Artist: Joe Budden
Album: All Love Lost
Release Date: October 16th 2015
Next Show: October 9th A3CFestival.com
Editors Note: The Album arrangement I received is different than the final version. Sorry about that mix-up, otherwise, enjoy.
After my first listen to ‘All Love Lost’, I found myself listening to Joe Budden’s debut Album, as well as Escape Route & Padded Room all over again. My question to myself was: “Is it possible that he topped the original album that reached out and got my attention and every other?” His self-titled debut, was the one album that made him one of my favorite rappers to look out for? For all intents and purposes I suspect this to be Joe Budden’s last solo album and to properly give background on the end, I’ll give you a quick glimpse into the beginning…
If you’re a follower of mine in any extended capacity you know the story. I left Philly in 2003. 2002-2003 was a rough time. Many friends going to jail, worried about the alphabets knocking kicking in the door at the early hours of the morning. Worrying about being ratted on. My dad being ratted on and in jail for previous charges (not what he’s in for currently).. Before I left up north, I made the rounds to tie up loose ends. One of which was in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I stopped by the Best Buy in Holyoke Mall to cop some new music for the ride back to Philly and I took one of the rican cats with me. He immediately said “Cop that Joe Budden, he has a song on there called 10 minutes and it’s actually good for the entire 10 minutes. Matter of fact, the whole album real good.” I copped that and a few other joints.. However, that trip down I-91 to I-95 was where Joe Budden gained a new fan, A mix of “Walk With Me”, “Calm Down” & “Stand Up Nucca” stood out that whole ride.
Over the years, through Mixtapes and albums Joe never really outright let me down musically, until ‘No Love Lost’. At that point, ALL love was lost. 10 years later from the moment Joe Budden reached through the speakers and spoke to my soul, musically, he went full “industry nigga” and EVERYONE knows you don’t go full “Industry nigga.” He abandoned what he was for what the industry thought he should be. No one in their right mind, hypebeast or not, could’ve thought that Joe Budden and Lil Wayne being on the same song, was a bright idea. Same thing with Joe Budden & French Montana. What for? I often find myself asking: Why is Kirko Bangs even allowed to record, let alone do music & why the fuck would Joe say “Yanno, someone call Kirko.” It was as if the Shady deal changed him. I watched the people on social media who were fans, suddenly abandon him, the same way he musically & quite frankly, emotionally, abandoned them. I always said “Mood Muzik is perfectly titled, because if you can tap into the deepest emotions of people, you control the people.”
With all that said, I tuned into ‘All Love Lost’ expecting more industry bullshit and the melodic struggles of a rapper who missed his moment, yet, still trying to re-invent all that he had missed, with another less-than-mediocre effort like the previously released “No Love Lost.” Coincidentally he addresses that in the intro/title track where name drops many of the features on that shit storm of a project with bars like; “They didn’t want to hear me happy/ nah, they looking for hurt Joe/ they’ll hate it before they hear it, if they think it’s commercial.” Which, in part is true. Whenever Joe tend to venture into the realm of commercialism, it tends to be almost cringe-worthy. By the time you get to the electric guitar on the title track you catch yourself wondering if you’re getting a glimpse into “The Old Budden” or the last bit of greatness from “An Old Budden.” This record has that nostalgic Budden feel where a young aware kid in the hood will sing along with the hook & thinks “He’s talking that shit!” Perfect intro to activate the theater of ones mind on this shared journey into the mind of Joe Budden.
‘Broke’, for me takes a slight step back. Budden sounds a little more nasally than normal and it gives me that “Love The Way You Lie” Eminem feel. One of those songs that have single potential, that will likely land in films and on TV, but as far where it stands with me, it’s not a top 5 song on this album. In the grand scheme, it’s placement is perfect. Get it out of the way early, because the album only goes up from here.
‘Unnecessary Pain’ in a way, is an Necessary pain. I personally wished he completely refrained from discussing women on this album (that’s how great my disdain has become for the “Sucka For Love” version of Joe), however, it wouldn’t be a Budden album if he didn’t discuss his failed relationships here and there. I put my personal bias aside and made it past the first few bars and got to hear his frustration with pursuing his “true love” which is Hip Hop as well as reference to being near the end of this journey.
