• S
    • M
    • L
    • XL
    • XXL
      • XXL
      • XL
      • L
      • M
      • S

Joe Budden

Padded Room

[Editor's Note: This version of Padded Room was reviewed before it was announced the LP had been pushed back to 2009.]


Joe Budden’s 2003 self-titled Def Jam debut balanced high-powered hits (“Pump It Up”) with melancholy narratives (“10 Mins.”), but it wasn’t until after the label shelved his follow-up effort, The Growth, that the New Jersey native really hit his stride. With the success of his critically acclaimed Mood Muzik mixtape series, Joey opted to go indie and set the stage for his proper sophomore release, Padded Room.

Playing to his strengths, Joe laments his frustrations over The Klasixs’s whimsical wind-chime-like sounds on “If I Gotta Go.” Budden spits, “The problem is, I’m smarter than everybody, but I’m too proud to show it/They too dumb to know it.” He echoes that same sentiment on “Just to Be Different,” a dark and dramatic track where Budden bucks the status quo. He goes on to confront his personal demons on “In My Sleep,” detailing his nightmares, which range from having an unfaithful lover to being stuck in arrested development: “Bought a first-class ticket to nowhere/Everyone goes there, but no one stays a year/Me? I got 365 shows there.” Joe’s excellence of execution carries over to both the eerie “Angel in My Life” and the apocalyptic “Pray for Me.” The former is a dramatic trip into an insane asylum, while the latter finds Budden stuck at heaven’s gates, calling God’s bluff (“You make mistakes like me, as far as I can see/I think it’s a mockery when rich niggas win the lottery”).

Lyrically, Joe crafts a masterpiece, opening the door to the mind of a disturbed yet misunderstood soul. Sadly, the album’s beat selections, at times, don’t match. There are no throwaways to speak of, but tracks like the ’80s-rock-inspired “Don’t Make Me” and the retro pop “My Life” just aren’t as innovative as the lyrics atop them. Whatever the case, Padded Room proves that, when it comes to heartfelt hip-hop, it’s good to be crazy. —DAMIEN SCOTT

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • HERM

    A long time coming…

  • jalen

    yall aint give it a classic jus because u didnt think 2 beats fit a song

  • http://myspace.com/thetruthandthelight Mo Betta

    Oddly the album will probably be 6 or 7 songs different by then knowing Joe, Im sure they’ll be hot songs tho!

  • balaramesh

    i expect a great lyrical album by joe.

  • Dan99

    Damn, you guys forgot the post the cover of padded room, now that was some crazy shit. Well anyways, I know a lot of people don’t expect much from budden ever since “Pump It Up”, however if you’ve been keeping up with the mood muzik series, then you’d understand how great Buddens truly is, but I do warn you that the type isn’t for everybody. His type of music are ones that you do not want to bump in the car. Like budden said, “my fanbase are fucked up”. I know there’s a lot people saying that budden are washed up and he should retire, but the only song that they’ve heard from budden was probably “Pump It Up”, the irony of this is that budden is probably one of the best lyricist in the game right now, this is why I respect budden, he keeps it real, he doesn’t “care about the limelight, that will manifest when the time’s right”.

  • chad bro chill

    yeah now that the albums pushed back joe will probabaly put some of the songs that would have been on the album on the mixtape and make new songs for the album

    joe is one of the best rappers doing it next to immortal technique, jedi mind tricks and lil wayne

    just kidding about that last one

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Chiliz

    The problem is, I’m smarter than everybody, but I’m too proud to show it/They too dumb to know it.

    You make mistakes like me, as far as I can see/I think it’s a mockery when rich niggas win the lottery.

  • Stuey

    This prolly ain’t gunna be a thing like the final product.