Joe Budden released his fifth studio album No Love Lost on February 5th, 2013. The 17-track LP concludes a series of projects whose titles represent the story of a slightly less than sane man. For Joe, this album shows the progress he’s made musically and in his personal life. The release of this project follows the November 23, 2012 release of his solo mixtape, A Loose Quarter.
For me, No Love Lost achieves the goals that Joe set out to accomplish. The album does show a leap in musicality, as the production on this project is much better than that of any previous effort from the Slaughterhouse member. Production comes from notable names such as Boi-1da, Nylz, T-Minus, Cardiak and more. The instrumentation suits Budden’s vocal style and rapping scheme well. Tracks such as “Castles”, “All In My Head”, “Skeletons”, “Runaway”, “My Time” and “No Love Lost” (the Outro) capture the emotions of the 32 year-old better than production on past endeavors.
The album as a whole is a solid project and an effective conclusion to the four-part series. In comparison to the other three albums, No Love Lost is definitely more sophisticated from a musical standpoint. Budden stated in an interview that he wanted to implement more live-sounding, R&B-type instrumentals, and this is evident. This can be mostly be acredited to the album’s producers who have breathed new life into Joe’s music.
Lyrically, the content on No Love Lost is signature Joe Budden. The songwriting does not stray far from the themes introduced in past installments of the four-part series. Stories of a man dealing with the burdens of fame, money, addiction and relationships are all contained in each of the album’s tracks. Many might say that the New Jersey emcee’s overly-honest and, at times, depressing lyrics could push away potential listeners. While it’s true that Joe has always been an open book who doesn’t shy away from showing his emotions to the public, I do not think that this is a weakness. What makes Joe Budden Joe Budden is his vulnerability and honesty. In fact, I think the strongest songs on this album are those where Budden pens the deepest lyrics.
Bottom line: No Love Lost is Joe Budden’s best album. It successfully follows the theme that was introduced in the previous three albums and concludes the story well. For Joe, a man who’s put his entire personal life in the public eye, it’s easy for people to think that it’s all for show. However, different than Love & Hip-Hop (VH1’s reality show starring Joe Budden), Joe’s music isn’t meant to be “good TV”, meaning, what you see is what you get. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like who Joe Budden is, he will always be completely honest and someone will be able to relate. Authenticity is what makes this and all other Joe Budden projects great. Full of quotables and memorable songs, No Love Lost is worth the price tag.