While ‘Playin Our Parts’ and ‘Immortal’ are very much the quality album builders, neither matches the passion he has on ‘Slaughtermouse’. Where he addresses his relationship with, lack thereof and desire for more of one, with Eminem. Which is funny because I can see many of his cult followers expressing similar feelings towards him. He expresses his love for his Slaughterhouse brethren as well answers many questions for the fans of the Slaughterhouse collective. You’d be hard pressed to find a rap fan who can dislike this record and likely won’t find a Budden fan who dislikes this record at all. At this point, which is the midway point of the album, it hits you that this Budden is the one you’ve went to bat for on many occasions. You realize he’s regained his focus and passion somewhere.
In what’s possibly a perfectly sequenced album, ‘Man Down’ follows ‘Slaughtermouse’ and to be quite honest, it’s audio alpaca. It doesn’t allow you to come down from the high that is Slaughtermouse. In fact, It’s better than ‘Slaughtermouse’, I’d like to call it ‘Walk With Me II’, a modernized and slowly, cooked-to-perfection, version of a fan favorite from his debut album. I’ve honestly probably played ‘Man Down’ 30-40 times already. It’s a perfectly crafted song that addresses public perception of him, friendships as well as relationships, over very cinematic production where the strums of the electric guitar sits you in Joe Budden’s chair which allows you to feel some of the emotion he feels and see some of the things he sees.
‘Make It Through The Night’ features the long-awaited Joe Budden & Jadakiss collaboration. I personally would’ve preferred it be on something much more rugged, however this record works. It smooths the listen and your emotions out, without sacrificing what is thus far, a quality project.
‘Love, I’m Good’ can arguably make the case as the best record on the album. He discusses his love for music, his son & a woman in what is the most passionate record on the album. It’s a record that humanizes one of Hip Hop’s bad guys. It makes you want to sit down and question him just to make sure he’s ok. Moreover, once again, it’s a song that reminds you of how an why, people found them strongly aligned with Joe Budden. It’s not that his burdens are greater than every other man or woman’s, it’s that many are barely holding it together themselves while sharing much of the same pain. Allegiance can be found in shared struggle & once again with much of this album, he hits the sweet spot where new fans will be found.
‘Where Do We Go From Here’, ‘All For You’ and ‘Only Human’ fortifies what is a very good Joe Budden album. In fact, what is his best album. I called Joe a “sucka for love” in my previous write up because quite frankly he allowed the relationship shit and his love life steer the course of his craft for far too long. Mood Muzik 2 which can be argued as his best work, wasn’t littered with a bunch of emotional, overly redundant relationship shit. He was rapping his ass off. More recent he let the highlights and lowlights of his personal life affect him in and out the booth and I, personally got tired of his shit.
Joe Budden recently disclosed that he hasn’t been in a relationship in about a year and coincidentally, he creates his best mainstream body of work. While he may not be a sucka for love any longer, it’s clear that his personal life was having a negative effect on his craft. People often mistake “heartbroken” Joe Budden music for the good stuff. When it’s not. Joe Budden gained his fan base by being someone they could relate to. Struggles with addiction, suicidal thoughts, friendships, family, enemies. When kids say “Joe Budden saved my life” they’re not saying it because they could relate to a voluptuous vixen breaking their heart. However, for the longest, the “Mood God” lost his way. Likely in the ass cheeks of a stripper or the bosom of a bartender.
There’s really no middle lane for Budden, people who only know him for ‘Pump It Up’ and news headlines, who will wonders why anyone is still a fan. Then there’s others who are actual fans of music and realizes he’s one of hip hop’s greatest talents. There will forever be flaws on both sides of the debate as well as people who are right in what they feel.
The good news for the Budden cult and bad news for the opposition is on October 16th, many who are fans of Budden will be back singing his praises…. “All Love Lost” will most definitely help him regain whatever was and even more. In his last at-bat, he pulled off a walk-off homer. With what was a tumultuous (solo) career, this is a great, likely ending.
Hits: Love, Im Good – Slaughtermouse – Man Down – Only Human
Misses: “Fuck Em All”… the one track that was missing from the album I have. (However, taking that record off or leaving it on, doesn’t really change what this album is. Pretty damn good.)
Writing this review was a tough draw. I actually didn’t want to for a multitude of reasons. I do stand by my opinion on this album. Budden fans & stans, when you get your hands on the project, I’m willing to bet you feel the same.