My internet has been out for days, so I apologise for the delay. That being said, hip-hop’s current malaise means even obvious releases like this are completely slipping under my radar. I generally enjoy Game’s material, but even he hasn’t escaped the effects of my boredom with rap as of late.
Nonetheless, it’ll be a project I’m certainly going to give a go, if only for the inevitable handful of car-ready highlights that will emerge. Game’s usual running buddies turn up, alongside some of the newer breed, with features from Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, Nipsey Hu$$le, ScHoolboy Q, Diddy, Elijah Blake and K. Roosevelt amongst many more, whilst the production lineup boasts appearances from Cool & Dre, DJ Mustard and League of Starz. It’s pretty much everything a mainstream hip-hop head needs, and is available to stream and download below.
When popular hip-hop is done well, it’s one of the most fun things you can listen to. Forget hopping on the latest rap trend or production fad; you throw a classically-strong production like this in with carefree lyricism, and you’ve got something far more enduring than whatever the current mainstream hip-hop fascination is.
Whilst I’ve not yet listened to Game’s Jesus Piece album (my backlog is disgusting), the weight of praise that this track got both on the LP’s release and ever since did ensure I gave this track a go several months ago, and it’s good to see Game bring that buzz back up with the video release. It always felt like an effort that suited a nighttime drive in the summer, with completely addictive vocal sample creating a phenomenal atmosphere in the soundscape, adding liveliness and positivity, whilst the surrounding elements help create the thumping hip-hop vibe that make it an essential for the car.
Both the videos timing and content enhance those facets greatly, shot in primarily dark settings that build on the inherent grandeur of the production to add further expansiveness, whilst the uplifting elements of the track are visualised with the more celebratory, lavish scenes. It’s nothing hip-hop hasn’t seen before, but it is a clip that fits the vibe of the audio to a tee, and feels like mainstream hip-hop done properly. Jesus Piece available now.
The context Game applies to the #SundayService audio releases has given this series a nice uniqueness. Each time he’s released a track cut from Jesus Piece (due to sample clearance issues), he’s let fans know where it would have fit in on the album-the artwork here collates the previous two and shows where this track should sit.
It’s a shame this isn’t on the LP, as it’s an enjoyable effort. The soulful production is a real treat, combining a gentle yet slightly uneasy vocal sample with soft wind instruments and crisp percussion for a sharp yet mellow beat. Coming in at just shy of 6 minutes long it’s not rushed either, allowing for somewhat extended verses. Game opens with a focus on the various associations with the song title, whilst he throws in a list of infamous assasinations into the second verse, and Scarface closes with a mix of the Game’s two content choices. Sadly, Kendrick is only on hook duty but this is a good track nonetheless and be sure to grab Jesus Piece tomorrow.
It’s not a Sunday but Game’s kind enough to throw out another freebie, grabbing fellow Californian Nipsey Hu$$le for a welcome assist.
Some of Game’s recent releases have been surprisingly enjoyable, and you can add this one to that list. Admittedly, the Timbaland production isn’t massively spectacular, with the shrill melodies becoming reptitive rather quickly, but the chemistry between Nipsey and Game is what makes this one a keeper. They share the opening verse with a line-for-line delivery that makes for a great listen (why does no-one do that any more?), before each coming through with solid enough verses that complement one another and make the most of an average beat. Seems unfinished as there’s a gap for another verse, but it’s a likeable track that’s worth a couple of plays.
If you’ve ever wondered what sleazy sounds like, Game has just figured that one out for you. Drake (and others) often hover around that border line between being sleazy or just being a ‘player’, but this pretty much leaves that line in the rearview mirror as Game and Wale crank up the seediness for the latest #SundayService instalment.
It’s actually likeable though. The slowed-down, slightly jazzy production makes for a real change for Game, and it’s a welcome one. His naturally rough tones are a great contrast to this softened style of sound, whilst his delivery is adjusted correctly to this near-slow jam style, leaving the aggression he’s normally famed for behind. With that said, his flows have a nice hint of diversity too, with the second verse increasing the tempo slightly and injecting the track with a sprinkling of energy. Wale’s been found on a minimalist beat of this nature before, and hence he takes to it fairly well, though his sharper, nasal delivery doesn’t quite blend with the beat as well as Game’s does. Unfortunately cut from the upcoming Jesus Piece due to sample issues, this is something quite different from Game, and it’s a likeable one.
