Hip-hop is easily accessible, but not for the right reasons. The genre is often times victim of lack of variation, and that's evident in Joe Budden's new record Rage & The Machine.
The album has grit and dirt to it, and it deserves that; tonality is what can define hip-hop artists from one another. You get a sense of Budden's rich voice early on in 'Three,' the synth instrumental finding building with sections and layers of distortion, choirs, and brass punches all sounding under his thick delivery. The album's not all about his vocals though; female vocals provided by Jazzy spice up the record in 'By Law,' and again by Stacy Barthe towards the end of the record in 'I Wanna Know.'
The vocals are about as much credit as the album can get, though. Much of the rest of the record is bland and cliché: the story of an abusive drunk uncle in 'Uncle Joe,' for example. It's certainly nothing to joke about, but yet it's still a story we've heard of time and time again, and frankly there's nothing quite interesting about Budden's recollection of it. Many of the other songs fall in the "okay" category, with little, if anything, left to be said about them (see 'Serious' and 'Forget'), while other's just have you ask "why?" The very song that inhibits that is 'I Gotta Ask,' which builds itself up with cool lyrics before ruining it with its lyrics.
The album really has nothing to compliment. The first track is good, and the last song 'Idols' is about... well, his idols. It's a good sentiment, but like mentioned before, it's not something we haven't heard before. Rage & The Machine is another run-of-the-mill hip-hop attempt, not a complete failure but not giving anything of worth to the genre, further saturating an already saturated genre.
Favorite Track: Three
Least Favorite Tracks: I Gotta Ask, Forget, Wrong One
Rating: 58 / 100