Game estimates he’s been pulling all-nighters at a Los Angeles studio for the better part of the last month as he pieces together his forthcoming concept album, Jesus Piece. It’s a matter of hitting a deadline: the West Coast rapper is set to release the album in December, and after scrapping his previous project, F.I.V.E. – he ditched the fifth-album concept after Trey Songz released his own Chapter Five (“I didn’t want to touch that anymore,” Game explains) – the rapper must record the album quickly. “In a little bit short of a month I’ve been able to bring a whole new album to the surface,” he tells Rolling Stone. “We just went hard, man. I’m blessed. It’s crazy.”
Over the past few weeks, the rapper has slowly revealed a slew of big-name artists set to be featured on the follow-up to 2011’s The R.E.D. Album, a list that includes Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Meek Mill and Pusha T. Now the rapper reveals that Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine will also appear on the LP.
“When everybody hears the Adam Levine record, I think they gonna go crazy,” he predicts. Game is hesitant however, to offer up any additional details regarding his unexpected collaboration with the Voice judge.
“I want that to hit people in the face,” he says of the still-under-wraps song. “It’s a real dope record.”
The rapper adds that it was important he have the majority of the artists featured on the album join him for in-studio sessions, as opposed to operating by remote. “About 75 percent of the features were in-studio,” he explains. He recalls “a lot of late nights with Jagermeister and ice and Red Bull,” and says, “That’s the type of artist I’ve always been. I definitely prefer to be in-studio versus sending emails. You just don’t get the vibe.”
Jesus Piece stands as Game’s only concept record to date. The 32-year-old MC, who says an unfortunate by-product of long nights in the studio is less time spent with his three children, describes the album as focusing on the balance between faith and the everyday hustle. (“It’s about still having that belief in God and going through life doing the things that you want to do,” he says of the album. “Me, I still like to hang out, go to strip clubs, smoke.”) Dipping into religious territory, Game says he fully expects to face some flack.
“I definitely know I’m going to catch a lot of shit for this album and a lot of people are gonna be mad,” he says. “But I think more people will appreciate it and more people will be understanding to it. Controversy is not something that I shy away from.”
But carrying out the album’s conceptual theme was a surprisingly simple task. “With the concept album, you kinda know exactly what you need,” he says. “It just makes it easy, because I know exactly what’s not gonna fit and there’s no time wasted.”
He envisions “Celebration,” his recently-released single featuring Lil Wayne, serving as the album’s final track. “After I’ve got everybody listening to this conceptual album, then it’s time to celebrate,” he explains. “What we celebrating with? What we love to do – we smoking weed. We gonna fire one up.”
Nearly eight years removed from his debut LP, The Documentary, Game says he’s now at an enviable point in his career. “I’m just having fun,” he says. “This is who I am these days. I’m still lyrical, a little older, a little wiser. Still got the most hip-hop sense, one of the best hip-hop artists that ever lived. And I’m not losing any momentum. I just want to make good music, and whatever people take from it, more power to them.”