I Can't Call It - Rage & The Machine: Joe Budden

Posted On Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Anybody who knows me knows Joe Budden is my guy. I've been rocking with dude since I saw him in concert back in '09 and since that time I've defended Joe countless times against my peoples who swear Joe is wack. (namely my Writer's Bech brethren) One of the beefs my folk have with Joe is that he raps about his personal life too much which is bugged to me cause that's one of the very reasons why I love Joe's style. But I won't hold you, through all of these No Love Lost, All Love Lost, Some Love Lost albums I am kinda sick of hearing about Joe's love life over and over and over again. Right about now, I just wanna hear Joe spit. I could care less about what dime piece he's smashing or about whatever break ups to make ups he's going through. So with all of that said I didn't know what to expect from Joe's new project "Rage & The Machine" that's being cooked up dolo by Arab Muzik (who I've never been a fan of BTW) but even without knowing if I'm gonna be hearing about Tahiry, Kaylin, Ester and/or Cyn for the next 60 minutes,  there's absolutely no way there some new Joe Budden out in these streets and I'm not listening to it.

"Rage & The Machine" sets off crazy with "Three" and has Joe setting the stage for the rest of the album, "microphone check it's something new y'all rage, these views only prelude from the dude on stage/I'm old school so my mind is in a New York state, still feel like I'm the best rapper in the New York State/though I'm a Jersey City product, we like two doors away, maybe I'm just the best rapper whipping New York plates/indeed it be the God If Fetty is the face of New Jerz, then you see how badly we needed I" but the real star of this banger is the breakdown where Joe give Arab a good minute to just let the beat breath. "Uncle Joe" has Joe breaking down how he may be getting old but he's still feels young enough to bang a 25 year old & her mom if they're cute enough while also speaking on these new jack rappers, "staring at you new niggas still from an older state, it's feeling like Oscar Robertson watching Golden State" while "Serious" pairs Joe up with his Slaughterhouse brethren Joell Ortiz and has them going back and forth a la EPMD and reminds cats just how nice these two are. "By Law" is dope and has Joe switching flows to match what Arab is throwing at him, "Forget" is some soulful boom bap and has Joe breaking down his struggle to remember everybody he's crossed paths with over the years while "I Gotta Ask" has Joe & Arab making Jay's "Hard Knock Life" their own. "Standing in the cypher rocking, to driving some of the hottest cars New Jersey's ever seen/to dropping some of the dopest mixtapes that you ever heard, and it's all courtesy of weed a couple of percs and lean/I wish you niggas that would owe me some bread would come and drop it off, I wish she start tongueing a girl but she won't pop it off/wish I knew you wasn't with the shit so what you hopping for, when pussy's thrown your way every nanosecond it's not an option ya'll/normally a sponge but this some shit I just cannot absorb, why ya'll are dressed like Metro Boomin I wish you would knock it off/wish the best MC didn't mean who is more popular, but I just booked my next nine months ready to lock and more."                                      


One thing I always gotta salute Joe for is while most MC's radio songs are wack or the sore thumb on the album, Joe's radio singles are always bangers and "Rage's" 1st single "Flex" featuring Tory Lanez and Fabolous is no different. "Wrong One" and "Time To Work" are both dope and the latter has Joe going back & forth from spittin' to playing radio DJ and "I Wanna Know" is Joe's most personal song on the album and has Joe going in on what he knows best...relationships. "Let me tell you how I pictured this a few houses a couple businesses, striving for greatness we would be each other's witnesses/and during beef we both would put aside our differences, where I ain't flinch a bit making you insignificant/maybe kids and shit perfect arithmetic, meaning we could build our own world and co-exist in it/she a synergy sharing energy, let our souls mate in the air if you remember me/now here's what I did with it, went out my way to fuck these stripper chicks, lost good girls making them mistresses/Just savages, missed marriages, they all was my babies, I needed those miscarriages/my worthless self when Joe felt hurt I went out and targeted women who had no self worth." And the album ends with the BANGER "Idols" that has Joe taking a page outta J. Cole's book saluting some of his favorite MC's, "long live your idols, may they never be your rivals/Rakim was like Jesus, Chuck D wrote the Bible/G Rap was God, I learned to punch from Kane/lived in Queens so on Farmers we would see Todd James/remember the cover of black panther with the fat gold chains, then Slick Rick had a million of 'em so I wanted a million of 'em/back in my first days, when we ain’t know who was the nicest nigga in 3rd Base, which emcee was the worst/before my emcee search some niggas thought Pete Nice, me, I thought MC Search" and the 2nd verse even has him saluting his former rival Jay Z, "if you live long you see your idols be your rivals, Hov was like the GOAT congratulations on Tidal/salute you broke through many barriers for us, when we couldn’t move the needle you carried us for us" but the real magic happens when the beat switches for the 3rd verse and has Joe really going in and taking a nice 'lil jab at Drake, "so if I’m gone when tomorrow come, the mission for my only-born when tomorrow come/how will we receive songs when tomorrow come, here’s my study for understudies to borrow from/new Rage & Machine nigga we got this, is what you hear when label ideas meet a plot twist/Used to be faded from the killer talk, now we suffocating from the pillow talk/every verse like, damn, y’all love chivalry They offer me fame as a man, I chose dignity/guess everything ain’t for everybody, maybe everybody ain’t for everything/it ain’t a thing, I’m looking through my career, I’m more the long game dude on how I choose to prepare/not the richest, just the sickest, ask the dudes in your tier, knew if I made it to the top I’d hate the views from up there."                                  

I think the most shocking thing to me about "Rage..." are the beats. Like I said earlier, I've never been a fan of Arab like that. I mean, I know he's a MONSTER on the MPC to the point he damn near brought Alchemist to tears watching him live but he's always reminded me of that ill freestyle MC who can come off the top about everything around him for 30 minutes straight but can't make a dope song to. Or that Rucker Park legend who drops 50 in the park with his eyes closed but couldn't make a NBA summer league squad to save his life. But this go round Arab really brought the heat for Joe & he sounds damn good over it. To be honest with ya'll, "Rage..." is the project I've been wanting from Joe for a minute now. He's straight spittin', the beats are dope & are the most boom bap I've ever heard him rock over and he's still getting a 'lil personal but not enough that you think you watching him on Love & Hip Hop. And with all those things I just named poppin' off what else could I really want from Joe?

4 outta 5 mics

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