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Joe Budden Reviews

Joe Budden – No Love Lost album review

Joe Budden displays significant evolutionary change with his new LP, “No Love Lost.” The album, which carries 17 tracks, debuted at number 15 on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 30,000 copies in the American market. Compared to his projects of year’s past, Budden is showing off, or at least making one hell of a leap towards progress. To put it plainly, this is Joe’s tour de force; his out of body experience; his beacon of irrefutable redemption; and his dry middle-finger to all naysayers, past and present. This go round, Budden’s lyrics cut like machetes to cray paper. His delivery is prismatic and hard-hitting. And like a runaway train bulling through a narrow playground, Joe fiercely rattles off verse after verse throughout the album’s entire 70+ minutes. It sounds as if his mouth is a fully-loaded assault riffle in the hands of a maniac.

From a technical standpoint, “No love Lost” remains solid. The music exemplifies crayon-like diversity, offering a playful, yet brazenly raw blend of bells, whistles, thumps, thuds, metronomes and loud bangs. The result of such amalgamation is a bold imagining of street-lyricism with a futuristic twist. Your ears will be pleased, despite murmurs of the contrary by a surprising number of fans and critics. That’s not to say the album is without spots. In fact, Joe and company fall short of the goal line on several possessions. Nevertheless, the content overall is forward-moving.

But wait, there’s more.

Like a ball player desperate to raise his game to the next plateau, Joe seems intent on continuously adding new wrinkles to his offensive playbook. For instance, the days when he would slow down his prose so our brains could keep up are long behind him. Since his inception into hip-hop, Budden has always faced questions about how he stacks up against the competition. The jury may still be out in that respect, but one thing is now transparently clear: In a cypher, ain’t nobody fucking with Joe, end of discussion. Nowadays, he spews rampant cannon-fire with effortless flair. Play All in My Head on the album, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a clearer example of top-shelf vernacular.

Also to Budden’s credit, only hard metal constitutes his chain of collaborations on “No love Lost”, which include contributions from Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, who remains damaged goods, Kirko Bangz, Lloyd Banks, Twista, Fabolous, Omarion, Tank (the only vocalist), and of course, his Slaughterhouse brethren, among others.

In that many of the aforementioned artists suckle on the teat of mainstream success, one might assume Joe is steadily inching away from his underground roots toward the shallow end of the pool. And though most of the songs on the album fail to scratch the proverbial surface, Joe often acquiesces to his nature of being sincere, organic, forthcoming and simply put—blunt, even in the midst of pretentious folly.

Continued thoughts…

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Articles Joe Budden

Joe Budden: New Album, New look, New Sound

“Why time heals all wounds, even those of a struggling rap career”

During an interview late last fall, Budden again demonstrated his readiness to compromise false appearances in the name of keeping it 100.

“For me, it’s been a long, long journey. I’ve met a lot of people, some I’ve pissed off,” he explained. “I’ve been public about some things, I’ve been immature, I’ve been a dickhead, and some people have been those things to me. The title [of the album] just symbolizes being in a real state of happiness. I don’t have any malice toward anyone, no grudges, just being in a real pain-free type of state. I wouldn’t say free of pain, but a different type of pain. It’s like a new Joe Budden.”

For example, in one of his cuts, “My Time,” Joe candidly reflects on the peaks and valleys he’s traveled throughout his roller-coaster of a career. In fact, conceptually, each song on the album represents a different shade of Joe’s inner-spectrum:

Joe Cool
Slaugtherhouse’s chief ambassador switches gears on, “She don’t put it down like you” (track 3). Budden rarely, if ever, opts for the “grown and sexy” approach. But who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Over a chorus line that melts like butter, Joe gushes over the superior lovemaking ability of one specific girl in comparison to another. Fabolous provides additional insight, followed by Lil Wayne’s bizarrely crude interpretation of the subject—surprise! Tank—not the actual machine but the R&B singer—delivers the hook (and essentially saves the day). Despite underwhelming verses from all but Joe, the song, provided you listen to it with a partner in bed, has legitimate baby-making potential (as if the tile wasn’t enough of a clue). The remix aint’ half bad either (track17). It features Twista, so if nothing else, at least you’ll be occupied with trying to comprehend what he’s saying.

Broadway Joe
Budden gets lordly in his bombastic ode to sustained wealth, “NBA (Never Broke Again).” Despite predictable basketball references, lewd female objectification and shameless braggadocio (what else is new?), this song is without question a slam dunk (hey, when in Rome). To the tune of resounding bass and triumphant horns, Whiz Khalifa gets the ball rolling (no pun intended) by expounding on what he knows best—counting money and smoking inconceivably large quantities of California bud. Joe also chips in with several lines of uninhibited self-bravado. And not to be outdone, French Montana brings up the rear with a little boasting of his own. The hook pretty much sums up the rest (‘Bitch I’m ballin’, bitch I’m ballin’. Racked up no wallet. Keep a bad bitch on my team. I should join the league). Enough said.

Joe Street
In his 4th track ,“Last Day,” Joe takes your ears and drags them through the filth and grime of the streets in Jersey. His lyrical onslaught is punctuated by a collision of hammering drums, fluttering high-hat combinations and raging outbursts of whimsical, yet ominous measures of synth. Simply put, Joe rhymes angry—very angry. He, in fact, sounds as if hip-hop owes him an apology for being ignored all these years. Juicy J tries his hand at being gangster (to no avail). And Lloyd Banks emerges from obscurity to complete the trifecta.

“No love lost” is a good, hard listen. Enjoy.