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Joe Budden - Rage & the MachineI’m conflicted when it comes to Joe Budden. On one hand I think he’s one of the dopest, most underrated rappers in the game. And on the other hand his emo tendencies and antics are beyond annoying. Outside of his music, I can only listen to so much of what he has to say. It’s a weird dichotomy. I check for his music but I don’t check for it, if you understand what I mean. He had been promoting Rage & the Machine for some time now and I’ve only had a passing interest in it, but I still had to hear it.

“Normally in the club tucked in the corner, no one to mind me
You niggas go and look for these bitches, they come and find me
Y’all praise it, I be disgusted
Cause I don’t want the points for scoring on easy buckets
(And what else?)
And I don’t count her if she ain’t alter my weekly budget
Or if she Snapchat every portion that we in public
That’s awful, she need to cut it (she need to cut it)”

Joe has become known for his moody music thanks to his Mood Muzik mixtape series, and that carried over to the production. This time around he takes a slight step back from that formula, in particular with the production. Handing over production duties to AraabMUZIK, who is an absolute fucking MPC monster, and it results in probably his most focused sound to date. Araab is great at making those familiar NY boom-bap beats that Joe sounds great on, while still keeping it sounding fresh and up with the times. There are no club hits here, or obvious ploys to garner female listeners. It’s a lot of old school soul sampling and hard hitting drums. It’s authentic, quintessential East coast hip-hop.

“Can’t remember where I seen her, I think it was La Marina
Singing all the words to Trina
Whole demeanor said freak like old pictures of Adina
But now all these broads shaped the same and waist trained”

While the production took a step away from his more emo tendencies, the lyrics on Rage & the Machine are still classic Joe. He uses his music as almost a diary of sorts, as he tells all, and vents about anything and everything. It’s what endeared him to so many people. Aside from the emotional tough guy content, Joe lays down complex, layered lyricism, full of clever wit, metaphors, and topicality. It asserts why he’s widely considered one of the best lyricists in the game and lyric obsessed hip-hop heads are sure to have field day with these dense verses.

Have you heard Rage & the Machine? What’d you think about it? Do you like AraabMUZIK’s production? What was your favorite verse off the album? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.

Joe Budden - Rage & the Machine
Rage & the Machine Reaction
Community Rating1 Vote7.7
Fuego!!!
Flex
By Law
Uncle Joe
Forget
I Gotta Ask
Time for Work
I Wanna Know
Idols
Hard Passes
None
7.7
out of 10
Conclusion
Rage & the Machine is Buddens' most focused project to date. AraabMUZIK kills the production, with smooth soul sampling and hard drums, giving Joe the appropriate space to lay down his dense, layered lyrics. I gotta give it to Joe, he goes the f*ck in and it's pure concentrated dopeness.

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