Joe Budden – The Padded Room (2009)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Potholes
When Joe Budden arrived to the masses with his hit song “Pump It Up” from his debut self-titled album it seemed that there was going to be a new force to be reckoned with in the world of hip-hop. Unfortunately, Joe’s next album would go through numerous delays and push backs and eventually Joe would be dropped by Def Jam leaving fans to speculate when or even if they would get to hear an official follow-up to his 2003 release. Well, after 5 plus years, the ferocious Mood Muzik series and a prequel digital release, The Padded Room has finally arrived.
Throughout the majority of the album Budden sacrifices his normal battle-ready mode to give us a more personal analysis of himself. On “I Couldn’t Help It” Joe explains his reasoning behind having an abortion with a woman he couldn’t see himself with at a time he wasn’t ready to have a child. “While the chick probably sitting there thinking about marriage, I’m thinking abortion like a savage // An on purpose accident to have a miscarriage.” Budden covers a wide range of topics including a narrative of a night of dreams (“In My Sleep”), a conversation with God (“Pray For Me”), and his last words to the important people in his life (“Do Tell”).
The highlight of the album comes with “Blood on the Wall”. While Budden stays away from blasting enemies throughout the majority of the album, he dedicates an entire verse to the dismantling of Prodigy, who claimed Joe was “the worst rapper ever.” Joe dismisses the Mobb Deep rapper, telling him “don’t worry about me, worry about your Medicaid” but also gives props in between insults, “I can’t front on your old shit, now you just old as shit“. It’s safe to say Prodigy may be rethinking his original opinion of Budden.
As good as Joe’s writing is, the album suffers from mediocre production. The beat for “Adrenaline” does not vibe well at all with the rest of the album, and the pop-heavy “The Future” featuring old nemesis The Game feels as if it does not belong on the set list. However, despite a few mishaps Budden was able to put together a solid Sophomore effort that will have both mainstream and underground rappers taking a little bit more time with their pencils next time their scribbling in their rhyme book.