“Anyone familiar with Joe Budden will know that dude bares his soul in his music and there is probably no other rapper that wears his heart on his sleeve more than Joe Budden. This mixtape is vintage Joey with tales of relationships gone wrong, his current relationship, introspection, sex, love and vices.”
Mr. Emotions is back with a newly acquired moniker as the ‘Relationship Rapper’ on his latest mixtape A Loose Quarter. The title of the project alone raises suspicions or rather confirms his apparent desire to separate himself from his recent image as a quarter of the group Slaughterhouse, at least for now. After the lukewarm sales of their recent album Our House some had even suggested that he might have quit the group altogether. His reaction when asked about that certainly did not help matters either. He replied he ‘does not give a f*ck’ what the groups fans thought about the sales. An interesting take that will remain a rumour for now but still lends an aura of allure and intrigue to the timing of the mixtapes’ release.
Anyone familiar with Joe Budden will know that dude bares his soul in his music and there is probably no other rapper that wears his heart on his sleeve more than Joe Budden. This mixtape is vintage Joey with tales of relationships gone wrong, his current relationship, introspection, sex, love and vices. Incidentally this mixtape has more of an SLV-feel than the recent work that Budden has put out with his other group Slaughterhouse. For those not in the know SLV (Summer Leather Vest/ Sex Love and Vices) is a group comprised of Joe Budden and the R&B crooner Emanny that had a massive buzz with the infectious single “Unison” recently. Many of the tracks featuring Emmany could certainly pass as a continuation of where they left off with “Unison”, “What Your Name Is” and “Tell Him Something’” Emmany lends his vocal harmonies from the onset song “Intro”, “Now Or Never”, “So Good”, “So Hard”, the hilarious interlude “The Helmet” as well as “More Of Me” which is part 2 of a song called “All Of Me” that was featured on Joe Buddens’ other collection of releases known as Mood Muzik.
Production is handled by stalwarts The Klassix, Araab Muzik, Cardiak and a few new names also create a laid-back, string infected canvas for Budden to lace his verses. On the Blessed By Beats-produced “Off To The Races” there is an eerily haunting Lana Del Rey sample that sounds radio friendly. Married with the smooth harmonized hooks by Emmany this mixtape makes for a much more soulful, mature sound and overall the beats are easier on the ear than previous Budden offerings. This is a marked departure from some of the gritty, hardcore beats experienced on the Slaughterhouse project. As usual Joe Budden is never short of words and in his usual moody demeanour he has cultivated a remarkable ability to dissect a topic from many angles until there is nothing left to say about it. Seasoned Budden fans will know previous songs like “Who Killed It” or the “Ordinary Love Sh*t” trilogy where he can rhyme for more than 10-minutes straight without as much as a chorus; “More of Me” carries on for 7-minutes but it doesn’t get boring as it has a captivating narrative.
If there is any criticism it is maybe that he bares a little bit too much of his personal life sometimes. As if the barrage of tweets and his ubiquitous Instagram presence are not enough, he subjects us to painfully intricate details about his parents, his girlfriends parents, his feelings about his exes and a slew of other issues that some would argue are not for public consumption. On “Momma Said” he pens a letter to his Mom which although sweet, might not be some people’s cup of tea. “Off To The Races” is a revealing ode to his relationship status, past and present. The disadvantage is that only a serious stan can keep up with if he is talking about Kaylin Garcia, Tahiry or Esther Baxter half the time. Telling people your girlfriend was molested three times or her Dad used to beat her Mom might be bordering on overshare of private information. Budden has often been accused of only making good music when he is going through a break-up, coming off sounding too angry or emotional. Some say he uses his girlfriends as cannon fodder for his lyrical content. It’s hard to argue otherwise. A first time listener may perceive him as such but the oversight there would be overlooking his incredible work rate. He has developed his rapid-flow delivery on tracks like “Cut From A Different Cloth” and has managed to keep his pen game up despite having a slew of different projects happening simultaneously.
With a loyal fan base collected over many years, a rap persona that has create a new niche lane in ‘relationship rap’, financial stability and a seemingly steady relationship, A Loose Quarter finds Joe Budden finally sounding like he may even be sort of happy, even if it’s a vindictive, cocky type of happiness. On “What Yall Want” he is on his bragging-rights swag addressing his detractors and haters or ‘bum nigg*s’ as he calls them. Well documented beefs with Raekwon, The Game and Ransom among others come to mind in case you forgot that he can battle rap too and the aforementioned song is a stark reminder. In the illustrious company of his Slaughterhouse counterparts Joell Ortiz, Crooked I and a featured Royce 5’9; overlooked and signed by Slim Shady himself, this should come as no surprise. Other features include Ab-Soul, Trev Rich and Mal on probably what is the funniest interlude of the year “The Helmet”.
Overall a contender for one of the better mixtapes for 2012, A Loose Quarter is emo, name-calling, relationship Joe at his best. With another album No Love Lost due in early 2013, a Mood Muzik 5 expected soon, plus a shelved Features album that may see the day of light in the future as well as the recent Slaughterhouse projects, true Joe Budden fans have nothing to complain about. From the “Pump It Up” days when he was a Grammy nominated 23 year old up until being signed by arguably the best rapper in the world, Joe Budden has certainly walked an unconventional path and A Loose Quarter is testament to his surviving strength as a solo artist. An artist who is frequently so personal you feel like you kind of know him intimately. If you are not up on Joe Budden you done been sleeping.
Written By: (@_Tebz_)