The Twitter world (and possibly the rest of the Internet world real soon) is buzzing about the new cover for Game’s latest album (due in December) called Jesus Piece. As you can see, it’s an image of Jesus wearing an outfit that the Bloods (a gang) normally wear. And as we all know, Jesus and gang violence don’t mix.
Now before we get our panties up in a bunch, let me drop a few notes that you should know. Some background information, if you will.
- I am a huge fan of gangsta rap. Game is one of my favorite artists right now. I’ve even seen him in concert. The guy is dope.
- Game is from Compton, which was one of the most dangerous places in America with constant violence from gangs and corrupt police officers. There are two major gangs — Bloods and Crips — and Game is associated with the Bloods (red).
- Game is an already established rapper and grew fame with help from Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.
- The image of Jesus is that of a black man. Black Jesus is a common moniker/image used in the African-American culture because it portrays that Jesus isn’t just a savior for the white person (which is how media portrays him) but rather he is a savior for all different kinds of people.
- Images of Jesus on rap album covers have been done before.
So now with that information out, let’s actually look at the album cover.
With this stain glass window image, you can see small little images of palm trees (homage to his home), some marijuana leaves (part of his lifestyle), background images of a cross, JP and a diamond (association with Jesus), Jesus himself wearing a red bandana and chain (blood), Jesus being black (Jesus for all), a burning heart (passion), racing flags (don’t know that one) and the album name (Je5us Piece — his fifth album).
Or maybe this album is supposed to be Game as Jesus? Look at his last album cover.
I think one of the toughest things we take in as a society is whenever any image of Jesus is used for promotion. From John Lennon saying The Beatles were more popular than Jesus or even this recent image of Tim Tebow, we have a certain way to react to it.
Some Christians I know will take it literally and get offended by anything that doesn’t put Jesus in a positive light. Others like me take a step back and understand that there is a reason behind every reason we portray Jesus differently.
And that’s where this comes in. What is your image of Jesus? Is he that clean, light-skinned man who was perfect? Or is he a man who represents all of us and understands all sin and is perfect within it?
I don’t believe in using Jesus’ name (and image) in vain. Heck, it’s even mentioned in the Ten Commandments. But there isn’t anything wrong with using Jesus’ name to portray a certain message. And that’s what I see from Game’s new album cover.
The image isn’t telling me that Jesus was part of a gang, wants to shoot people or anything like that. But I see it as a message that Jesus lives with everyone, even with the people who have troubled lives such as being in a gang. (I hope it isn’t saying that Game believe he’s Jesus. Maybe he views himself as a savior to the music world?)
Obviously such a message could have been portrayed better and if I had a choice, I would not have advised Game to use this image. But the more I look at it, the more I feel that it’s something to be appreciated. (Also, the image is creating a buzz, which in the business sense is a great move.)
I wouldn’t say I am 100-percent for the album cover, but I wouldn’t say I am 100-percent against it. But it intrigues me.
Maybe I’m the type of person that welcomes this kind of stuff, thinking outside the box. Maybe that’s why this image doesn’t really shock me. And maybe it’s also because I have followed Game since his debut and I know where he’s coming from.
Game has gone through some ups and downs in life and his passion in his music really relays that message. Not only that, but from his tough upbringing, he sees things that we probably will never understand. So because of that, I can see how such an image of Jesus dressed up as a Blood can resonate with him.
But I do have to caution warning though. This album cover should not cloud what Jesus is really all about. Even though Game is using the image of Jesus to portray an image, it does not mean that Jesus is what Game says he is. Jesus still remains as a loving savior that does not condone gang violence. But where Jesus does come in with gang violence is that he brings hope, salvation and a new path to those seeking ways out.
Maybe down the line I’ll re-think my stance on this and it will change. Maybe it won’t. But I will say that as much potential controversy this album cover is causing, the message is deeper than just buzz on the Internet. And the months leading up to the album — and as well to the actual album’s music — I hope that the message used in association with the album puts Jesus in a positive light.
Or maybe this will help us understand Jesus a little better through the eyes of someone whose journey is completely different from ours.
Regardless, this image has intrigued me and at least in that sense, the image worked. What do you think about this?