I never really was a fan of Joe Budden. I never liked his first album, and honestly Joe Budden TV made him seem abrasive and somewhat arrogant. He formed a group with three other artists who were seemingly outcast of Hip-Hop in terms of commercial success. Well funny thing is that my woman is a big fan of him. At first I just kind of ignored all of her attempts to listen to him. In my mind all I could think of when I thought of the kid Joey was that this is the same dude that Raekwon had his homie catch Joe with a quick jab. Well we made a deal and I said I would give him a review if for no other reason than to write a article for the ‘Fro.
Joe Budden comes with the fourth installment of Mood Musik series, which has been an underground success in the eyes of even Budden’s biggest critics. The first thing you will notice from listening to this mixtape is that it sounds more like an album. Every instrumental that he rhymes on are original beats. Does Joe shine on the MixAlbum lets get into it.
Intro (Pray For Them)
Produced by Sean C & LV
Nice way to start off the tape. He rhymes about who he is and how he feels that him being him makes it seem as though he is fake because he is not playing the role everyone is expected to play in the game. He also speaks on his addictions. The beat is kind of gritty and lets Joe’s emotion really take over the track. I’m actually surprised by how good it is to start.
Produced by Fliccs
Another gritty beat but with a very nice sole sample, Joe takes shots at his critics, but not just in the rap game. He also takes some shots at cats who told him he wouldn’t make it.
Produced by Parks Vallely
This is my early favorite. The beat is lighter than the previous efforts. Joe tells us about his life as a step-dad, his feelings about his step-son, how he misses his biological son and disagrees with how he is being raised and how he can understand his step-son’s father. It is actually a really interesting track and quite introspective.
Produced by J. Cardim
This is the first time that J. Cardim lends to the production on the album thus far but it definitely not the last. J. Cardim makes five appearances on this body of work and this track got me excited for the next helping of production from J. This is Joe Buddens best Ed Lover impression. It is his “C’mon Son” to things he just finds unbelievable. He drops some really nice lines on this track too.
Come along, co-co-come, Come along
I don’t call them verses, they similar to poems
Similar to scriptures
Similar to pictures
You can stick to rap what we doing is much bigger
Mop Salad (Skit)
Produced by Karon
I normally listen to skits one time and keep it pushing afterwards, never listening to them again. This one is hilarious though. I cannot possibly understand why this was put on the album except for the LMAFO quality of it.
Featuring Crooke I; Produced by J. Cardim
This is another track by J. Cardim. It has a very big feel. At this point of the album you will appreciate how well the album flows. This is the first feature on here as well made by Crooked I. Both have some great lines on this one.
So I go and scoop a mami that wanna come join the army
She was so militant, disciplined and diligent
So I whispered to her bet you wouldn’t mind chillin it
I got to know her on my sofa
I gave her my honorable discharge and she took it like a soldier – Joe
They hit me with everything but the kitchen sink
How ironic, same place I vomit when I liquor drink
Apparently I need to get a shrink
How can therapy take care of me when I don’t give a fuck what niggaz think – Crooked Eye
Dessert 4 Thought
Featuring Styles P & Pusha T; Produced by David “Boom” Pinks
I know this is going to sound odd, but this might be the first time I realized how tight Styles P is. He definitely had the best verse on this one. All three had nice verses though, plus the beat really mixes with Ps voice better. Another dope record. Side Note: I definitely understand why Joe Budden has not blown up commercially. He states it himself on this one. He asses himself as someone who “should treat me like royalty/Last of a dying breed that puts money and power behind loyalty”. How real is that?
Produced by Beewirks
Joe has showed his talent when it comes to storytelling. This is a track with a Rock N Roll feel. The song is about people in his life who switch the character as soon as times get difficult.
Featuring MeLa Machinko; Produced by Beewirks
The production is a little melodic on this one, yet it works because of the subject matter. This is Joe speaking on his friends who have stuck with him through the tough times. You can tell he really appreciates the people in his life on this one. The most emotional verse was the second one where he talked about the death of his mother.
