Joe Budden – Joe Budden

Joe Budden - Joe BuddenPoor Joe. Lovin his single, Fire, I went and picked up his self-titled album. Unlike most though, I immediately got into his deep tracks as well as his party tracks, and I like his underrated, complex style. Maybe it’s his non-thuggishness, or suttin, but Budden’s extremely underrated and constantly being called “joe buddens,” which would piss me off. Still, the man can rhyme, and rhyme he does.


1) Intro 

Joe lettin fans know what time it is in rap form, his arrival is here. (Good)

2) # 1 

Some lyrical heat about the rap game, on a beat pretty much consisting of a complex drum track, using KRS One’s hook. (Good)

3) Pump it Up

One of the album’s singles, you’ve definitely heard this one. Showcases Joe’s versatility, and he does well, managing not to dumb down while talking about *****ing women over a banging party beat, with an energetic hook. (Great)

4) Pusha Man 

A sinister, kinda grimy track about hustlin, thuggin, doin drugs and fake thugs. More complex and good lyrics, including some funny ones–”I don’t drive, I like shotgun/never pull L’s, I like shotguns/hate 22’s, I like shotguns/nondescripts talkin bout they got guns/like tecs, .45’s and shotguns/.” (Great)

5) U Ain’t Gotta Go Home 

A horn-laced crunkish club banger, not on par with Pump it Up, but again he delivers damn good lyrics. Still, not on the album’s par. (Avg.)

6) Walk With Me we hit the deep tracks. A sad violin-based beat with a touching sung hook, Joe laments on the affects of rising fame, and questions his friends’ and girl’s and record execs’ motives. Love the line “Should I carry a pen and pad/and ask ehbody in the *****in hood for they suggestion?” (Excellent)

7) She Wanna Know ft. Lil Mo 

A disorienting switch from the last track, this is a disappointing, upbeat R&Bish joint directed at Joe’s woman. Definitely not for Budden and his lyrics aint that hot on here, anyway. (Poor)

8) Survivor

Is this an R&B album? An emotional, wistful, hard-drum-laced cut, great except for the fact that Joe Budden is only in the background. He doesn’t rap on the track and definitely didn’t sing it…confuses the hell outta me. (Avg.)

9) Fire ft. Busta Rhymes

A bouncy club banger in the style of Pump it Up. The beat is great–a house beat!–and Joe and Busta both deliver really good verses. (Excellent)

10) Ma Ma Ma ft. 112

This girl-directed song is done well for a change. The beat is good, Budden’s verses are–what?–yeah, good shit. 112 delivers a signature silky hook. (Great)

11) Calm Down

Another deep track, this one is angsty and has Joe talkin to his moms and his life before rapping. More heat from Joe Budden! Tracks like this, confused the hell out of most heads who bought his album for its club banger singles. Still an excellent cut. (Excellent)

12) Focus

A grimey beat has Joe spittin what should be a ballin theme (I think it was on a commercial or in a basketball video game, or suttin). It was also his featured track in Def Jam Vendetta. Pretty good but nothin special; not on par with the album’s best tracks. (Avg.)

13) Give Me Reason

Joey tryina be gangsta. Not feelin the overly-complex, weak-drummed beat. Aside from his usual lyrical heat, Budden says “nicca” after almost every line, gets *****in annoying. (Poor)

14) Stand Up Nucca 

Another really good, touching track. Joe on a dark-piano, hard-snare drum beat throwin it up with lyrical siccness for people who have to endure the hood. (Excellent)

15) 10 Mins. 

Great, great track. A very personal song about Joe’s situation and issues, tryina get away from all the stress and chaos. The good beat and ill verses make the 10-minute song bearable and even a favorite. (Excellent)


16) Real Life in Rap 

An underground 50 Cent-type song with a sung chorus, Joey talkin gangsta and speakin on fake thugs on a decent beat. (Poor)

17) Porno Star 

A funny-as-hell track about sex with an 80’s-style synth beat. Joey puts ‘dick’ at the end of every line in his first verse, ‘*****’ at the end of every line in his second and ‘sex’ on the third. Real skill. (Great)


Rating: 3.3/5

Bottom line: Def Jam *****ed up the album, not Budden. Joey comes with straight skill on every track, if you really listen to him. But Def Jam put out 2 club bangers as singles, so the man’s laid-back voice and style surprised heads that bought his album thinking it would all be more Pump it Up joints. Plus, they kept better tracks like Dear Angie (a letter to his baby moms) and When Thugs Cry (remake of Prince’s When Doves Cry, on uncertainties of being a father) off the album for commercial shit like She Wanna Know and Give Me Reason, and put on Survivor, which I can only assume must have been unfinished. But there are still many great and a few excellent tracks on the album.

My Recommendation: Buy the album, if you like both deep tracks and commercial ones, and also if you’re willing to really listen for the man’s verbal ill skills.