If given the chance, Shea Serrano would punch Ed Hardy in the nose. 

In 2004, a somewhat mildly attractive girl that I’d met only once prior, gave me an over-the-pants hand-job in the laundry room of an apartment complex; I suspect it was due in large part to Joe Budden(1).

It’s a common tale, really. Basically, I lifted several bars from Budden’s call-out track “Bullshit Rappers and Metaphors,” pawned them off as my own during a cipher at a house party, and totally wrecked some guy’s shit. Budden’s barbs were considerably more well-received than my usual awkward attempts to rhyme things like “horseback riding” and “law abiding.” Thus, I won the affection of a girl that has no doubt gotten more and more attractive with each subsequent telling of this story.

So naturally, for me, Mr. Budden’s efforts are received with open ears(2) –despite his official sophomore album’s spotty nature. Mind you, individually, several of the tracks from Padded Room are still better than 90 percent of the songs released this year. “Exxxes” is a surprisingly heartrending broken-man track, containing the authentic sorrow that Kanye grasped at so blatantly. “Blood On The Wall” is thoroughly New York in its superego. And “Pray For Me,” the album’s clear standout, is as introspective as anything Budden’s ever offered -not to mention there’s a 35 second span where he goes absolutely bananas with it.

Padded Room strives for introspection, with Budden in a meditative mode. Long recognized as a consummate mixtape MC, Buddens has uncompromising intellectual integrity. He’s blessed with the odd ability to present his own schizophrenic shortcomings in a way that humanizes his temperament, without resorting to hyperbole. An LP capable of successfully dissecting his id would be unquestionably great.

But too often on Padded Room Budden fumbles through an ill conceived effort (“Adrenaline,”(3) or offers filler like “Happy Holidays.” The latter featuring Joey spitting  gibberish about not wanting presents. If you’ve ever argued that it’s impossible to reference a Christmas tree in a rap song without sounding absurd, this track strengthens your point. This isn’t the Budden album you’ve have been waiting six years for. But it’ll still probably get you a hand-job, which is reason enough to buy a copy.


(1) Who hasn’t Budden helped get masturbated though, right?

(2) Sure, the odds against a situation like that presenting itself again are astronomical, but the possibility of receiving a hand-job from a stranger pretty much marginalizes any mathematical argument for not memorizing lyrics solely for that cause.

(3) This is a Slayer-esque metal track. It doesn’t work out the way Buddens hoped. Sort of like polygamy, or wearing an s-curl.


MP3: Joe Budden-“Do Tell”
MP3: Joe Budden-“Pray For Me”

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!