I mean…She was on the phone tryin’ to sound relaxed
But the words comin’ out her mouth ain’t have the sound to match
Voice tremblin’ as if you were barely holding on
Meanwhile trying to be strong to protect your second born
Shit was scary to me, if something happened to you
What’ll happen to us, like I’m living vicariously
I seen your life flash, right past, my reaction buried deep inside
If you go, they’ll have to bury me alive
In the third verse he talks about a break up. Could it be about O’girl who blew up after being on Budden TV?
Is It The Shoes (Skit)
Another hilarious skit. Joe might change my mind when it comes to skits
Remember the Titans
Featuring Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, & Royce da 5’9″; Produced by J. Cardim
All of these cats brought their A Game but Royce got it on here. Great track!
Produced by J. Cardim
This is song finds Budden speaking about the hardships of being famous. He speaks on the difficulties of dealing with fans and critics alike.
How can the fans think us rappers are invincible
Can’t find anything about that logic that’s sensible
I’m thinkin they should know better off of principle
To them we’re action heroes, to labels we’re Expendables
Welcome To Real Life
Featuring Emany; Produced by Frequency
Joe gets into another story with a nice laid back track delivered yet again from Emany. All three verses are different stories. The first is about Joe running into a young man adopted, who feels like his real parents never loved him, the next is about a young woman who is caught up in the fast lifestyle, the last is about a young man who has a troubled past yet keeps fighting through adversity until he succeeds ultimately. He shows his ability to tell stories is equaled to a very few in Hip-Hop.
Produced by Megaman & Zalezy
Remember I told yall that “Role Reversal” was my favorite track thus far, NEVERMIND. This track accents Joeys voice perfect and the emotion on this track is overwhelming at times. Not only that, but I understand why it seems as though he is cocky sometimes, he has a right to be. Lyrically he demolishes this record.
Shifted me to my epitome, guess the curse is a gift to me
Maybe its serendipity, maybe it’s weighing on me physically
Maybe I should man up and tell GOD not to solicit me
Been medicated, meditated
Character assassinated, all these years I masqueraded
Hard headed, if it was on my mind I had to say it
Tongue on the devil’s pitchfork to see how disaster tasted
Rap is fabricated, rappers are so exaggerated
Wouldn’t be scared of the truth if they weren’t castrated
Grab a mag, spray it, surrounded by people to shoot it before me
Better unconditionally love my beautiful ugly
What! This cat is nice.
Follow My Lead
Featuring Joell Ortiz; Produced by J. Cardim
This production is good but nothing really memorable comes from Joey’s verse. Maybe its because it comes after such a lyrical song that it doesn’t grab me but it doesn’t.
Stuck In the Moment
Featuring Emany; Produced by Just Blaze
Just Blaze delivers a nice track to Joe here. It conveys the ending of something monumental. This track probably would have been the perfect track to end the album with. Either way the song is dope Emany is on the hook, or Joe uses his two verses to talk about being grateful for what he does have and reminiscing. He raps:
I embrace life, I’m so carefree
I won’t judge y’all if you don’t care to be
Just know no matter who you are, the right system
Can turn a role player into a superstar
If All Else Fails
Produced by Nascent, QB, & Gab Parker
On the last track of the MixAlbum we find Joey guessing what his life would be like had he not made it to where he is in the rap game. The beat is a little up tempo as opposed to the last few tracks, and is a pretty nice way to close out this body of work.
My girl was right. Joe Budden is a serious Emcee. The weakest thing with the project may be the production. Not that the production was bad, but Joe doesn’t falter with the lyrics too often on hear. This is one of those projects that is called a Mixtape, yet in reality it could have easily been an album. No different than J. Cole’s The Warm Up or Drake’s So Far Gone. He put out what may be considered the best mixtape of the year.