Slaughterhouse founder Joe Budden has released his new solo album, No Lost Love. On the heels of November's free A Loose Quarter mixtape, the LP features lead single She Don't Put It Down Like You and "NBA."

Joining Budden on No Lost Love are guests Crooked I, Emanny, French Montana, Joell Ortiz, Juicy J, Kirko Bangz, Lil Wayne, Lloyd Banks, Omarion, Royce Da 5'9", Tank and Wiz Khalifa, while production credits include usual suspects araabMUZIK, Beewirks, Cardiak and T-Minus.

No Love Lost Album Review

A lot of words will be written about Joe Budden’s new album, No Love Lost, but I’m confident I’ll be the only writer who opens their review with a quote from Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Hip-hop likes its artists consistent and predictable. You can be “crazy” or outlandish, just as long as you’re crazy and outlandish in the same way every time. (See also Juicy J, Rick Ross, etc.) But human beings, real human beings, are inherently messy. We contain multitudes, contradictions, even hypocrisies. And with apologies to Kanye West, there may not be a rapper alive today more devoted to revealing his true humanity, contradictions, failures, triumphs and everything else that goes along with being alive, then Joe Budden.

Budden spent his early career with his face splashed on MTV, then spent the next several years raising a middle finger to the major label machine, and is now signed again to a major label…as part of a group. He clearly makes music with mainstream radio play in mind, then will turn around and release a 20 minute drug abuse narrative that mainstream radio wouldn’t dream of touching. He’ll swear he doesn’t give a fraction of a f**k about fame, and then sign up for a VH1 reality show. It should be no surprise then that No Love Lost is just as wide-ranging and complex as its author, but perhaps the biggest testament to Joe’s skill is that the project still sounds cohesive.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, and Budden’s prolific social media output, we know that he’s currently head over….Jordans for his new lady, Kaylin Garcia. In that context is a track like Switch Positions featuring Omarion (aka Mr. “Now That I’m Signed to MMG You Can Still Be Hard And Have Me Sing Your Hook”). As the title may suggest, Positions is as close to a love jam as you’re going to get; in between all the double entedres there is some real, dare I say, true romantic in Joe’s delivery. And Positions has nothing on You And I, which lyrically exhibits some of Joe’s trademark dysfunction, but is ultimately a pretty pure love song. In fact, he just goes ahead and ends each verse with a candid, “I love you.” Get out the bubble bath and rose petals ladies, a kindler and gentler Joe Budden is on the way…

….wait, on second thought, you might not want to be so quick to make No Love Lost the soundtrack to your next seduction. There’s also no shortage of Joe’s trademark audio therapy sessions, although unlike Mood Muzik they’re all a respectable six minutes or under. All In My Head brings on the recently sober Royce Da 5’ 9” for a gripping look at the destructive nature of addiction, while he completes the Slaughterhouse circle by recruiting Joell Ortiz and Crooked I for the fearlessly honest Skeletons. There aren’t many emcees on Earth with the depth and talent to rap like this; in fact, there may only be four, and Joe’s one. The more rock-infused Runaway (in fact, there’s a lot of rock infusion happening on this album), the title track Outro, there’s some serious lyrical firepower throughout No Love Lost, and Budden spends most of that firepower blasting away at his demons.

And then, in between the declarations of love and the relentlessly dark lyrical explorations - and the relentlessly dark declarations of love (word to Castles) - we’re given a series of tracks that might best be described as club bangers featuring some famous rap friends. No Love Lost contains both the original and remix to She Don’t Put It Down, a track that definitely plays in the Bandz A Make Her Dance ballpark, as well as the Wiz and French assisted NBA and the Juicy J-enhanced Last Days (speaking of Bandz).

Ironically, on Slaughterhouse’s welcome to: OUR HOUSE these fluctuations between bearing their hearts on their sleeve and strapping a Rolex to that same wrist left the album feeling scattered, but with Joe’s distinct style steering every track, No Love Lost is a much more cohesive and focused work, despite similar fluctuations. Budden’s pulled off a rare feat, but what can I say, the man’s always defied easy definition. He is large, he contains multitudes.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

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