Over the course of the last few years, Joe Budden may have become more notable for his antics on reality television, and his frequent appearance on many gossip sites that feed off of salacious hearsay, than for his music. With all of the noise that has surrounded him, it’s been quite difficult for his music to stand on it’s own. However, Budden has returned with a quality project, All Love Lost, in tow, and a renewed sense of passion in his craft.
All Love Lost is the latest installment in Joe Budden’s ‘Love Lost’ series. These albums have given his fans a close look into all parts of his life- from failed relationships, to dysfunctional family ties, to a look into the deep recesses of his mind where he once contemplated suicide. This range of feeling is delivered in the form of thought provoking bars that pay homage to an era where there was a premium placed on the depth of your content.
Currently, Joe’s career is in an interesting place. Budden has been a hip-hop mainstay since his days in Def Jam during their apex years in the budding 2000’s. While many have him pigeon-holed as the “Pump it Up” emcee, Budden’s emotion-laden lyricism has etched out a strong fanbase that continues to fuel the latter part of his career. Joe’s made no secret of his disputes with his label. While they have attempted to push him towards having a more commercial sound and message, his core fans believe that he should stick to his underground roots and forsake the allure of the added responsibilities and benefits that come with being a major label artist.
In conjunction with his solo career, Budden also divulges his feelings in regards to his group, Slaughterhouse, and their founder, the legendary Eminem. On the track “Slaughtermouse,” Joe holds no punches and candidly expresses himself to Em and all of the other members of the group. While many have taken to likening the track to a diss record, the song is just a man being painfully honest about his frustrations with himself and the crew that he has chosen to align himself with.
In relation to the current state of hip-hop, Budden isn’t pleased at all. As he routinely states in his weekly podcast, I’ll Name This Podcast Later, Joe believes that this generation of rappers lacks the creativity and the respectability that was commonly practiced by it’s predecessors. While this argument runs the fine line of sounding dated, Budden manages to come off as a concerned elder statesman, and not an old man raging against the machine.
One thing that stood out throughout the course of the album was how much of a New York sound Budden managed to fit into the project. For years the absence of the New York sound has had a negative impact on the growth of the art. It isn’t uncommon to find your favorite current NY rapper using a Southern accent, Southern slang, or choose to rap over a Southern beat. As the new age of rappers hailing from The Big Apple seem to searching for their own sound, Budden may have found a new lane for them to use.
With the exception of “Slaughtermouse,” the best tracks on the album are usually when Joe forces himself to take a look in the mirror and be honest with himself. The moments where Budden shines the brightest come when he rhymes about himself at his lowest points. His raps seem to be therapeutic to him, and also serve to give him a closer link to his fans who may have overcome the same hurdles of depression, self consciousness, and even relationship struggles. While he lays all of his heartbreak and pain on the mic, one can’t help but respect the man for the craftsmanship of his work, and the beauty in his story.
All Love Lost is an excellent body of work that serves to inspire, and show the listener all of the missteps that Budden has made over the course of his life and career. However, in these mistakes lie important life lessons and cautionary tales that stick with you long after the music fades. If Budden keeps this up, he may start to dispel the misconceptions about rappers who appear on reality TV.
Purchase All Love Lost via iTunes.
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