It may have taken just about six years, but New Jersey lyricist Joe Budden finally returns with his official second studio album, Padded Room.
Stranded on Def Jam and left in “artist hell,” (before his authorized release), the MC created his own grassroots movement with his Mood Muzik mixtape series, which kept his head above water long enough for a new situation to materialize.
Industry red tape and beefs with other rappers didn’t deter nor slow down one of the wittiest wordsmiths in the game, and Joe lets out some of his pent-up frustrations on ‘Now I Lay’; “Maybe it was just to entertain myself/I don’t need help, I can change myself/f*ck y’all/I ain’t gotta explain myself.”
With their beef long behind them, Joe Budden extends an olive branch to The Game, as he featured on ‘The Future.’ On the East meets West collaboration, both MC’s exercise their right to the ladies, as the song focuses on the opposite sex, and the future they might have together after coupling up.
With old problems dealt with, Joe points his attention to more current adversaries on ‘Blood On The Wall’ namely Prodigy from Mobb Deep. Behind an eerie organ sample, and simple drum loop, Jump Off Joe expresses his feelings towards the native from Queensbridge, “I don’t get how Prodigy ‘gon acknowledge me/n*gga bout as big as an apostrophe/but real talk, I can’t front on your old sh*t/now you just old as sh*t/now old and sick/instead of holding my d*ck, here’s a better way/never mind me, worry about your Medicaid.”
Joe continues to get a few more issues off his chest, including a past relationship on ‘I Couldn’t Help It’; “We had a beautiful relationship at one point/but then, that sh*t changed with the quickness/maybe cause I was f*ckin’ other b*tches/or maybe we had no business having business.”
But then Joe gets back into attack mode with the Rock & Roll-laden ‘Adrenaline,’ and follows that up with R&B/Hip-Hop feel of ‘Happy Holidays,’ where he discusses how his holidays as a youngster weren’t so happy.
Other songs locked in the Padded Room with Joe are solid contributions like the descriptive tales of ‘In My Sleep,’ and ‘Pray For Me,’ the guitar-riddled ‘Exxxes,’ and ‘Do Tell.’ While offerings like ‘Don’t Make Me’ and ‘If I Gotta Go’ could’ve stayed on the other side of the door.
In the end, Joe Budden’s Padded Room is a well-put together collection of music. Gone are the big budgets and promotional juggernaut that comes with being aligned with a major, but what remains is his hunger to constantly perfect his craft, and he shows that dedication and effort from beginning to end.