Joe Budden – Mood Muzik 2 – 10th Anniversary


What can I say about this album mixtape except for it impacted my life the heaviest, deepest and hardest.

You know, just what a mixtape normally does.

The mixtape—you could call it an album—was amazing. I’m not exaggerating or overselling it. It was indeed that.

Ten years later, and I still find this mixtape to be that great.

Fun Fact: It’s its tenth anniversary because I remember it leaking on this day. Do some research if you don’t believe me.

It featured Joe Budden at his best.

It featured his rapping ability, his lyricism, his storytelling and his introspectiveness. Budden hit us with everything. He showed his versatility. He wasn’t just a mixtape rapper nor was he about to let us box him into the category that came with the stigma from the success of “Pump It Up”.

He showed his range in rapping.

He’d go off on an onslaught with other lyrical monsters Jae Millz and Stack Bundles on “6 Minutes of Death,” then contemplate death a few songs later on “If I Die Tomorrow.” Next, he would go back to rapping his ass off (“Dumb Out”) about the current state of hip-hop before creating a detailed picture and story on “Three Sides To A Story.”

You can’t put Joe in a box like you can with other rappers. As an example, let’s use Chingy. Chingy was known back then for his radio hits. “Right Thurr” and “One Call Away” were big radio hits. You come to expect songs like that from him. You don’t expect Chingy to hop on a beat, freestyle and give to DJ Clue or DJ Whoo Kid. You could fit Chingy’s style in a box. This comparison shouldn’t be taken as disrespect towards Chingy. I liked his music back then.

For a current comparison, look at Flo Rida. How many hits does this man have? The answer is who knows but I know it’s a lot. Flo has created a brand that seems to target the clubs and radio, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s making serious money from it. He’s known for those records. Dude has performed everywhere from WWE WrestleMania to NBC’s Today show. Knowing this, you would put Flo Rida in the category of “pop,” you wouldn’t expect him to hop on a record with 50 Cent or Rick Ross and do their type of records, its too risky for his brand he built.

Okay, back to Mood Muzik 2.

That “6 Minutes of Death” record was an example of some of the rap I was listening to back then: mixtapes/freestyles. I was a mixtape fiend back then, so I welcomed that track.

I can’t remember exactly why I peeped this mixtape. It could’ve been my fascinating with mixtapes at the time; it could’ve been my reaction to his “Sing For The Moment” freestyle, or the lead single (can’t recall which came first, “Dumb Out” or “Three Sides To A Story”)? I honestly don’t remember but for whatever reason, I’m glad I did.

I just remember vibing to it once I heard it.

Could I relate to the music? I would say to a point.

Could I relate to Joe’s heartache and depression on this mixtape? Maybe a little.

Was I depressed at the time? I honestly don’t know. I was in high school at the time. Life was okay. It wasn’t the best nor was it horrible. High school was “normal” to be. I had an average stay there.

Let’s say I was a bit depressed and that’s a possibility, and records like “If I Die Tomorrow” and “Stained,” records I don’t think I had heard before, made me feel a certain way. Maybe that sadness within me, that bit of depression I had, came to the forefront when those records played.

Up until then, I never heard such emotion, such honesty, DEPRESSION on a record before. It caught my attention and made me react to it. It made me analyze my life and begin to compare and question: am I going through something similar but on a smaller scale?

Maybe this album mixtape hit me as hard as it did because I was a teenager that was still finding himself in a cluster of two worlds: high school and the real world. The mixtape could’ve shown me a glimpse of my future, one that shows that whatever is happening presently, will not matter in a few years.

All the high school stuff that seems to label, categorize and isolate people is stupid and bullshit. Your problems are minimal and don’t have a big effect on your future. You’ll get through whatever bullshit is going on. That girl that rejected me won’t matter in a few years. That bullshit your mad about isn’t a big deal, it’s just the shit that comes with high school.

I’m not sure if there’s a real reason why this mixtape hit me as it did. In all honestly, it could’ve been just the music.

Joe’s honesty, emotion, pain, openness, etc. on a public medium could be the reasons why I treasure this mixtape as much as I do.

Or it could be a combination of all three reasons stated above. I can’t give you a clear, concise answer.

In retrospect, as I sit here on Sunday, December 27, 2015, watching the 1999 and 2000 Royal Rumble and sipping on some Jack Daniels and Coke, I ponder about my love for Mood Muzik 2.

I think the real reason why I fuck with MM2 is the last reason.

A combination of never hearing music like this before, the fact that I was still figuring myself out and maybe some sadness in my life lead me to this mixtape.

I had never heard songs like “Are You In The Mood Yet” before. I had yet to hear a rapper speak about financial hardships. Usually, you’d hear a rapper brag about how much money they have whether they have it or not. Also, I’d yet to hear a rapper talk about problems that arise from his child’s mother. The realness and honesty Joe gives in the song—who else would dare to admit that they asked their partner get an abortion? That shit is too personal. What other rapper would imply that he is a dead-beat father? I’d have issue sharing the last two bit of information with others.

Depression, how depressed can you really be as a teenager? I’m not here to make light of it I honestly want to know. I’m asking a question. I can relate more to “If I Die Tomorrow” now that I’m 26 that I did at 16.

Some of the shit Budden says in the song just hits you.

It makes me think of “Pray For Me.” He brought up things on “Pray For Me” that I’ve thought about and questioned a higher power about.

On “If I Die Tomorrow,” I get the same vibe. There some lines on there that I can relate to. I, too, would want to leave before my loved ones. I wouldn’t want to be put through a situation where I have to see my loved ones leave but odds are, I will. Plus, the line Budden says about not being religious hits me right in the chest. I feel that way.

Here’s some more honesty from me: there’s a few times on “If I Die Tomorrow” were I’ve shed a tear. That’s how much I think of the content of that song. That song is dope that it hits you and makes you show emotion.

Okay, I think I’ve said enough about this amazing mixtape. My glass of Jack and Coke is empty. It’s late and I have to wake up early for work.

If you got anything out of this just know one thing: I fucking love Mood Muzik 2. It helped me through stuff. It had an impact on my life. I’ve used this to prepare myself for exams, as well as to remind myself that life will get better.

Plus, how can I forget: it helped spearhead my love, respect and appreciation for the Joe Budden.

For all these reasons, I hold this fucking mixtape in high regards. It may fail in comparison to Mood Muzik 3—it’s debatable—but to me, it’s perfect, it’s the best.

Or how Budden called it: the worst.


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