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.