Saturday, February 28
Joe Budden: Padded Room
The pushed back date has finally come and gone. This time around the pushed back date actually came with a delivery. It was like sitting in the house waiting on UPS to show up with a package. They tell you the shipment should arrive between noon and 3pm, and so they have you sitting and listening for the UPS truck to rumble down the street.
With that said, Padded Room was finally dropped after being pushed back several times for reasons that we all wont really know or understand. What we have though is a work of art that seemingly is straight from the padded room itself. Budden delivered a concept album that many will be drawn to, but few will understand. This album has that Marshall Mathers LP feel to it. Not really dark and violent, but more so honest and visual. Budden is probably one of the most talented at painting a picture so that we not only hear words, but we see them too. His story telling throughout his past mixtapes and album have all gotten better step by step of the way.
This album starts off with "Now I Lay." It's a up tempo track that sets the stage for where we are all traveling with Budden to as he is laying himself down and praying the Lord his soul to take. It's uptempo doesn't spare any lyrical strength and it lulls you in for something much more deeper. A little out of place is the next track "The Future," featuring The Game. I'm not quite sure where it fits in at this point, but I almost think that it's better off being at the beginning as opposed to being sprinkled in somewhere else. Could have done without it though. Maybe he was sidetracked, and that's what was going on in his head at the time while sitting in his four cornered room. The next couple of tracks stay off track as they seem just as out of place, almost hitting the concept, but just missing. On "Blood On My Wall" you can see Budden staring at the wall inside of his bedroom and starting to verbalize what's going inside his head. Including the frustration with Prodigy of Mobb Deep.
At this point the album begins to peak and the concept of the album is beginning to shine through. "In My Sleep" Budden goes through some recurring dreams that leave you frozen as if you're watching tv. Stuck in a room with a elephant/ opened the closet and dapped up my skeleton/ had a convo with a man with no ears/ then all of a sudden everything became so clear. Deep. Budden continues his self reflection as the next track, "Exxxes," rolls on with a mellow, laid back beat. Budden recites manic engagements with a ghostly chick named "Ashley," which leaves you to think deeper about where is this story coming from. Ok, now the doctors need to bust in and inject this dude because this is probably a little too deep for some to even try to understand. Budden has given his thoughts inside his head a name! Damn. And as you would hope that he laid off just a little, or pulled back on the reins, he doesn't. "I Couldn't Help It" goes into detail about how Budden as a young fool get caught up with a chick. While the chick prolly sitting there thinking bout marriage/ I'm thinking abortion like a savage.
This is where the album once again hits a valley, but for the last time. Budden tries to flip the script with "Adrenaline," or maybe this is just the soundtrack inside his head. The tempo goes to 100 thousand with a rock/heavy metal sound. Picture Budden inside his bedroom flipping out right now. Call 911 to help this dude, QUICK! The song is not bad, but some will fast forward right through this one. The album begins to fall back onto pace with "Do Tell." Here Budden goes on as if he's writing his suicide letter to leave on his pillow. Follow that with "Angel In My Life" and "Pray For Me." "Angel In My Life" is Budden calm again, and reflecting on his faults. Suicide, drugs, depression are the things that run through his mind and veins. They say the room is padded for my own safety/ but the cushion don't soften shit/ they lock the door, but still they let my thoughts in it. Follow that with a conversation with God as Budden sits at the Pearly Gates trying to get into heaven on "Pray For Me."
Minus the off topic tracks this album is probably the deepest and most thought provoking of the next two quarters of the year. For a concept album this is as good as it gets. Even the off topic tracks are good, and they fit right in place if you're looking at them as what's going on inside the head of a Psychotic human being. Budden does a great job at painting pictures for us, and even though he will probably not get a lot of credit for this work... he's still one of the best and most under rated to pic up a mic.
Production was handled by little known producers, but talented none the less. Klasix, Blastah Beatz, Dub B, Versatile, Dilemma, MoSS, and KidSource.
Keep Hip Hop Alive, One Bar at a Time.
Over and Out, DocBoone.