcover.jpg
Studio album by The Game
Released December 11, 2012 (2012-12-11)
Recorded 2011–12
Genre West Coast hip hop, gangsta rap
Length 56:30
Label
Producer
The Game chronology
The R.E.D. Album
(2011)The R.E.D. Album2011
Jesus Piece
(2012)
Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf
(2014)Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf2014
Deluxe edition cover
Deluxe edition cover
Singles from Jesus Piece
  1. "Celebration"
    Released: September 2, 2012
  2. "All That (Lady)"
    Released: February 19, 2013

Jesus Piece is the fifth studio album by American West Coast hip hop recording artist The Game, released on December 11, 2012, by DGC Records and Interscope Records, his last release on the label. Within a three-year gap between Game's third album, LAX (2008), and his follow-up, The R.E.D. Album (2011), before the latter was finally released in August 2011. The R.E.D. Album was a fall from his previous three released album sales, but became Game's third number one album on the US Billboard 200 chart. Shortly after the release of the long delayed album, Game announced he had begun work on his fifth studio album. The album was originally meant to be titled Soundtrack to Chaos, then was changed to F.I.V.E. (Fear is Victory's Evolution) and finally Jesus Piece becoming Game's first concept album.

Game explained the concept of Jesus Piece does not have a spiritual theme, but it would have a "gangster" theme of enjoying life while also having faith in God.[1][2] Jesus Piece was Game's first album since the multi-platinum selling and critically acclaimed The Documentary to feature production from Dr. Dre. Game announced on social media that every Sunday leading up to the album that he would be dropping new music, which failed to make the album's final cut. Game compared the album's quality of production and high number of guests to his mentor Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001.[3]

"Celebration" was released as the album's lead single. The song features additional vocals from fellow rappers Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa. "Celebration" managed to attain chart success, debuting at number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100. "All That (Lady)" featuring Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Fabolous and Jeremih would be released as the second single and peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Other guest appearances on the album came from Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Common, J. Cole, JMSN, King Chip, Trey Songz, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Tank, K. Roosevelt, Jamie Foxx, Elijah Blake, Future and Young Jeezy.

The controversial cover for the deluxe edition of the album portrays an African-American Jesus. On the standard edition cover, Game pays homage to one of his older brothers, Jevon Danell Taylor, who was shot and killed at the age of 20.[4] Upon release, the album received generally positive reviews, with most critics praising the production and guests on the album. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 86,000 copies.

Background and recording[edit]

The first glimpse seen of The Game's fifth studio album was through Twitter a couple of days before The R.E.D. Album was released. The Game posted a video of him in a studio session with 1500 or Nothin'. In the session, he titled the fifth LP Soundtrack to Chaos.[5] The session showed them recording a song that was later released, called "Everywhere" which featured J. Black.[6] To build hype, The Game released a mixtape called California Republic. The mixtape was released on April 6, 2012.[7]

In early 2012, The Game changed the album's title to F.I.V.E.: Fear is Victory's Evolution. He also announced that Cool & Dre would be executive producing, while DJ Khaled was a co-executive producer.[8] The Game changed the title of the album for the second time due to similarities with Trey Songz's Chapter V and 50 Cent's digital album. He told in an interview with DJ Skee that the album borrows its name from the title track featuring Kanye West, and it has a concept on enjoying life to the fullest while still believing in God. Jesus Piece stands as The Game's only concept record to date.[9] He scrapped the years worth of material from the album sessions except for the song "Jesus Piece" and intended to change the whole album behind that one song.[10] After this, The Game had 60 days to re-record the entire album, which included calling rappers that already recorded verses for the project (such as Lil Wayne and Rick Ross) having to come back in and re-record their verses to fit the album concept.

In an August 2012 interview with DJ Skee, The Game confirmed that Jesus Piece was scheduled for a release in the fourth quarter of 2012. He also hinted at another mixtape before the album releases and that he has more than 5,000 records on his computer that had yet to be released to the public.[11]

Cover artwork[edit]

