It is quite understandable why Joe Budden would title his sophomore effort, Padded Room. After seeing his original sophomore album, The Growth, reside on the shelf in development hell after numerous pushbacks, Budden was finally released from Def Jam and went on to go independent with Amalgam Digital. After releasing the well-received Halfway House project, Joe Budden allows listeners into the confines of his mind, his own padded room if you will...
The album begins with the blaring horns and tinkling keys of "Now I Lay". Joe blazes this instrumental, but ends up using the cliched prayer for the chorus. After the disappointing first single with The Game, The Klasix laces Joey with "If I Gotta Go", which effectively jump-starts the aptly titled Padded Room with haunting production fused with an excellent sample during the bridge.
"Blood On The Wall" features eerie, hardcore production from a producer by the name of MoSS. The second verse features many quotables as Budden verbally abuses Prodigy of Mobb Deep fame ("Never mind me, worry about your Medicaid" ... "Your sound's old, not even worth a download"). "In My Sleep" sees Jumpoff in a conceptual sleep, an eternal sleep in which he confronts his inner demons, which is "a side effect when you trade some bad dreams for some great nightmares".
Budden appears to be in an eternal sleep of death, but he never confirms this; he simply alludes to it ("Is that why the mirror won't show my reflection?" ... I went to see a man walking on water, asked if he'd ever get things back in order"). This record quite possibly features two of my favorite quotables on the album:
"Stuck in the room with a elephant
Opened the closet and dapped up my skeleton"
"I just bought a first-class ticket to nowhere
Everyone goes there... but they don't stay the whole year
Me? I got 365 shows there"
The album progresses into "Exxes", which features Budden telling the story of his relationship with a female that he keeps dealing with, which actually represents his own depression. "I Couldn't Help It" begins the home stretch for Padded Room and is arguably the crown jewel of the album. The Klasix provides beautifully, haunting production, which is the perfect backdrop for Joe Budden to spill his guts on. This song, especially the first verse, harkens back to his Mood Muzik ensemble: vintage Joe, personal and honest:
"We had a beautiful relationship at one point
But then, that shit changed with the quickness
Maybe cause I was fucking other bitches
Or maybe we had no business, having business
Not the girl that I would wanna raise kids with
But still that shit happened regardless
I was so young, back then, so heartless
And the shit I was thinking coulda caught me some charges
Listen, I tried to talk to her normally
That shit ain't work for one second, she was on to me
I tried to explain, how I ain't have a dollar to my name
Pursuing this rap shit, chasing fame
Young dude stressed in the hood like Je-Sus
I ain't ready for no child, but she was
When you, piss poor, get to having sick thoughts
While the chick probably sittin' there, thinking bout marriage
I'm thinking abortion, like a savage
A on purpose accident to have a miscarriage
Her mothering mine, I couldn't end up seeing
Plus, what type of mother would you end up being?
You already a psycho, I went and let that pass
I ain't think "lifetime bond", I thought "fat ass"
All them times you was pregnant and miserable
All them fights we had that got physical
Every time I sent you packing, pissed at you
Like I ain't wanna live wit you, yeah, I kinda planned that
Inconsiderate, it sounds just like me
Then you pushed something out that looks just like me
I grabbed my lil dude up, looked him in his eyes
Said "You can't understand right now, I apologize
How could I not want you here?, be that selfish?
Fuck was on my mind, at the time, my bad, I couldn't help it"
After the rock influenced "Adrenaline" and the strangely out-of-place "Happy Holidays", "Do Tell" manages to get the album back on course. This record sees Joe rhyming about all the things that he wishes to "tell" those closest to him including his mother, father and his baby's mother as well as ideas like fame and love ("Tell fame I ain't want it / naw, I'll keep it 100 / I tried my best to go and get it, but the nigga fronted") "Angel in My Life" sees Joe rhyming from inside the confines of a padded room while the album concludes with "Pray for Me", which finds Budden stuck at the gates of heaven, arguing with God while both point out and question each other's faults.
Padded Room sees Joe lyrically at his best throughout the album, but the soundscapes falter various times, hurting the album's cohesiveness especially when the album ends at only thirteen tracks. Overall, the album is an above average, but somewhat disappointing effort after waiting six years for a sophomore album. Admittedly, listening to Mood Muzik then Padded Room will leave listeners wanting more from this album. Perhaps if a few of the cuts from Joe Budden's prior release, Halfway House, had instead been included on Room, the album would have been well-received as a classic LP, but instead Padded Room finds itself as simply another great effort in Budden's catalogue.
4 mics (out of 5)Leave A Comment What's Hot Right Now