The Evolution Of Mood Muzik

It has always been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. However in Joe Budden’s case, one’s man personal tribulations have resulted in that same man’s professional growth and a legion of fans’ unabashed acceptance.

The year 2003 was ultimately a gift and a curse for Jersey City’s finest. While his self-titled debut eventually clipped gold status fueled by the hit single “Pump It Up,” that same song would also result in the main detraction for those who were not eager to give his subsequent projects honest listens. Couple that with personal demons, entertainment beefs, relationship conundrums along with a list of other hurdles and Budden’s “mainstream” career appeared over as quickly as it started. Yet, unknown to many at the time – and probably Joe himself – one of the most influential line of mixtapes was in the process of being cultivated.

The Mood Muzik series represented what the title read. There were no industry influenced records, nor was there any intention to cater to certain demographics. It was raw, uncut and, in some cases, disturbingly honest with Joe Budden detailing nearly inch of his life. Coincidentally, the music would manifest into a lyrical therapy session with DJ OnPoint serving as the lone person capable of dealing with Mouse’s mood swings over a sustained period of time. It was almost as if Joey was physically laying on a sofa, illustrating his shortcomings to the world.

Our only obligation was to hear him out.

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Scheduled Appointment: Mood Muzik: The Worst Of Joe Budden

Therapy Assessment: Naming a project “The Worst Of…” takes guts. Either it’ll be a perfect career building block and something the masses will celebrate in the oxymoron or the quality actually matches its title thus resulting in the butt of many a jokes, both in and out the booth. Thankfully for Joe, it worked. Of the four, this was the installment which sounded most “like a mixtape,” but the one which would set the blueprint (no pun intended) for years to come.

Prescribed Medicine


“Bullshit Rappers & Metaphors” – This was during the time when punchlines were everything in Hip-Hop. Budden takes the overexhausted trend and puts it on front street while throwing subliminal shots at The Game and Lloyd Banks.


“Sing For The Moment” – Joey laments on the ride it took him to get this point – the ups, the horrific downs and everything in between – over Eminem’s confessional.


“Rest In Peace” – Arguably Joey’s scariest track. Borrowing the Phil Collins classic, the anger from lost loved ones overcomes and leads him to drop the “N-word” in reference to God. That felt uncomfortable just typing.

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Scheduled Appointment: Mood Muzik 2: Can It Get Any Worse?

Therapy Assessment: As a much more focused project than its predecessor, MM2 saw the methodical mainstay expose the depths of his personal solitude. The soul searching translated into gripping tales of parenthood, raw lyricism and societal downfalls. Whenever the discussion of Joe’s career highlight is concerned, the talk should stop here. This is Joe Budden’s magnum opus.

Prescribed Medicine


“If I Die Tomorrow” – By far one of his best tracks ever recorded. The “Anniversary” sample provided the perfect relaxing backdrop for Mouse question the one thing we all have at one point – our own mortality.


“Dumb Out” – Judging by the way the beat started off, something epic was bound to happen. Eight minutes later and with more quotables than an old episode of The Chappelle Show, it was hard to deny buddy was one of the most potent lyricists breathing air into microphones.


“Three Sides To A Story” – Life is complicated and unfair – just like the outcome of this tale of rape and murder.

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Scheduled Appointment: Mood Muzik 3: For Better Or For Worse

Therapy Assessment: Through it was close to impossible to repeat the ambiance the second installment produced, 2007’s MM3 was a respectable follow-up. There was an effortless blend of pure lyricism and amazing introspection, often times finding themselves on the same track. And while many rappers of the day were content fulfilling an image, it was clear by the conclusion of this project that Joey had no problem whatsoever continuing to wear his heart on his sleeve.

Prescribed Medicine


“Hiatus” – An fitting title considering it had been two years since the last project. Regardless, it showed the stresses were still there and the ability to paint them into lyrical pictures hadn’t gone anywhere.


“Talk 2 ‘Em” – Outside of Nas, Joe’s disses towards Jay-Z always struck nerves more than most, mainly because he was a fan of the guy before anything else. Starting at roughly the 2:39 mark, “the student” becomes insubordinate and calls “the teacher” out for losing touch with the current generation and for his hypocritical decisions.


“All Of Me” – Comparatively speaking, this was MM3’s version of “If I Die Tomorrow,” which was the furthest thing from a detriment. The portion of the song focusing on “Tammy” will never get old.

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