Are you in that mood yet? [Joe Budden & Ill Poetic’s Mood Muzik Third]

May 14th, 2013 by | Tags: ,

I like sad raps a lot, so it should come as no surprise that I spent a fair few years feeling like Joe Budden was one of the nicest rappers out. I’ve fallen off the train these days, but I happened to hear the version of “Ventilation” from Mood Muzik Third on shuffle and it all came flooding back. You can stream the entire record here:

“I got another side I never showed to you/ The side where everybody is disposable/ See relationships are never a threat/ ’cause I’ll erase the history and act like we never met”

Mood Muzik Third is the brainchild of producer Ill Poetic. He merged the acapellas from Budden’s Mood Muzik 3 — the third in a series of mixtapes about feeling bad — and musical elements from Portishead’s album Third, and I assume other assorted Portishead songs here and there. I wasn’t particularly familiar with Budden when I heard this album, though I think I’d heard a guest spot here and there on a Fabolous tape or something. I didn’t know Portishead at all, and still don’t, really. But I like this album a lot.

It works because the music and the lyrics are right in line. The music is deep and bassy, and even a traditional-sounding joint like “All of Me” gives way to something that sounds just a little bit darker than you’d think, with chopped vocal and drum samples and Budden’s voice sitting on top of the beat, sounding just ever-so-slightly distant. “All of Me” doubles back in on itself to the point where the vocal samples are just sounds instead of words and Budden’s anger and frustration with himself and others stands out even more than it normally would.

Budden doesn’t really do the sad-sack confessional joints that come with most sad raps. Self-loathing is common, as is self-pity, but Budden ups the ante to self-hate. There’s an idea in most of these songs that Budden orbits around and sometimes tackles explicitly. The idea is that the Joe Budden of today crawled out of the carcass of Joe Budden from yesterday. Yesterday’s Budden was a bastard. Today’s Budden is trying to be something different, but knows that he has bastard tendencies.

“Some niggas wanted to kill me/ Got locked up and never found me/ So my goal is to catch a charge in that same county/ Picture me getting bumped for a silly hand-off/ The bullpen’s fucked up, just ask Willie Randolph/ See, I could pop a few nickel-plated Glocks, too/ It’s easier to kill niggas than it is not to”

But what makes the lyrics work is that Budden is a reforming bastard with savage lyrics. He consistently puts himself and others on blast, but does it in a way that makes you want to dig deeper. The similies and metaphors click intellectually, and as you mull them over, you realize they click emotionally, too. Mood Muzik Third is about being disappointed and frustrated because you’re being held back from what you could be. There’s an ideal, and then there is you, down here with the rest of us.

You can feel the hate in these bars from “Dear Diary”:

I was one long line away from the Tetris
She sent me the L, that sent me to hell
To the point where I was ignoring my son
I don’t see him, don’t talk to him
I don’t greet him, don’t walk with him
But I pay for him like he’s an object
No matter how right I am in court I can’t object
Dear Diary, how could she deny me?
How she go to bed without it fucking with her psyche?
Is she wrong using him so I can come back?
Or am I wrong for wishing I could get my come back?

There’s no bragging in these joints, no hope that things are getting better. It’s about how Budden feels, and Budden feels bad, jack. It’s catharsis on wax, and I figure that’s why I took to it like I did. He has that perfect combo of talent and subject matter to draw me in, and Ill Poetic’s laced the Portishead samples and beats to perfectly fit Budden’s style.

“Saying ‘Jump Off dont sound right’/ Is blashphemous, down right/I astound mics/ Music is just what feelings sound like”

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One comment to “Are you in that mood yet? [Joe Budden & Ill Poetic’s Mood Muzik Third]”

  1. Mood Muzik 3 was stellar, but Ill Poetic really brought a lot of these songs to life with his remixes. The material sampled sounds perfect with Budden’s melancholy raps. Budden is in a different place these days, but man, his pain led to some brilliant verses.