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Game face: Rap, religion and reality TV

With full-length 'Jesus Piece' dropping, the L.A. rapper revels in multi-tasking

By Kathy Iandoli
Special to MSN Music

©Interscope
Game (©Interscope)

Born Jayceon Taylor, provocative rapper Game has taken a new direction with his fifth studio album, "Jesus Piece." The new full-length has strong religious undertones, yet Game is not overt about his relationship with God. The Los Angeles native just wrapped the first season of his new reality show, "Marrying the Game," and his main focus is on fatherhood and making music.

MSN Music spoke with Game the day after his birthday as he was getting a tattoo from the famous Kat Von D. She was painfully etching a Jesus piece into his back, while he calmly spoke of his latest album with the same name. He says he's in a very good place in his life, and he talks about counting his blessings and how 2013 may mark the year we formally watch him on the silver screen.

MSN Music: In between "LAX" and "The R.E.D. Album," you took a big break, but then you jumped right into "Jesus Piece." What made you shorten the break this time?

Game: Well, in between "LAX" and "R.E.D.," my daughter was in [her mother's] stomach and then she was born. When you have a girl, it changes your life. I spent a lot of time nurturing her, watering the seed and watching her grow. Once she got [to be] about 1 year old, I got back to work, and that's when "The R.E.D. Album" surfaced. Now that she's 2, it's easy. She can talk and really understand and just relate to everything. She's so cool now that she's 2. I can get back to work because I don't have any babies. When she was a baby, there was still parent duty. So there were those late nights, waking up, the crying, diapers, bottles, you know. I'm always involved with that aspect of my kid's life. From the time that they're born up until the time when they're potty-trained. It's really hands-on for me. That's why it was such a long delay.

Why did you decide to make the project God-themed?

Jesus is all around us, right? It's just simple. For the last couple years of my life, I've been trying to find a balance between my music and the streets, my family and friends, my children and religion. You want to be wholesome and you want to be this great person, but at the end of the day, you don't want to necessarily stop smoking weed or stop turnin' up in the club, drinking and just having a good time. So it's just a balance. These are some of the topics that I touch on the album. With good ol' hip-hop, and a bunch of guest features, good hooks and good beats. That's pretty much the gist of it.

How much did you record, since you have the album and the "Sunday Service" releases?

You know what? I can record up to about anywhere from three to five songs a night, so I pretty much got a good rapport with all the producers that I work with. So even if a song does or doesn't make the album, I'll just holler at the producer and, you know, the "Sunday Service" series has gotten pretty big. A lot of producers that didn't make the album are pretty much cool with me dropping [tracks]. Like DJ Premier. He'll never just let you throw his music out on the Internet, but me and him got a cool friendship and he appreciates my music. Even though he went to Europe and he didn't get to mix the song in time for the album, we put it out there. So that's what happens to all the extra music, which is cool.

Bing: More on Game

How did you get Bone Thugs-N-Harmony all together on the "Celebration" remix?

Number one, I stole the track from them. The original "Celebration" was "First of the Month," and of course I had to pay homage. My fans wanted me to, but I was already going do that anyway. It was dope to get in the studio with those five guys and see if they still were capable of really spitting the way that they're known for spitting. So having them was really a favor to me and not them, and I'm just really appreciative. Between me, management and Steve Lobel from their camp, we were able to track down them down. It was difficult because they're not roaming around all together as a group these days, as one band or on a tour bus. They all live in different places, so we had to track them down one by one and then get them all here. We had Roscoe's, we smoked a little bit, we had drinks. Then we turned it into a good night. I just feel like every time I'm with Bone Thugs -- whatever member or all five of them -- you can just feel Eazy's presence in the room. We end up having these conversations about Eazy, and me growing up idolizing him, and them idolizing him and direct descendants of Eazy. So that was cool.

You look really happy with your photos on your Instagram page, like you're really happy, in a really good place.

I'm Charlie Sheen'in. I can't complain about s---. I'm having it my way. My finances are above and beyond, the investments are good, my kids are good, they're doing good in school. They're healthy, they're growing, they're beautiful. All of my friends are happy and in a good space. I got this reality show going, I got the album going. I got just so many things to be proud of and so many things to be happy for, so if I frown, then that's me being selfish to myself. I just want to be happy and chill.

Do you think you're going to attack Hollywood next?

In 2013, I'm it. I'ma start reading scripts hard and start going there for these screen tests and killing them. Number one, because I can really actually act. People always say that. Like, "Game, you're a really good actor. You should get back into movies!" Even if they didn't, I know, because I know what I bring and I know what I apply. I just want to challenge myself and don't want to always be playing a street role or nothing like that. So in 2013, I'ma try to dive back into that lane.

Kathy Iandoli has written for publications including The Source, YRB, BUST, XXL,VIBE, RIME and Vapors, and her work has appeared online at MTV, AOL and MSN Music sites. She is the former Alternatives editor of AllHipHop.com and the current music editor of HipHopDX.com.

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