By Joseph Bonney
Artist: Joe Budden and AraabMuzik
Album: Rage & The Machine
Release Date: Oct. 21, 2016
Label: Mood Muzik Entertainment | EMPIRE
In the past five years or so Joe Budden has been regaining momentum back into mainstream hip-hop. It began when him and his 3 rap colleagues Royce da 5’9”, Joell Ortiz and Kxng Crooked (formerly known as Crooked I) joined together to create the hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse under the Eminem owned label Shady Records. Since then he has dropped 2 solo albums and an EP No Love Lost, Some Love Lost and All Love Lost. You would think he has vented about roughly every subject matter known to man, but out of nowhere he and a frequent producer of his, AraabMuzik, collaborated to drop the Rage and the Machine Project.
Rage and the Machine lyrically is on par with Joe Budden’s last 3 projects. You can tell that his rap style is aging gracefully during a time where rappers of his caliber would’ve fallen off. Tracks like “Serious” (with Slaughterhouse friend Joell Ortiz) prove that he still has ample firepower when it comes to laying down bars. He reminds people why he’s a force to be reckoned with on the track “Uncle Joe”. He shows his age and OG status in hip-hop as well as showcases that he can keep up with the Kendricks and J.Coles of today.
AraabMuzik flexes his production style throughout this album. He’s known for creating hard hitting, heavy 808 anthem like beats. Though on this tape, he managed to pull off a laid back production style on songs like “By Law”, “Flex”, and “Time for Work”. He doesn’t sound out of place either, if anything he should play around with these different styles more often.
Joe Budden’s subject matter hasn’t changed that much in his career, which is the only thing holding this album back. He has been notorious for rapping about the women he’s encountered in his life (devoting whole tracks to some women like Tahiry on “Downfall”), and tough raps about his less than ideal upbringing in New Jersey. Luckily he’s had recent drama with Drake, French Montana, and Charlamagne the God to help add variety on this tape. The project itself is a solid piece that reminds hip-hop heads why they should not sleep on him. He’s an artist that is trying to find his position in the melodic, emotional state of hip-hop. Seeing this album reach number one on the billboard hip-hop charts, maybe he found it.