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Padded Room

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Editors’ Notes

Back in the early to mid-'00s, New Jersey emcee Joe Budden burst onto the scene, riding a wave of success with his party-rocking debut single, "Pump It Up." Padded Room is his third full-length (following the download-only Halfway House), and it follows his usual style of highly personal songs dealing with family drama, mental illness, and his ongoing struggles both inside and outside of the industry. The production is strong throughout, provided by midtier beatmakers like Blastah Beats, The Klassix, and MoSS, who give us appropriately hard-knocking tracks to support Joe's rugged verses. Despite the Hannibal Lector–esque album cover, he tones down the "me so crazy" routine a bit. He instead gets more sensitive and introspective, especially on "Happy Holidays," "Exxxes," and "I Couldn't Help It." Big-name guest spots come courtesy of Game ("The Future") and Fabolous ("Family Reunion Remix"), letting Joe's autobiographical verses remain the star of the show. Whether you're a longtime fan or just got into Joe via the Slaughterhouse crew, this is a strong release from an underrated cult favorite.

Biography

Born: 31 August 1980 in New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The ridiculous success of 50 Cent in early 2003 opened the floodgates for other street-level, mixtape-bred rappers, one of whom was Joe Budden, a Jersey City rapper with a distinct loose-cannon style molded from years of freestyling. Born in Spanish Harlem and raised in Queens, Budden came of age across the Hudson River in Jersey City, which he proudly continued to rep in his rhymes despite its somewhat unsavory reputation relative to more traditional hip-hop breeding grounds like Harlem, Brooklyn,...
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Padded Room, Joe Budden
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