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Review of A Loose Quarter - By The Certified Genius

“Intro” (Produced by SLV) – A Loose Quarter opens with a Joe Budden and Emanny collaboration over some melodic strings, pianos phrases and head nodding drums. I really love the guitar solo melodies on here and how they blend with the rest of the track without any clutter. So far Joe’s latest project is off to a great start…

“Words Of A Chameleon” (Produced by AraabMuzik) – The intro transitions perfectly into the first song of A Loose Quarter that finds Joe delivering his deepest and darkest secrets over sinister production. There are too many quotable lyrics on here for me to count (think “Dumb Out” but not as long) and the way that they’re laid over the instrumental synth and guitar melodies makes for an excellent song to open with.

“What Y’all Want” (Produced by Darknight and 8 Bars) – Back to that smooth music… Budden finds himself intelligently celebrating his success and dropping personal knowledge with a soul infused track to back him up. This is a perfect song to ride out to and the way the producers were able to build their own instruments on top of the sample is amazing (see the “making of” video below). I also really like the incorporation of the vocal harmonies on here as well.

“Like That” featuring Ab-Soul (Produced by Cardiak) – Ab-Soul kicks this song off spitting his rhymes over pianos, strings and militant snare rolls. This is another relaxed song and I have no complaints about that. The production is on point as are the lyrics. My favorite part of this track is how the pianos and strings build up throughout the verses and lead up to a chorus full of percussion change ups and Ab-Soul’s vocals.

“Through My Eyes” featuring Tsu-Surf (Produced by AraabMuzik) – Hello darkness my old friend… Yes, Joe and Tsu-Surf bring the darkness back to the tape with a real banger full of both MCs serving deeply personal and complex lyrics on top of a sinister but jazzy beat. The saxophone harmonies throughout this track provide the perfect balance to the grimy vibe of the other sounds. As of now this is probably my favorite beat on the project so far.

“Mama Said” (Produced by Beewirks) – Mood Muzik fans rejoice… “Mama Said” is the song for you. Some may have mixed feelings about the auto tuned vocals on the opening but personally I think they’re a nice touch but nothing can top Joe’s deep and emotionally inspired words throughout the rest of the song. The reverb soaked snares as well as the arpeggiator synths, strings and pianos provide a stellar backdrop for Joe to do what he does best. The changes on the production here are plenty and I really appreciate how this song transitions perfectly to the next one.

“Off 2 The Races” (Produced by Blessed By The Beats) – Scratch what I said, this is my favorite song and this is definitely the song for Mood Muzik fans. This sample flip was done so well both by the producer and by Joe in terms of coming up with a great concept. There is nothing bad to say about this song or beat because they are a match made in Heaven and complement each other perfectly (I have a feeling this is one of those songs Joe just zoned out to and wrote in 10 minutes). The producer of this record managed to turn a pop song into a soulful and emotion-stirring instrumental that works perfectly for this song and is perfect from intro to outro.

“The Helmet (Interlude)” featuring Mal and Emanny (Produced by SLV) – Mal and Emanny provide comic relief on this interlude from the standpoint of a guy trying to pick a girl up on Twitter. This skit is funny but it does get old after a little bit and loses some of the comic effect (personally I’m more of a fan of the Killa BH skits such as “The Shoes” from Mood Muzik 4).

“So Good” featuring Emanny (Produced by AraabMuzik) – “So Good” shows Joe Budden in a more calm, mature and laid back space. The beat here features a soul filled sample with vocal and string harmonies galore. Joe’s subject matter finds him giving us the intimate details of his current relationship as well as opening up emotionally. I really like the smooth vibe going on here; this may not be my favorite record so far but it’s dope and definitely works to provide a nice balance on the mixtape.

“So Hard” featuring Emanny (Produced by Studio Magic) – This is a very intimate and sexual record that features a very melodic sample over rim shots and bass drums. The Cam’ron vocal sample on the chorus is a nice addition as are the guitar solos and piano phrases that come in towards the end of the song. The production here is pretty solid, especially the way this record winds down with the extra instruments intertwining with Emanny’s vocals. No complaints from me on this track.

“Dreams (Interlude)” featuring Trev Rich (Produced by S. Jones) – I’d never heard Trev Rich before I heard this record but he holds his own and I’m looking forward to hearing more from him. Joe holds back and lets Trev handle this interlude solo and he does a great job in the process. The production has a hype feel to it with hard drums and synth melodies while Trev spits pain inspired lyrics from his struggles in life. This was definitely a nice change of pace in the project. I really like how the beat winds down and builds up throughout this interlude, very cool.

“Pain Won’t Stop” (Produced by DJ Pain One) – One thing I really love about this song is how it goes from almost inspiring and upbeat on the chorus to more pensive and deep on the verses. The bells and strings that play throughout this track provide the perfect soundtrack for Joe’s emotion filled rhymes. This is a solid track overall from the beats to the rhymes but after a few listens I wasn’t really feeling the chorus so much.

“All In My Head” featuring Royce Da 5’9” and Kobe (Produced by Cardiak) – This is definitely more Mood Muzik and you can’t go wrong with a chorus from Kobe or a Royce Da 5’9” feature, making this one of my personal favorites from A Loose Quarter. The hook is definitely on-point and the pianos on this beat will help you zone out. The brass harmonies throughout that build up to the chorus work perfectly as well providing evenness on the production and making it sound more full.

“More Of Me” featuring Emanny (Produced by Cardiak) – Joe Budden fans will appreciate this one; the part two to “All Of Me”. Although this beat is the same sample from the original Joe track there’s definitely enough changes to make it unique (aside from the drums). This is Joe Budden at his best; delving into his personal stories and going in over a deep track for about 6 minutes straight. The quotable lyrics on here are more than memorable and make this worth keeping in rotation.

“Now Or Never” featuring Emanny (Produced by Doe Pesci) – A Loose Quarter ends on a positive and inspirational note over a piano and tom-roll filled beat. I really how the pianos on here hit with cymbal crashes to give this track a sampled feel. Also, I really enjoyed the strings that play throughout the track as well as the guitar solo melodies that come in towards the end of the project.

Anyone who knows me well knows that Joe Budden is one of my favorite artists and is in my top 5 so I hold him to a very high standard. To put it simply, Joe does not disappoint on A Loose Quarter and provides us with more of an album than a mixtape. Budden’s latest project also plays out as an emotional roller coaster, taking us through the ups and downs he faces on a daily basis. I rate this project as a 4/5 because although it is very solid, there are a few records on here that I’ll probably skip over after a few listens, mainly because some of the choruses didn’t hold my attention.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: Joe Budden , Off 2 The Races , Review

Admin December 23, 2012 2:00 AM
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