joe budden

no love lost  review

Many do not correlate high-concept substance with the current state of rap/hip-hop. New Jersey rapper Joe Budden, of Shady Record’s group Slaughterhouse, bucks this notion with ferocious verbal precision and enriched honesty on his album, No Love Lost. Who says rappers can’t share intrinsic struggles with an audience accustomed to hype and hubris? Budden delivers in spades with a well-rounded entry, shifting in tone and tempo throughout.

Making no apologies, Joe explores the depths of inner struggles residing within. This contemplative album earnestly renders the intensity of a creative mind that dwelled in poverty, addiction, spiritual unrest and civic disarray in contemporary America. The artist weaves words poetically displaying hyper-realized awareness. Tracks Runaway and My Time are odes to this particular talent, serving as musical confessionals, cleansing for an analytical man poised to impart slanted wisdom after many self-imposed failures.

That’s not to say Budden doesn’t showcase the arrogance many rap fans enjoy, as shown on Last Day ,including bravado-personified rappers Juicy J and Lloyd Banks. Wiz Khalifa and French Montana collaborate on NBA, acronym for Never Broke Again. While college students can’t relate to this idea yet, this certified banger plays well on heavy-duty speakers. Allusions to professional athletes, combining double-entendres with real figures are a staple of Budden’s rhymes. Fellow head-nodder She Don’t Put It Down implements a smooth hook with a steady bass line and verse from Lil Wayne. The remix employs the skills of Fabolous and Twista. While not exactly wholesome, there's a time and place for everything.

Skeletons unites fellow Slaughterhouse members Joell Ortiz and Crooked I in an angst-ridden reflection sure to evoke reactions from psych majors. Remaining group member Royce Da 5’9” appears on All In My Head, another introverted expression of ambiguous sanity. Unsettling connotations of Budden’s subject matter are offset starkly, lamenting past relationships with women on You and I and sensitive sensibilities of interaction on Castles. 

No Love Lost concludes with an outro of the same name, furthering convictions of a lyrical poet for the modern era. Street sense and literal elements co-exist in harmony on this group of recordings, dispelling common misperceptions of the genre.