Joe Budden has no qualms about living his life in the public eye. He has been assaulted by Wu Tang affiliates live on Ustream, has talked openingly about his drug addiction, and has put his love life with various urban models on full display (Even more so recently now that he’s a reality star on Love & Hip Hop). Don’t think Joe is doing all this because he doesn’t have skills; he is a talented lyricist in his own right. More recently he had spent time as part of the supergroup Slaughterhouse, but Budden hasn’t given up on his solo efforts. Let’s see how he does with his 3rd official outing entitled No Love Lost.
1. Our First Again (Intro)
Produced by SLV
On the first track on the album, Joe Budden doesn’t rhyme. What he does do is recite a prayer towards the end. It’s the Serenity Prayer that most use in 12 step programs or Alcoholics Anonymous so it makes sense with the title “Our First Again”; starting over.
2. Top Of The World
Featuring Kirko Bangz; Produced by Mizfitz Soundz
To start off the album, Joey gives us a glimpse of his life which is apparently filled with bad bitches and threesomes. Great life right? This beat actually reminds me of something Drake would have rapped on a few years ago. Speaking of Drizzy, if you can’t get him on a hook, you immediately call Kirko Bangz. No complaints though because it fits.
3. She Don’t Put It Down
Featuring Lil’ Wayne & Tank; Produced by T-Minus
I remember last year when Budden previewed this song and cut it off when Weezy’s part came up. It was weird to me because at one point in time almost any notable rapper could get a verse from Lil’ Wayne. With that being said, “She Don’t Put It Down” is a song made to get played on the radio and in that aspect it works because it’s catchy. Budden & Wayne turn in radio friendly verses and that Tank hook will get stuck in your head.
4. N.B.A. (Never Broke Again)
Featuring Wiz Khalifa & French Montana; Produced by Vinylz & Boi-1da
This song is strange because everybody here sounds at home on this beat except Budden. And that’s on top of a song that’s boring already. You got Wiz & French Montana here but it feels like they are on everybody’s song these days. Plus using the acronym “N.B.A.” is sorta lazy.
5. You And I
Featuring Emanny; Produced by Cardiak & Kdotonthebeat
For whatever model Joe Budden is dating right now, this is the song that he’s playing for her. But before we start making jokes about Joey being pussy whipped (he says “I love you” at the end of each verse), this song is actually well done. Good instrumentation on the production, a hook that is performed well by Emanny, and lyrics that would make LL Cool J proud:
I done some shit to some that I would never do to you
Cause some were tailor made but still wasn’t suitable
Come to yours I see why you be elusive
Some took advantage off you, some were intrusive
Some put they hands on you, some were abusive
Most cheated on you must they think you were exclusive
Produced by Vinylz
I think this song shows a version of Joe Budden that his diehard fans would recognize. He has a talent for taking an emotion and expanding on it. For this song the emotion is paranoia on who is his real friends (“You there when it’s bright, better be there when it’s dark”). With only 2 verses and basically no hook, Joe gets his points across and makes a good song.
7. All In My Head
Featuring Royce Da 59 & Kobe; Produced by Cardiak
Anytime I see more than one Slaughterhouse member on a track, I immediately want a hard edged beat with crazy bars being thrown around. This isn’t that. Not to say it’s bad though. Joe & Royce do a good job talking about inner problems and what not, but I’d just rather here them destroy a track. “All In My Head” was also on Joe’s mixtape A Loose Quarter from 2012.
Featuring Joell Ortiz & Crooked I; Produced by Frequency
Let me quote myself from the song above: “Anytime I see more than one Slaughterhouse member on a track, I immediately want a hard edged beat with crazy bars being thrown around. This isn’t that.” Actually, track 7 & track 8 share the same subject matter; they could have just combined the songs. The hook could have been a little less pop.
9. Ghetto Burbs
Featuring Emanny; Produced by Sean C & LV
First off, “Ghetto Burbs” is a terrible name for a song. It makes sense because the song talks about Joe being in between bourgie & ghetto, but the name is still terrible. Two other things hurts this song though: it has wack production (I would expect better from Sean C & LV) and a even wacker hook (What is this Staying Alive?). Skip!
