Liner Note Author: Joe Budden.
Recording information: 934 Studios, Totowa NJ; Headqcortez Studios, NY.
Illustrator: Princess Miller.
With his 2015 LP following in the footsteps of his No Love Lost album and his Some Love Lost EP, New Jersey native Joe Budden may have nominated himself as hip-hop's greatest nihilist, but then why does he offer all the vivid rhymes and worthwhile music? All Love Lost is full of both, beginning with its intro/title track, which gives up Budden's greatest motivation with "They're patiently waitin' for my fortune's reversal," because success will be his sweet revenge. "Slaughtermouse" is more ruminative with "I guess I'm askin', 'How would you do it?'" addressing Budden's supergroup Slaughterhouse and why they aren't a household name, while "Immortal" entertains the idea that leaving the rap game makes a man more "free" because "If the words didn't rhyme, what would I do for a livin'?/But I've been dead for so long, I figure I'm due for some livin'." Highlight "Broke" moves to the album's main theme of love with naked and honest lyrics such as "Say I pushed you out the door, and you did what you had to do/Now you play the victim like I wasn't impacted too," and with an epic beat from producer Louis Hill, plus some uncredited, attractive female vocals, it's a track straight from the house of Shady even if the LP's label reads "eOne." The plush "Make It Through the Night" ("School of hard knocks, just reppin' my alma mater") with Jadakiss and Marsha Ambrosius represents how pleasingly slick the album can get, while the ghostly, AraabMuzik-produced "Love, I'm Good" ("Surround yourself with bullshit, you'll be liable to step in it") comes from the LP's more adventurous side. With 12 strong tracks, this one is right-sized, too, even with a handful of numbers crossing the six-minute mark. With all these elements in place, All Love Lost is one of the MC's best releases, and that's including his great Mood Muzik series of mixtapes. ~ David Jeffries