Jersey City’s hip-hop flag-bearer, Joe Budden’s new album, Padded Room, is more of the gritty, grimy, brutally honest, deprecating work that we’ve all grown to love from him. And I, for one, am glad that he stuck to the formula.
After putting out his self-titled album featuring the smash hit “Pump It Up,” it seems that Budden’s career as a “radio-rotation” artist never quite came into fruition. But with a series of incredible mixtapes, all entitled Mood Muzik, Joe Budden has managed to stay relevant to hip-hop heads who cling to him for transparency in a world of smoke and mirrors.
Songs like, “I Couldn’t Help It,” which describes the struggle of having a child, and “Angel In My Life,” which delves into his inner turmoil with depression, addiction and how he needs an angel, are all classic Joe. But songs like “Happy Holidays,” might throw some for a loop, only because of the poppy track, and smooth R&B vocals that start the song. But, Budden doesn’t disappoint as he laments more about how everyone in his family is struggling, and that there are no happy holidays.
Like most of Joe Budden’s work, Padded Room, is sad. But it’s good. Which makes me happy. Maybe that’s Joe Budden’s appeal. Maybe he shows us our humanness, our misery, and the resilience it takes to grow. Or that insanity might be normal, and that we all are in need of a padded room. Either way, this Padded Room is worth a visit.
– Jason Reynolds