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Joe Budden, “No Love Lost” Album Review

Starring in VH1’s latest Love & Hip Hop series, being a member of Slaughterhouse and other commitments have not sidetracked Joe Budden’s solo career, which makes headway thanks to No Love Lost, Budden’s new LP that eases him from his past and resolves him to improve in the future, when possible.

Diehard Mood Muzik fans may feel both shocked and disinterested after hearing the second track, “Top of the World” featuring a tuneful hook by Kirko Bangz. The song’s upbeat, almost unsettlingly distinct from Joe’s renowned mixtape series, Mood Muzik. The same goes for the next two records (“She Don’t Put It Down” and “NBA”). Be that as it may, it is indisputable that all three joints are single-ready, especially the latter with sharp verses from Wiz Khalifa, French Montana and Joe himself, who checks NBA players to structure his metaphors. Naysayers who questioned Budden’s songwriting, and castigated him as a one-hit wonder, who’s stuck with 2003’s “Pump It Up,” can get a taste of both radio-friendly bangers and A1 lyrics on this album.

Like “Runaway,” “My Time” and “No Love Lost (Outro),” “Castles” caters to his mixtape following, as the Mood God chronicles relationships strained by his fame. “Why would you take advantage when it’s something I’d gave to you?/And in the long run, it doesn’t take from me/ It takes from you/ You’d probably tell me I’m a fucked up nigga/ You got it wrong/ I just won’t be fucked up wit ya,” Joe laments. In similar fashion, “All In My Head” and “Skeletons” sound sulky yet truthful with backings from Slaughterhouse members Royce Da 5’9″ on the former encapsulating internal pains, Joell and Crooked I on the latter sharing murky thoughts.

What’s more, the New Jersey wordsmith, who is undisguised when it comes to his intimate affairs, provides for his growing female public with the soulful “You and I,” which he recently dubbed the album’s “song for all the people in love.” The track catalogs the appreciation of one’s better half. Strikingly different, the clearly suggestive “Switch Positions” spin the topic of intimacy to eroticism and “Tell Him Somethin” documents infidelity.

With No Love Lost, none of Budden’s fans lose. He has something for all of them. It is very close to a decade after his self-titled debut dropped, yet Budden seems as new now as he did then. The album probably has more features than any other Budden project, but it’s not overbearing. Also, Joe does not move away aimlessly from what he is good at and what he enjoys, as clearly showcased through the endings with live instrument solos (“You and I,” “Ghetto Burbs” and “Tell Him Somethin”). Lastly, the Mood God lives up to his name, distributing many emotions that are symbolic of all those he has experienced as an artist and as a man throughout his career that seems to be resurrected, in a good mood. —Christopher Minaya (@CM_3)

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