The third and final release of Game’s #SundayService instalment from yesterday, and just like the previous tracks he’s released that aren’t on the album, this one’s better than the content that actually is on the album.
That largely down to the DJ Premier beat. The soulful sample just engulfs this one, from the vocal work on the hook to the grand, vintage melodies that back Game and P during their verses, whilst Premo’s no slouch with his percussion work and it drives the track along nicely. The lyricism’s as schizophrenic as Game’s opinion on other rappers, adding the occasional and enjoyable moment of self-reflection in with the somewhat tired aggressiveness and arrogance, whilst P’s verse is a nice cameo, if only for the novelty value. This one’s all about the beat, and I’ll be disappointed if better MCs (looking at you Slaughterhouse) don’t give this a go themselves.
One of two more bits Game dropped off yesterday, in addition to Black Jesus, and this one’s the title track from his upcoming album with a couple of big name guests.
Not fair to fully judge based on this short clip, but there’s enough to get a grasp on the song generally. Game once again decides to rap in the style of his feature guest (there are many, many examples), this time utilising Kanye’s preferred type of delivery, and it just sounds a bit stupid as it always does. The production’s got a nice positive vibe to it though, and hopefully that will combine with the features to make the full version listenable.
Game’s #SundayService series rolls on, and this week’s he’s stirring up a little controversy (again) with this effort.
He refers to himself as the ‘young black Jesus’ throughout, and honestly I like the idea purely from a rap perspective, as it’s something a touch different for him and at least allows him to move away from the excessive name drops, if only slightly. With that said, such comparisons are surely going to be viewed as blasphemous by a ton of over-sensitive religious types, which is probably going to give this song a negativity it certainly doesn’t deserve: the production is bright, soulful and generally positive, whilst for the most part Game’s rapping is upbeat and largely inoffensive, though there are moments that’ll get jumped on. Not set for the Jesus Piece LP, but it’s another good buzz builder ahead of an album that many weren’t previously concerned with.
I’m not even remotely excited for Jesus Piece given the weak lead single, no matter how ridiculous the artwork is. Funny then that this cut that hasn’t made the album has piqued my interest.
The production is part-haunting part-thunderous, with a creepy pair of vocal samples stitched to a thumping, slow-moving bass for a top drawer beat that’ll rattle some speakers. It’s the kind of gritty style that Game’s been away from for too long, and is essentially everything Celebration isn’t. Game’s lyricism has never blown anyone’s limbs off and the name-dropping is back, albeit tweaked to list brands and products rather than other rappers, though it doesn’t detract from the strong beat.
The clip itself is strangely watchable, despite never actually going anywhere. At times it offers contextual visuals to the lyricism, whilst at others it opts for gratuitous buttock and product shots, but it’s the unusually slow pacing of the clip that makes it so bizarrely engrossing. Few music videos risk such little action, but credit to Game for utilising the menacing pace of the audio and bringing the video down to a crawl. Grab the audio for free (via Game) here.
After dropping a behind-the-scenes video, a trailer video, a behind-the-scenes of the trailer video, another behind-the-scenes video and probably a video of his cat watching the behind-the-scenes video, Game drops off the actual video for his lead single from Jesus Piece, set to drop in December.
Truthfully, I’m not really into this. It’s good that Game’s trying something a little brighter and more positive, but it just comes off as a poorly-done pop track with little to distinguish it from any other pop rap effort. The Chris Brown hook isn’t massively engrossing, Game’s laidback raps feel a little awkward, and the other three barely make an imprint on the track with their verses. It’s surprising, but Wiz’s minor melodic contribution to this is probably the only memorable part of any of the guest spots.
The video has a nice summer vibe to it, and the sheer positivity of it all is quite infectious, but it’d be far better suited to some audio with a little more meat and less pointlessness.