Album Review: Joe Budden, ‘No Love Lost’

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Whether it’s his brutally honest tweets, spots on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop, or his top-notch lyrical abilities with the group Slaughterhouse, Joe Budden has had the attention of most hip hop fans for a while now. Last year’s Slaughterhouse/Shady Records debut welcome to: OUR HOUSE showed the group’s versatility as MCs, and Budden looks to build on that with his fifth solo album.

 

No Love Lost is Joe’s message to the world on where his head is at — tackling topics such as affection for his new love interest, making peace with past love interests, or his continuing struggle with addiction.

This album is also one of Budden’s more mainstream efforts. Singles like the T-Minus produced “She Don’t Put It Down” featuring Lil Wayne and “NBA (Never Broke Again)” featuring Wiz Khalifa and French Montana all are radio friendly. “She Don’t Put It Down” is somewhat fun, but the beat sounds too much like the popular DJ Khaled/Drake joint “I’m On One,” while “NBA” feels like it was made specifically for popular rappers to guest on.

The album has a heavy R&B influence overall, with almost all the hooks on the album being sung by R&B artists such as: SLV, Omarion, and long time collaborator Emanny. From the album’s intro to tracks like “You and I”, and “Switch Positions” — the R&B influence is so heavy that any of these song could’ve been featured on any R&B artist’s latest album. Yet, this is not such a bad thing since Budden is a big R&B fan and luckily manages to stay true to the genre. However, if you’re a die-hard Slaughterhouse fan, you may want to skip those.

Slaughterhouse fans will feel much more at home with songs “All In My Head” and “Skeletons” both featuring Slaughterhouse members like Royce Da 5’9 and Kobe (on “All in My Head” and Joell Ortiz & Crooked I (on “Skeletons”). Thematically, the songs still deal with heavy material instead of just having intense lyricism, but they sound as if they came right off a Slaughterhouse project. Crooked I comes in with the nicest guest verse on the album with lines like, “The black mamba when I crack a vodka, I’m a take a shot, and hope the stowaways go away before the anchor drop.”

As far as production goes it’s nothing ground breaking. As said before, “She Don’t Put It Down” sounds like T-Minus recycled the beat and “NBA” sounds like something you’ve heard a hundred times already. The beats on “Castles” and “Last Day” are better, but still nothing too original. On the second half of the album production gets better and on tracks like ‘Runaway” and “No Love Lost (Outro)”. They really shine and have great use of guitars, acoustic and electric, and have awesome guitar solos at the end.

But whether the production is great or not, one thing is a constant on this album and that is Budden’s abilities as an MC. Although some songs may be better than others, he always brings his best when it comes to bars and is still a very solid effort. Joe Budden fans will not be disappointed.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.