Album Review: Rage & The Machine - Joe Budden
"Rage looking for the Machine, aiming the ruger. Old soul; I don't fuck with the youngins, I ain't a cougar." - Joe Budden on Escape Route Intro
Ironically, Joe was foreshadowing in the sense of this being the album title. Also, the second part of that is the theme of "Uncle Joe", that boy good.
In a climate where the "copy and paste" formula is prevalent in music, when it comes to what's considered hot; Joe Budden links up with Araab Muzik to deliver this lyrically driven, content heavy, masterpiece; Rage And The Machine
Leading up to its October 21st release, Budden was adamant about this being "different" from your ordinary Joe Budden project as it pertains to content; and he didn't lead us astray. Let's get to it.
1. Three (4:28): The album starts off with a high energy beat that makes you want to do 92mph on the nearest highway like the laws don't apply to you. Joe makes it very clear that his pen has never dulled
"Young, doing it my way; that's Frank Sinatra. I might hang with you bloggers, but I bang with the mobsters."
2. Uncle Joe (3:05): Joe has always embraced being seen as the resident "get off my lawn" guy in Hip Hop. This joint gives new rappers a lesson in respecting your elders, his peers a lesson in growing up, and the fans a different perspective on both.
"I use to drive around the Tunnel in a Lexus with the snub. Before Power 105, was sneaking 'breakfast' in the club."
3. Serious f/ Joell Ortiz (2:38): 2 quarters of the Slaughter link up again for this war themed lyrical onslaught. Ironically, my favorite collab of theirs is "Warfare". Think of this as that track on deer antler spray.
Joe: I guess it's in my 'jeans'/genes, no Prince if I got the poke out.
Joell: Man, let these niggas reach, I'm Iverson with the blowout."
4. By Law f/ Jazzy (3:55): This could possibly be my favorite track on the entire album for multiple reasons. Joe's flow is mesmerizing over a beat that sounds like it should've been playing when Barack was inaugurated. Jazzy has been one of my favorite voices since I heard her with Fab and she's still killing it.
"I got shooters on a call with the 4s just aching, in a 4 door Explorer with the awful grey tints. Notes over ya head, it's an orchestration. How it is when the author gives the authorization."
5. "Flex" f/ Tory Lanez & Fabolous (4:11) Tory opens the track nicely, setting the tone. Budden painted a vivid picture that complemented the intro perfectly, but Fab stole the show when it was his turn. Songs like this have historically been his strong points, and the trend continues with quotables and even some light R&B work.
Fabolous: "4am flexin on them lonely hoes. sippin Bobby Brown, ‘Tenderoni’ flows." this line into the vocals made the song for me.
6. Forget (1:31): No this is not a skit and that's not a typo, Joe only rhymed for 1 minute and some change over one of the hardest beats you'll hear anytime soon. I say "only", but don't get it confused; this is STILL Joe Budden and he didn't take a bar off. It's a flawless transition into the second half of the album to me.
"Mean game, some'll wild for an inkling of the fame, and I can spot 'em from their actions while I'm thinking of their name.
7. I Gotta Ask (2:55): This, to me, is like 'Uncle Joe' after a few shots of his favorite cognac and a joint. A subtle "you can't fuck with me" undertone fits perfectly with the hints of the borrowed sprinkles of Jigga's "Hard Knock Life".
"2 bitches, Three's Company how I half wit her. If this Hennessy don't do the trick, then watch the 'Jack' trip her (Tripper)."
8. Time For Work f/ Emanny (3:25): This is one of Araab's best moments of the whole album with how versatile his production is. Joe's verses are over a beat that reminded me of just why I fell in love with AraabMuzik's beats in the first place, while Emanny's part is over a beat that Michael Jackson would've loved. I'm sure E had extra motivation to body it the way he did being that he's a huge MJ fan. I love it.
"Ass fat enough to buy that bitch her own property, now that's my definition of a 'home body'."
9. Wrong One (3:28): HE SOUNDS REALLY FUCKING INSPIRED ON THIS. Insider for fans of his podcast. The beat sounds like what Rocky should've been listening to before he fought Drago, or what Westbrook hears on every fastbreak. Joe on this is like the audio version of spraying a gun from Contra.
"To let it off, you gon need a right hand and a right wrist. And using a beam mean it was a chance that you might miss."
10. I Wanna Know f/ Stacy Barthe (5:54): Just seeing that the amazing Stacy Barthe was featured here let me know this song would be magical. The beat reminds me of Fab's "Good Ones" a little if you're familiar with that; very smooth, but still hard. Joe gives the core fans that "old Joe Budden" feel with the introspective talk, speaking on "what if"s from the past and thanking God for the present. The verse dedicated to his son gave me chills and is one of the best from this entire album.
"Right now I stand in the place I never stood before. Finally filled a void in my life, I wasn't good before. Fuckin with these hoes, that energy I was puttin forth. God, this is more like the fuckin love I was lookin for."
11. Idols (6:11): See that time? That's more like it! 6 minutes of Joe giving hip hop legends their flowers over a very smooth beat. From his views on the music to the music business; this is an open letter from the fan in Joe Budden more than the actual rapper. It's a very refreshing moment and the perfect way to end this masterpiece.
"New Rage & Machine, nigga we got this. This what you hear when label ideas meet a plot twist."