No Love Lost
After a four-year hiatus from releasing a solo project, the rapper Joe Budden returns with his third album No Love Lost. Loyal fans will undoubtedly know about Budden's signature brand of lyrically conscious and relatable rap, and he is at his utmost best when he stays faithful to that blueprint. The rapper tackles dark subject matter on Castles, Skeletons in My Closet and All in My Head, all of which exhibit the technical lyricism that has resulted in his decade-long longevity. However, there are times when you are left feeling like Budden is trying to do too much all at once on this record; his attempts at commercial appeal can come off as contrived at certain points and a hefty chunk of the album is let down by substandard production, generic hooks and superfluous skits. The album's first single She Don't Put It Down, featuring a disappointing paint-by-numbers verse from Lil Wayne, is Budden's shameless attempt at a club banger that looks good on paper but in reality falls short. While No Love Lost isn't a horribly disappointing rap album by any means, it also isn't an extraordinary one either.