The Game released a controversial artwork of the album via Instagram on October 21, 2012 and also announced the release date will be December 11. The cover portrays a dark-skinned Jesus in a stained glass window with a teardrop tattoo, a red bandanna around his mouth, and wearing a Jesus piece.[12] The stained glass-inspired image shows Jesus sitting on a throne adorned with gang-related symbols. In the artwork, Jesus is holding a gold "Jesus Piece" chain and pointing to a symbol on his breast plate. The red bandana over his mouth is a reference to the Cedar Block Piru Bloods gang, to which Game is allegedly a member.[13] The artwork has a slightly altered logo on the top, which features on all of Game's previous studio albums. The album's title Jesus Piece is stylized as Je5us Piece, depicting that it is Game's fifth studio album. Je5us Piece logo is styled after the iconic Louis Vuitton. The cover was designed by Mike Saputo. The religious imagery of the art has gained mixed reactions and the ire of some fans who deem the work as blasphemous.[14] Several celebrities praised the artwork, including Busta Rhymes, Mac Miller and Kevin Hart.[15] However, The Game decided to make this cover for the deluxe edition after the Roman Catholic Church complained to Interscope Records about it.[16] Complex named the album cover the fifteenth best cover of 2012.[17] On November 12, an alternative cover for the standard edition of the album was released. This cover paid homage to one of The Game's older brothers, Jevon Danell Taylor, who was shot and killed at the age of 20 on May 21, 1995.[18]

Guests and production[edit]

On October 31, 2012, Game stated that Common, J. Cole, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Future and Young Jeezy would be guests on the album.[19] He also confirmed on his official Twitter account that he had recorded a song with Rihanna. DJ Premier confirmed that he will be working on the album. Game told Rap-Up TV that long time collaborator Lil Wayne will be featuring on the album on more than one record.[20] On September 29, 2012, Game confirmed longstanding collaborator Lil Wayne will be featured on two songs and Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine would also appear.[9] Game said in a Rolling Stone interview, "When everybody hears the Adam Levine record, I think they gonna go crazy". However the song did not make the final track list. On October 18, 2012, Game confirmed, he has worked with Jamie Foxx on the album.[21] In early November 2 Chainz and Meek Mill were also confirmed as featured artists and Game also called the album his 2012 version of Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001 as related to the number of features on the project.[3] Dr. Dre and Dawaun Parker were also confirmed to have production while Kendrick Lamar confirmed to be featured on it.[22]

The album features 24 guest appearances including skits performed by comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Stat Quo sprinkled throughout the album on tracks such as "Church" and "Freedom."[23] Besides the prior names, other guests on the album include Big Sean, Fabolous, King Chip, Trey Songz, Pusha T, Tank and Jeremih. According to the original track listing released by The Game, features also included Wale, Trae tha Truth, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Z-Ro and Scarface. However, the tracks these artists, "Stripper", "Rollin'" and "Murder" were cut from the final album due to sample clearance issues and were instead released as a part of Game's "Sunday Service" free music giveaway.[24]

Promotion[edit]

Game performing at Supafest 2011

Game announced on Twitter that every Sunday leading up to the album that he would drop something new to hold the fans over. All the songs are from the recording sessions for Jesus Piece. On October 28, 2012 he released the highly anticipated remix to "Celebration" featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.[25] On November 4, Game released a leftover track from the album, entitled "Holy Water".[26] On November 11, Game released a track titled, "I Remember" featuring Young Jeezy and Future. The song was released directly as a video and was leaked onto Tyga's mixtape, Well Done 3, but with Tyga's verse replacing Young Jeezy's verse. For the fourth edition on November 18, he released a song entitled "Black Jesus" produced by SAP.[27] The same day he also released "HVN4AGNGSTA" featuring Master P, which was originally supposed to be on Jesus Piece.[28] On November 25, Game released the fifth edition of the series, a song entitled "Stripper" featuring Wale, which did not make the album due to an uncleared sample.[29] In celebration of his birthday, Game released the song, "Judas Closet" on November 30. The song features rapper Nipsey Hussle and production from Timbaland.[30] On December 2, Game released another cut record originally recorded for Jesus Piece, "Rollin'", featuring Kanye West, Trae Tha Truth, Z-Ro, Paul Wall and Slim Thug.[31] On the seventh and final edition of Sunday Service The Game leaked the song "Murder" which features Scarface and Kendrick Lamar. The song was originally to be featured on Jesus Piece however it was cut due to sample clearing problems.[32]

On December 7, 2012, The Game premiered snippets of the album on Big Boi's Neighborhood on Power 106.[33] The weekend before the album release The Game held an album listening session in front of approximately 100 tastemakers, artists, bloggers and writers. In attendance were Stat Quo, Nu Jerzey Devil, Ty$, Clyde Carson, King Chip, Dre of Cool & Dre, Elliott Wilson among others.[34] On December 10, 2012 The Game went onto Howard Stern's radio show to promote the album.[35] The next day he would appear on DJ Skee's radio show to promote the album.[36]

Singles[edit]

