90FM Album Review: Joe Budden - No Love Lost
Steven Woodward
swood172@uwsp.edu





From the oft-maligned “Pump it Up”, the “Mood Muzik” series, getting assaulted by members of Wu-Tang’s posse, a rap beef with Jay-Z, and recently the formation of rap super-group Slaughterhouse, Joe Budden’s career as a rap artist has been multifarious. At his best, Budden is a lyrical juggernaut, capable of rapping circles over the industry with wit and incredible story-telling ability. At his worst, his antics distract from his ability to create good music and make it seem as if he’s more suited for reality TV. With his release, “No Love Lost”, Budden jumps between the two effortlessly and creates a chaotic yet strangely pleasing listening experience.

“No Love Lost” starts off like a stereotypical rap album. “Ya’ll would call it birthday sex/I call it a ritual” Budden raps on the Kirko Bangs assisted “Top of the World”, a song perfectly suited as a battle –cry for insecure, club-going men. The following tracks, “She Don’t Put it Down Like You” and NBA enlist Hip-Hop heavy-weights Lil Wayne, French Montana, and Wiz Khalifa. Both offer catchy and ultimately successful hooks, and “She Don’t Put it Down Like You” includes the most listenable Lil Wayne verse since “No Ceilings”.

As Budden settles in to the album, the tone shifts. On “All In My Head”, Budden chronicles his struggle with addiction and depression while showcasing his lyrical prowess. “I’m so seasonal/some of you knew I’d spring back/With a heart this cold how’d ya’ll think I’d be receptive to fall?” On “Skeletons”, the listener finds Budden on an inner city “blues cruise” listening to Marvin Gaye induced by his fatherless upbringing. It’s the type of dark and lyrically unmatched music Budden listeners have come to expect.

As the album nears completion, it takes yet another sharp turn. While more suitable for a Drake album, Budden’s talent carries us through two heavily R&B influenced tracks. “Switch Positions” features former B2K member Omarion. Neither are certain skips, but songs with overtly sexual titles and themes are as played out as trying to get rich through a social media website. Luckily, Budden drops the experiment and finishes on a positive note. On “My Time”, Budden assures us that issues he struggles with on “Skeletons” are being put in the past. “It’s more than what you hear in a song/The wings are extended/the fear is gone/”.

Sporadic, emotional, macho, stereotypical, profound, and experimental, are all words that could be attached to Joe Budden’s “No Love Lost”. It isn’t a perfect album, and certainly some die-hard Budden fans will be discouraged by the return to “Pump It Up”-esque tracks like “NBA”, but “No Love Lost” epitomizes the career its creator has experienced, and in a culture like Hip-Hop that puts a premium on “realness”, Budden may have produced one of his most enjoyable and personable listens.