Joe Budden-Escape Route Review

Hot on the heels of the news/track we brought you on Monday, and the official release on Tuesday, comes the review of Escape Route.

I’m delighted that Joe chose to switch this from a short EP to a full-length album. It’s always good to have a body of material from him, and much like his previous releases, this doesn’t disappoint. Click below for the review!

Joe Budden is on his intense, introspective game on Escape Route. He delivers a slightly more consistent style of hip-hop to that found on Padded Room: on the whole, they are more thoughtful, reflective tracks where Joe goes in as hard as he’s ever gone, which isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, just different. Special credit to him for keeping the number of features to an absolute minimum too, it’s good to see rappers putting faith in their own ability.

Let’s kick this off with the Intro: Who doesn’t love that Requiem For A Dream sample? I’ve heard a few rappers go in over this beat/sample, and Budden ranks up there with the best I’ve heard over it. The beat is appropriate to the lyrics, and makes this Intro a great song in it’s own right. It’s a perfect introduction to the album, and sets a dark, gritty, yet atmospheric tone for the following tracks. The second track, Anti, impressed me less. Whether it’s because the Intro is so good, or because Anti isn’t,  it doesn’t really strike me as something I’m going to be throwing in my rotation. It might grow on me, and it’s by no means a poor song.

Never Again pulls Budden back to that slower, more melodic type of track that we saw a few times on Padded Room, predominantly in the shape of tracks such as Exxes and I Couldn’t Help It. It is certainly different to those lyrically though, and some of the lyrics give you a real insight into Joe’s mind and life. This song really hit me for a another reason though, and gave me a realisation about this entire album: Joey keeps talking about finding an ‘escape route’…

Is he trying to get out of hip-hop? It certainly doesn’t sound like he’s harbouring much affection.

World Keeps Spinnin
‘ is anoter more melodic track, but probably somewhat more soulful in terms of it’s production and the fact it’s somewhat more hook-heavy. It’s one of my favourite beats on the album, and lyrically is another deep insight into an aspect of Budden’s life. In particular, the lines about his grandmother are certainly powerful, and really get you thinking, and begin to solidify my thoughts on the ‘Escape Route’…

Joe keeps that introspective, soulful vibe going with Forgive Me. The sample in this is a fantastic addition to the production, and rightfully used as a hook on it’s own, such is it’s strength. Joe addresses a few of his recent beefs here, specifically the Method Man issues. This is an all-round good track, and really shows Joe Budden in a more humbled, human way. Joe admits he’s made errors, admits he will make errors, and admits it in an honest, believable way.

State Of You throws in another sampled voice, but isn’t quite as striking as the above song, although likeable nonetheless. It’s got some nice lines, but is more effective when listening to the album as a whole, as opposed to a standalone track. Good Enough reels the production back a little, and keeps it low-key to allow Joe to do his thing over the top. This, along with No Comment, is certainly aimed at those who are listening in for something a little more raw and gritty.

We Outta Here
needs no introduction. You picked it up from here on Monday, and it’s frankly awesome. Royce opens with a hard verse, and Budden throws some vocal steps at the start of his verse that definitely makes his flow memorable. Crooked is Crooked, and delivers lyrically every time. Joell Ortiz…well, finally, I like him. His verse is more shocking than anything-anyone heard him flow like that?!  Well done Joell, you’ve won me over. This track is a bit of a surprise, as it doesn’t really ‘fit in’ with the tracks around it in terms of tone and content, and the fact it is an anomaly is probably one of the reasons it sounds so good.

Clothes On A Mannequin is a return to the dark ‘escape route’ vibe, and ties in nicely with my thoughts on Never Again. Joe goes hard, and through his tone shows how hard it is to play the game of hip-hop music. Clothes On A Mannequin can be picked up here.

Freight Train has a haunting, yet powerful effect that is immediately reminiscient of Pray For Me in terms of the combination of Budden’s delivery and the production, although the lyrical content is different. It’s great hearing Joe on these sorts of beats, as he seems to exhibit a freedom that allows him to switch up his flows and create differing levels of intensity to match the direction of the beat.

Connect 4 is the album closer. It’s an upbeat track, with production that almost makes you genuinely see the light at the end of the tunnel, given the dark negativity preceding it. Young Chris does his thing on this, and the short track is a nice, albeit not outstanding, ending to the album.

In conclusion, I’d recommend you copped this album. It’s available right now on Amalgam Digital for $8.99 (which is only about £5.50 for us in the UK!) . It’s a welcome slice of real hip-hop, and the positives far outweight the very few negatives on this. It’s only a precursor to The Great Escape too, which Budden has declared to be his ‘best album ever’, and if this is just a precursor to it, he’s probably right.

…But is it his ‘Great Escape’ from hip-hop?

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5 comments to Joe Budden-Escape Route Review


    Thanks for the review

    Whatevever happen,Joe budden will stay like like and understand man and artist for a lot a people.

    In my opinion,he’s just a young man trying to be a man who not fear to show his emotion and weakness just for that I love him.

    Guigui from france.

  • Notorious Indi

    Great review, I can’t wait to listen to this album – especially after reading that the 1st track samples Requiem For A Dream! One of the reasons why I’ve been such a big fan of Joe Budden throughout the years is his ability to make such superb introspective emotional songs, so I am going to love this album no doubt.

  • Actually the Intro is done over Requiem for a Tower, a song written based off the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack for a Lord of the Rings commercial. You can hear it here (and laugh):

  • ajay182

    Thanks for the info!

  • Amir tbh

    This cd the best Joey cd ever u must be dusted if u dnt like this

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