"Celebration" is the album's lead single. It was produced by SAP and Cool and Dre.[37] The song features additional vocals from fellow rappers Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa.[38] "Celebration" received its first radio play on Los Angeles' Power 106 on August 22, 2012.[38] The song samples Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's hit single "1st of tha Month".[39] The music video, which was shot in Northridge, CA was released on September 18, 2012.[39] "Celebration" managed to attain chart success, debuting at number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 19 on the Hot Rap Songs chart and number 29 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[40] Game, Chris Brown, Tyga, Lil Wayne & Wiz Khalifa all appear in the video performing their part of the song.[39] Game told MTV that the video was inspired by mentor Dr. Dre's hit single "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" featuring Snoop Dogg. Lil Wayne's contribution earned him his 109th chart entry, surpassing Elvis Presley's record for the most chart entries.[41] Game posted a picture on his Twitter showing the word bone structured with cannabis.[42] Game later confirmed that he is working in the studio with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on a remix for "Celebration".[43] On October 28, 2012, an official remix, featuring all five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was released by Game.[43] It was positively received by the critics.[43]

On October 26, 2012, Game announced the first promotional single from the album, entitled "I Remember".[44] Game revealed that he's enlisted Young Jeezy and Future for guest features on the second single.[44] He explained that the song was originally leaked on Tyga's recent Well Done 3 mixtape, but he plans to release it with a new verse from Young Jeezy attached. Game confirmed that "I Remember", is a street record.[4] Game confirmed that the single will be directly released as a video, and the audio version will be released later.[4] The video was released on November 11, 2012 as the third release in the Sunday Service series.[45]

The week of the album's release the song "All That (Lady)" which features Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Fabolous and Jeremih debuted at number 48 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[46] It had been rumored to be the second single. Then on February 19, 2013 the song was sent to radio as the second official single.[47] The music video for "All That (Lady)" was released on November 1, 2013, Lil Wayne and Fabolous do not make appearances in the video.[48]

In February 2013, The Game shot a music video for the song "Ali Bomaye" which features 2 Chainz and Rick Ross.[49] The video was released on July 2, 2013.[50] "Ali Bomaye" was featured on the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto V.[51] The song has since peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[40]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 66/100[52]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllHipHop 8/10[54]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[55]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[56]
Pitchfork 6.0/10[57]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[58]
Spin 3.5/4 stars[59]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[60]
The Washington Post (favorable)[61]
XXL 4/5 stars (XL)[62]

Jesus Piece received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 66, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 13 reviews.[52]

Artistdirect's Rick Florino praised the album for playing out like a classic Gangster flick, concluding with: "Ultimately, tempering bullet-ridden tales and redemptive prayers, Game unleashes his best work to date and a landmark for hip hop."[63] The Michigan Daily praised the album for its production and guest features and Game for crafting a project that contains substance with its religious theme.[64] Steve Jones of USA Today commended Game for using various flows to tell his stories with spiritual influences.[60] XXL praised the production and content throughout, stating "The Game framed a praiseworthy album blessed with sterling features that imparts many believers’ choice, including his own, to keep their faith without altering their nature."[62] Sarah Godfrey of The Washington Post said the record had "A few songs stray from the main concept, but for the most part, Game's latest effort sticks to its compelling theme and is an interesting look at the religious gray area that lies between wearing a diamond-studded gold Jesus piece around one's neck with little thought to its significance and sitting in church every Sunday."[61] AllHipHop commended The Game for delivering the type of music his fans clamor for, but shifting gears at the appropriate time to stretch his content and show diversity in his lyrics.[54]

Jayson Greene of Pitchfork gave the record a less stellar review putting it down as nothing new from Game and only praising the production and guest list. He did find it less over-crowded than The R.E.D. Album.[57] Phillip Mlynar of Spin commented negatively of the guest features and claimed Game strays from his own concept too often.[59] AllMusic's David Jeffries said that Game managed to deliver his message throughout the album despite it being messy.[55] On December 7, 2012, Game uploaded a screenshot of text messages between him and Dr. Dre on Twitter, where Dr. Dre congratulated and commended Game for the album and specifically praised the song "All That (Lady)."[65]

Sales and accolades[edit]

Jesus Piece was initially expected to sell between 75,000 and 80,000 copies in its first week,[66] but projections increased between 85,000 and 90,000 copies.[67] The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 86,000 copies.[68] It dropped to number 37 in its second week with sales of 35,000 copies.[69] By March 2013, the album had sold 213,000 copies in the United States.[70]

