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When I ask Hip-Hop listeners their opinion on Joe Budden, it’s just simply hate or love for Joey.  Maybe it’s because of his very blunt and outspoken attitude that may come off as cocky that some people may not like.  Or maybe it’s because Joe would rather rap about what he wants than what the people want.   However, in Escape Route,  we get an in depth look into the mind of Mr. Budden, which may just change your perspective on him.

Escape Route is a prelude to Joey’s upcoming 3rd studio album The Great Escape and Joe gives us both a preview of what is to come with his new album, while clearing things and disputes that he has encountered in the past.  As we start this CD Joe goes hard already on the intro with a heavy beat and some big punchlines.  Joe spits about the demons that he has inside of him, and tells us it’s not right to judge him since we do not know what is really going on in Joe’s life.  Joe continues this theme in his next song “Anti” which he gets gully about how raw he is and how he does not give a Fawk about what you think. He ends this track:

“Be clear, I ain’t here to be friends, you can dislike me, I ain’t here to pretend, run but you can’t hide, I can’t lie, told n*ggas in the first two bars I was anti!”

If you can’t tell by the quote above, this is why some people are not too fond of Joey and feel he is too arrogant for his own good.  However, Joe’s next song is a complete change of pace as it uses an almost dark rock-emo instrumental to help Joe get real.  Instead of hearing the Fawk me, Fawk you that you would usually hear, in “Never Again”  Joe gets real personal reencountering certain situations in his life he claimed he would never do again, only to find himself doing it again.

Budden continues to give us a look into his soul a couple tracks later with “Forgive Me.”  This track, which is also a personal apology for the past altercation with Method Man, not only tries to justify why he is the way he is but almost seems he apologize for it with lyrics like:

“Might say some things that’s outlandish, but when I do I’m thinking without standards, I apologize take it as a letter, despite of my actions just know I was raised better.”

As tracks like “State of You” and “Good Enough” play, we get the same personal rap that Joey expresses as he tries to unravel himself out his web of emotions.  It isn’t until “No Comment,” when Joe gets back to doing what he did through most of his “Mood Musik” series, stating his opinion.

Joey seems to be responding to most of the internet bloggers who question his controversial rapping in this song and starts to get back to his gritty flow.  This attitude continues to the next record “We Outa Here” which features all of Slaughter House including producer Street Runner.  Though the hook is some annoying autotune  Shyte( cuz what is an album without one?)  Slaughter House as they always do, come correct and spit some hot lines on this change of rate upbeat song.   One of my favorite parts of the whole album is on this track when Joey’s voice starts off robotic and deep and eventually escalating to his regular voice.  It’s something different and creative.

As the track spins, once Slaughter House disperses so does Joey’s grimey flow.  In both songs

“Clothes on a Mannequin” and “Freight Train,” the jump off tries to once again show he isn’t as bad as the public wants him to seem.  I understand that Joey is manning up and I do respect it, however, by this time it gets pretty irritating listening to him try to clear his name for the things he said.

If being harsh and gully is your style then stick to it.  It is not necessary to call yourself a monster in 3 CD’s since 2007 and try to make it better now.  It takes a feature from Young Chris (yes from the Young Gunz, YES they are still making music!) that Budden gets back to his hard metaphors and his Fawk you attitude in the album’s last track “Connect 4.”  Joe also shows some real nice word play with a couple lines where he uses board game metaphors:

“Off putting words together like Scrabble, Build your own Monopoly, they just gonna attack you, Cant Pictionary it, they gonna think its Taboo!”

So, after only 12 tracks the album is done.  There are 2 bonus tracks you can hear, but you got to buy it directly from the Amalgam Digital website. (Which I did not do).   Overall Joe does show a good mixture between his usually jump off and his personal emotions.  Though I think he tends to focus more on his emotions a lot. This album is still worth putting on that iPod.  If this indeed is a preview before the final piece of his third studio album trilogy then I think Budden fans will be completely happy with the outcome.

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