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#10 Joe Budden


Lyrics 10

"Say if Joe keep talking that shit, he'll get him shot, but if rappers can't tie my shoes how can I not." Maybe the most underrated pen in the game, Joe’s lyrics are incredibly descriptive in giving you a bird’s eye view of his life; whereas he’s a gifted man who suffers from an array of afflictions that gives his music an overflow of emotion. From a technical standpoint Joe has a way with words, and anyone who says he doesn’t have lyrics is strictly judging off personality, in which case they’re not really listening. Joe is nice with a pen, no two ways about it.

Delivery 9

“But you think I ain’t hurt, like it ain’t no guilt in me, like it ain’t killin me, I’m out here on a killin spree, a sickness, I ain’t found a way to nurse it yet, like I ain’t a nervous wreck, like it’s no reverse effect” Joe has an excellent delivery where somehow he’s able to stay on beat with an abundance of multi syllable words within the frame. In other words he’s saying a lot, yet it’s never too much for the instrumental as his lyrics and production is often a perfect marriage.

Structure/Songwriting Ability 7

"I close my hands on me knees, send these words to the sky, you can't kill nothin that's ready to die" fire as usual but some would say this is his biggest weakness, the ability to make a song. Although it pales in comparison to his words and their meaning, I’d beg to differ by saying his songs are better than most give him credit for. Nevermind Pump It Up (which is a perfectly fine record comparable to all the other radio songs even today), but Immortal, Castles, and Unnecessary Pain showcase some his best songwriting ability, and regardless of the narratives it would be disingenuous to say otherwise. At the same time his 2013 album No Love Lost came off as so desperate for radio records that it took away from his artistry, while his follow up All Love Lost and the Mood Muzik series are much better representation.

Content/Meaning 9

"Fans recognize my misery uplifted me, shifted me to my epitome, guess the curse is a gift to me." If you’ve ever suffered from any type of mental affliction, Joe’s probably has a song for it, and considering that’s not even a reach I’m not sure why we take that for granted. Joe’s music has undoubtedly helped people cope with their feelings of desperation, as when listening to his music there’s a strong likelihood that he’s describing exactly what they’re going through, a testament to his relatability as well as the power of his music in general.

Self Made 9

"Wanna talk about bars, mine leave it be, never needed an A&R, mine needed me" A product of Def Jam from the early 2000’s, Joe has been able to stand on his own due less to a label backing and more from strictly the relevance of his name. Strictly an MC like so many of his contemporaries, he’s relied on production from Just Blaze, Boi-1da, and Vinylz just to name a few.

Image/Branding 8

“Not that it’s growin old, but years of bein my soul, has taken it’s toll” However years of putting his pain on record has garnered him a loyal following, as his Mood Muzik mixtape series in particular has it’s own cult fan base, separate from people who know him for his commercial appeal. Joe also stays very active in pop culture, with reality television appearances, podcasting, and an active twitter profile for better or for worse.

Sales 7

"Nowadays can't fail to make charts, cause the stars made the sales now the sales make the stars, wish I could go back to the days of glory, It was all about music less about the story." It’s not clear but it’s highly likely that his debut album went Gold back in 2003, yet since then his two studio albums from the last decade have barely sold 100,000 apiece, and that’s being generous. Those are surprisingly low numbers for an artist who stays in the public eye, and meanwhile the super-group Slaughterhouse has had underwhelming sales as well, with their major debut selling approximately the same amount as Joe’s solo efforts.

Ability to Rock an Instrumental at a Radio Station 10

"Haymakers for these great debaters and naysayers, to their dream team I'm Isiah aight playa, it's a proven fact, top 5 dead or alive, and we a mass suicide away from proving that..." Nevermind the blackberry Joe is a real spitter, and there’s no way he’d ever run from the opportunity to rock out at a radio station. With that being said there’s footage of him all over the net doing just that, while Slaughterhouse as a unit has participated and bodied every cypher they could be a part of.

Ability to Fuck Up a Rewind Button 10

"Who knew you was into sports like that, more prayers because they're all players, you out there having a ball, player, ball player after ball player, I mean you with the ball players more than ball players, hope they ain't fucking you and making you their ball player." Like anyone with a pen and delivery, Joe is no stranger to fucking up rewind buttons, specifically when speaking on delicate subjects that hit close to home. Mood Muzik 4 in particular has a ton of replay value, where like all great music it’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Longevity 10

"They say let's make America great again, I'm curious what time would you like to place us in?, Were we degraded then, did they enslave us then?, or is it ignorant of me to even say again? If it's civil war then what we are civil for, if this is freedom to ya'll you better get us some more." Joe doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Hip Hop, and unfortunately that seems to be a trend for people who can really rap. Yet here he is 13 years after his debut still making music from the soul, and album sales aside he still has an abundance of fans who hang on his every word.

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