Joe Budden: Mood Musik 3

The hunger heard from Joe Budden on Mood Muzik 3 is like B. Rabbit struggling to reach the top of the Rap food chain in 8 Mile. He previously experienced moderate success with the single “Pump It Up,” but has had to navigate through his sophomore album The Growth sitting on the shelf longer than his baby pictures. In the process Joe would be then dropped from his recording home Def Jam Records. The Jersey native hasn’t lost a step though. He gives his Rap relevance some C.P.R. with this newest installment of the Mood Muzik series.

Budden creates separation from other mixtapes with the limited use of interludes; making this chapter more like a full-length effort. On the appropriately titled opener “Hiatus,” Joey goes into what has happenend since Mood Musik2. He spits for four minutes straight with no hook; reminding the listener what makes his bars so special. Following up, he shows that while he’s seeking mainstream success he’s just as willing to throw it away on “Ventilation.” He demonstrates a great deal of depth in describing the man that listeners don’t get a glimpse at when the lights are off: “See I want another baby / But my pockets don’t / Normally that wouldn’t bother me/ Until I wake up and get the paper and read that some rich ni**a won the lottery.”

Though he peppers slight jabs at the Carter administration on other tracks (“Talk To ‘Em”), “Roll Call” allows Budden to play the role of critic in his blatant analysis of Jay-Z’s presidency at Def Jam and Hip-Hop as a whole. Over WMS Sultans’ pulsing violins, Budden discusses Hova’s lack of interest in the overall success of his artists: “Just know if you not the president or Kanye/ You won’t see the time of day.”

On a more personal note, The Klasix matches Joe’s heartfelt rhymes perfectly with some somber keys on the Stack Bundles tribute “Send Him Our Love.” Mr. Jumpoff will make listeners want to pour some liquor out with his touching memories of the fallen MC. Things take a more upbeat turn on “Star Inside Of Me” featuring Suzy Q. We find the artist taking a strong look in the mirror and being proud of what he sees. Suzy Q’s Lil’ Mo sounding vocals on the chorus give this song a radio friendly vibe without forcing the issue.

While the tape offers some strong guest appearances from Joel Ortiz (“Warfare”), Fabolous and his former A-Team members Ransom and Hitchcock (“Family Reunion”), joints like the sappy “Invisible Man” and the dull closer “Still My Hood” could have been left on the cutting room floor.

Overall Rap needs Mood Muzik 3. It’s a fresh piece of work where not only the MC scrutinizes the game but himself as well. Whether or not Budden ever gets to drop his sophomore LP, this indelible fact is clear-his unapologetic lyrics will be present for Hip-Hop to study for years to come.