"No Love Lost" is a blend of mainstream and classic mood music that has Joe Budden bearing his emotions on the topic of love. While fans will find the project enjoyable, the album suffers, at times, from a lack of direction despite its clear theme. Nonetheless, the album is a welcome addition from the VH1 star, showcasing his undeniable lyricism and versatility.
It’s been a while since Joe Budden has blessed fans with an album, as the last studio album he released was Padded Room in 2009. Fans that have been listening to Joey since his mixtape days will be able to identify with Mouse’s new found maturity and growth on this album, which is appropriately titled. New fans, on the other hand, should able to see how the Jersey MC is not afraid to be raw and emotional on the album. We've seen the Jersey native's uncut honesty a lot as of late, his pre-album mixtape, A Loose Quarter, was in the same vein.
From the start, if we look at the tracklist there seems to be quite a few names that aren't usually associated with the Slaughterhouse MC. This was a risk for Budden, as some of his loyal fans seemed to have mixed thoughts about certain features. As well, it seems the features, which may have been intended to make Joe more accessible, didn't quite do the trick-- the album is only projected to sell 25-30k in the first week. However, do not let the numbers fool you. Once the music is digested, listeners should be satisfied.
As soon as the intro concludes, Joe kicks the album off with a few songs that may be have been surprising for fans. Track number two entitled “Top Of The World” featuring the Houston native, Kirko Bangz, was the first example. Joe really delivered a message with this track. He spits thought-provoking lines with a fast flow. The hard-hitting beat only adds to the energy of the cut. “She Don’t Put It Down,” which was the LP’s lead single, is another track that we might not have seen from Joe if it was a few years earlier. Although at first, it seemed like Lil’ Wayne and Joe Budden might not be a good fit together, the song isn't out of Joe’s lane. With R&B veteran, Tank, on the hook, Joe still finds a way to flex his lyrical muscles over the T-Minus instrumental with Tunechi providing a solid 16 for the cut. One of the standout songs of album, “N.B.A.,” proves the rapper's versatility, as he makes a pretty seamless transition on this cut. French Montana and Wiz Khalifa had key roles on this track and provide an unmatched energy over the Vinylz and Boi-1da instrumental. Finally, we can't forget “Last Day”. Joe is joined by two great features, Lloyd Banks and Juicy J. All three rappers spit a hard flow over the high-energy beat from A6.
One of the key elements of this project are the vocals provided by the up-coming R&B crooner, Emanny. The NY native has been working with Joe Budden since Mood Muzik 3. Whether it was “You and I,” “Ghetto Burbs,” “Tell Him Something,” or even the intro, “Our 1st Again,” the singer delivered time and time again. The chemistry between the two was very evident throughout the LP. The versatility of Emmany, along with Budden’s lyrical genius made for great collaborations on this album.
On “Skeletons” Joe enlists the help of fellow his Slaughterhouse members Joell Ortiz and Crooked I and it is another standout song on the album. "Skeletons" is the type of the heartfelt song that has made Joe the MC he is today. On this track, Joe finds a way to release some demons while also painting a picture to the listener about some of his problems that make him who he is. Joell Ortiz and Crooked aren't to be outdone on this cut either, as they talk about a few things that are near and dear to their hearts. The smooth Frequency beat supply the balance needed for these personal lyrics.
All in all, the album is a strong effort, although not without its shortcomings. With an impressive showing of producers and features, Mouse still manages to put his versatility on display. No Love Lost has songs for many types of music lovers. There are bangers for the club-goers, joints for hip hop lovers, songs addressed to the ladies and some probably reserved for Budden himself. The bottom line is that fans who are looking for a complete body of work, with lyricism and style, should look no further than No Love Lost.