Jesus Piece was ranked third on The Source's annual list of the best rap albums for 2012, behind Nas and Kendrick Lamar.[71] It was also ranked number 45 among the 50 best albums of 2012 by Complex. Insanul Ahmed of Complex said, "the production is on point and Game is compelling when rapping about trying to balance the life as a thug who still believes in God. However, the songs aren't heavy-handed and definitely not preachy. Game works the religious theme into his rhymes effortlessly. Whereas on previous efforts, his occasional church, Bible, and Jesus references went unnoticed, here they add a common thread to the album."[72]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Scared Now" (featuring Meek Mill)
Black Metaphor 4:59
2. "Ali Bomaye" (featuring 2 Chainz & Rick Ross) Black Metaphor 6:12
3. "Jesus Piece" (featuring Common and Kanye West)
3:53
4. "Pray" (featuring J. Cole & JMSN)
Cool & Dre 4:58
5. "Church" (featuring King Chip and Trey Songz) (only featured on Deluxe Edition) K. Roosevelt 6:07
6. "All That (Lady)" (featuring Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Jeremih and Fabolous) Cool & Dre 3:34
7. "Heaven's Arms"
  • Taylor
  • Lyon
  • Valenzano
  • Benton
Cool & Dre 4:05
8. "Name Me King" (featuring Pusha T) SAP 4:01
9. "See No Evil" (featuring Kendrick Lamar and Tank)
4:44
10. "Can't Get Right" (featuring K. Roosevelt)
  • Taylor
  • Lyon
  • Valenzano
  • Moore
Cool & Dre 4:57
11. "Hallelujah" (featuring Jamie Foxx)
Jake One 4:33
12. "Freedom" (featuring Elijah Blake)
Amadeus 5:46
13. "Celebration" (featuring Chris Brown, Tyga, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa)
  • SAP
  • Cool & Dre (add.)
4:48
Total length: 56:30
Notes
  • "Ali Bomaye" & "Freedom" are shortened to 5:21 and 4:45 on the clean version of the album, respectively.
Sample credits
  • "Ali Bomaye" contains a sample of "Seven Devils" by Florence + the Machine.
  • "Pray" contains a sample of "I'm Not Human at All" by Sleep Party People.[74]
  • "All That (Lady)" contains a sample of "Lady" by D'Angelo.
  • "Name Me King" contains a sample of "Breath of Life" by Florence + the Machine.
  • "Hallelujah" contains samples of "We See God With the Eyes of Our Souls" by The Dynamic Reverend Maceo Woods & the Christian Tabernacle Choir.
  • "Freedom" contains a sample of "Say You Love Me Too" by Charles Mann.
  • "Celebration" contains a sample of "1st of tha Month" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
  • "Holy Water" contains a sample of "Changes" by Mala.

Personnel[edit]

Album credits are adapted from AllMusic.[75]

  • Frank Abraham - bass
  • Jericho Adams - publicity
  • Tunji Balogun - A&R
  • Stacy Barthe - background vocals
  • Steve Baughman - mixing
  • Black Metaphor - producer
  • Boi-1DA - producer
  • Matthew Burnett - producer
  • Daphne Chen - violin
  • Lauren Chipman - viola
  • Lincoln Cleary - piano
  • DJ Mormile - A&R
  • Dr. Dre - producer
  • Richard Dodd - cello
  • Todd Douglas - music business affairs
  • BJ Frogozo - marketing
  • Game - executive producer, primary artist
  • Brian "Big Bass" Gardner - mastering
  • Eric Gorfain - guitar, violin
  • Alicia Graham - A&R
  • Kevin Hart - skit
  • Susan Hilderley - music business affairs
  • Jake One - producer
  • JMSN - background vocals
  • Sly Jordan - background vocals
  • Stephen Kozmeniuk - producer
  • Yung Ladd - producer
  • Jonathan Mannion - photography
  • Maven Boys - producer
  • Greg Miller - publicity
  • Malachi Mott - post production
  • Ruben Rivera - mixing assistant
  • Blair Robinson - vocals
  • Don Robinson - marketing
  • Liz Rodrigues - vocals
  • S1 - producer
  • J.Rhodes - producer
  • Jason Sangerman - marketing
  • Kam Sangha - producer
  • Mike Saputo - Art Direction, Design & Illustration
  • Vlad Sepetov - Standard edition cover art
  • Stat Quo - executive producer, skit
  • Shawn Suggs - A&R
  • Antwan "Amadeus" Thompson - producer
  • Andrew Van Meter - producer

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label(s) Formats
Germany[85] December 11, 2012 Interscope Digital download, CD
Australia[86]
Ireland[87]
United Kingdom[88]
United States[89]
Canada[89]

References[edit]

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