10. Last Day
Featuring Juicy J & Lloyd Banks; Produced by A6
I remember during a Slaughterhouse interview, Budden said he wanted to do a song with Juicy J. This has to be the song right? I almost feel the same way about “Last Day” like I did with “N.B.A. (Never Broke Again)” but this time the only person that sounds comfortable is Juicy J. Bad use of ‘screwed’ on the hook too.
11. Role Play (Interlude)
Produced by SLV
This may sound perverted, but I give a pass to any skit that has simulated sex. Blame Biggie for that. This one is funny too. “Big Sean in this pussy! Oh God!”.
12. Switch Positions
Featuring Omarion; Produced by Cardiak
If you can’t tell by the song title and the Omarion feature, this whole things alludes to sexual positions. To be real, the instrumental could be reissued for a R&B song with no problem (It wouldn’t be a great R&B song but still…). This song is paint by numbers “sexy for the ladies” that end up on most rap albums these days. But hey, it’s not meant for me anyway.
13. Tell Him Somethin’
Featuring & Produced by SLV
What the difference between a Joe Budden song that features Emanny and a Joe Budden song that features SLV? Nothing because SLV is in fact a group consisting of Budden & Emanny (*Shrugs*). I also realized that the sex skit a track or so ago must have been a signal that this is a the “sexy for the ladies” portion of the album. Maybe writing about this song at 2am in a dark apartment isn’t the best setting. I will say that if I had a lady over and this song came on, I wouldn’t jump up and change the song because it’s on some straight slow jam shit with not much rapping. Especially if she had a boyfriend; it’d be perfect then.
Produced by Beewirks
I feel a few ways about this song. On the good side, it’s really personal. It has Joey once again talking about his addiction problems in a honest way you have to appreciate (Today it takes all the strength I have inside for me to avoid the rush). But on the other side, I thought I was gonna hear Taylor Swift or Creed on the hook and who I did hear on the hook wasn’t much better. Now if you like Taylor Swift or Creed on your rap songs then this one is for you. I personally don’t so I’m quickly moving on to the next song.
15. My Time
Produced by Darknight & 8 Bars
If the last song was describing Joe’s lows with addiction issues, this song is him after he got past that. The production matches this because as it feels triumphant and goes well with the lyrics:
We all got demons, a few I rivaled
Looked em in the eye, and they became suicidal
They thought it couldn’t happen, they were too prideful
His head’s an ornament on the wall as proof I survived you
On first listen I could have done without the hook, but eventually it grew on me. After a few tracks about his lows, this track makes sense in it’s position.
16. No Love Lost (Outro)
Produced by Cardiak & Kdotonthebeat
There was a lotta instrumentation on this album but this track feels like it finally matched Joe Budden’s flow (Damn shame it’s on the outro). Joe gives us two verses about getting past struggles and doubters while also building on the album’s title (No Love Lost). Not a bad ending.
17. She Don’t Put It Down (Remix)
Featuring Fabolous, Twista, & Tank; Produced by T-Minus
On any other album this would be a bonus track and this probably should be. Same as the original but with verse from Fabolous & Twista. I honestly feel they did this just in case Lil’ Wayne couldn’t be in the music video (Weezy actually appears in the video but with piss poor effort).
No Love Lost is Joe Budden’s most commercially accessible album; even over his self titled debut in 2003. We still get the songs about his struggles with depression and addiction, but we also get songs that feature French Montana & Juicy J. The effort that Budden shows trying to reach a wider audience should be applauded but you still wish it was at a higher level. When songs go in the radio/club friendly range, they feel like lower class versions of stuff you already hear on the radio now. You also never get songs that show how lyrically good Budden really is. Unfortunately, No Love Lost isn’t the album that rockets Joe Budden into the major leagues. For fans of Budden you may still wanna check this one out. For new listeners, if you pass this one up, no love lost.