With his latest solo album, 'No Love Lost,' Joe Budden seems a lot more at peace with himself and with the people around him. Not to say he's the Dalai Lama, but Joe definitely seems like he's in a better space musically, personally and professionally than in the past, and it shows with this effort.

There's no hiding from his emotions when it comes to his music. He embraces his feelings, especially when addressing his relationships and career. Battling issues of depression and substance abuse, which has been well-chronicled throughout his 10-year career, Joe has been in spaces of true turmoil and engulfed in darkness. However, that's all changed.

His new outlook on music and the approach to 'No Love Lost' is credited to the creative space that he's in over at Shady Records. “Coming off of Slaughterhouse, being around [Eminem], being around those guys, being in so many different situations where I can just learn and work at my craft constantly is just great," he tells TheDrop.fm. "When I had my last solo [album], which was probably like 2008, 2009, I was real eager to get back in and apply all the information that I had to a solo effort. I could hear that when I listen to the album. It sounds very advanced.

"It sounds very diverse, real introspective, still very much all of the things that people have come to expect from me over the years, but it's a very mature album to say the least.”

Looking back on his previous solo album, 2009's 'Padded Room,' and comparing it to 'No Love Lost,' the New Jersey native sees the impact his Slaughterhouse brothers have had on him and he likes it. Experimenting with new beats -- those he wouldn't even put on back in his Def Jam days -- is just one of the ways their creative influence rubbed off on him.

“With those guys, it's just learning constantly," Joe says of the Slaughterhouse members. "I think we all kind of act as a change in helping each other. Outside of Eminem, I don't think there's anybody in the world that could out-flow Royce [da 5'9]. To me, to be able to be just sitting there and seeing what his approach is, what he's listening to and what he hears in a beat, that was a big part to how I approach songs today.

"I'm not able to do a song like 'She Don't Put It Down' earlier in my career because that would have been a beat I would've shied away from. 'NBA,' that's another one that I don't do a couple years ago. There's quite a few on the album that with the help of my Slaughterhouse brothers that I am able to make.”

While on Def Jam, fans wouldn't expect a Joe and Juicy J collaboration like 'Last Day.' But this isn't Def Jam; this is the house of Shady. His new creative space and freedom only seem to invigorate Joe, and his peacefulness shines throughout 'No Love Lost.'

Self-growth and self-improvement are evident in his lyrics. “When you've been around as long as myself, it's important for me to dig deeper and become more self-aware as much as possible, and try to improve on that," the 32-year-old shares. "I think that's very much prevalent throughout the album, just trying to improve on self. In listening to it, I can hear all that.”

One of the things that Joe Budden has made peace with is his depression and former drug abuse. His substance abuse has been the talk of the industry as of late with it being a recurring topic on 'Love & Hip Hop,' the VH1 reality show he stars in. His past serves as a time to reflect on and clear his head. “I was probably high for the majority of the Slaughterhouse album, and maybe even the Slaughterhouse mixtape," he admits. "Not for ['No Love Lost']. This album was very much more... I was able to actually take a look back at me and my behavior over the period of that time and assess it and write about it and rap about it with a clear mind.”

Being the ladies man that he is, Joe spent a good remainder of the conversation speaking on Valentine's Day and one of his favorite pastimes: visiting the strip club. For Joe, there's nothing wrong with eating dinner at a place where women dance on poles. “Strip club food is underrated," he admits. "I've never had a bad meal at a strip club.”

One establishment that he favors is Sin City, located in Bronx, N.Y. “Sin City has pretty good food. I eat everything in there; they're good. Everything from steak and potatoes to shrimp to dessert; they've got a full-fledged menu in there,” Joe says with a laugh. A full course meal and a lap dance to match, we're not mad at you, Joe.

With today being Valentine's Day, most people are coupled-up, going out to dinner or exchanging gifts. Then there are the side chicks -- or dudes -- who find out they're the side piece. The emcee took some time to speak on this proclaimed day of love and what kind of sexual service men should offer their lady. “In my experience, you just want to give her a special kind of Valentine's d---," Joe states, laughing once more. "On Valentine's Day, you want to offer d--- you don't normally offer for the rest of the year.”

Most do dinner, but for Budden, “that's so cliché.” He advises men to think outside of the box and be creative. “Ice skating is nice, but I mean everybody does dinner on Valentine's Day," he explains. "You would be hard-pressed to find a book of reservations on Valentine's Day. You just want to be out-of-the-box and different in that nature, and specific to the woman that you're dating. Like mine, I actually might go ice skating just because my girlfriend is from Miami -- that's something she's not able to do there. She likes all this ice, cold weather s---, so I might do something around that.

"Or I might maybe go get a cabin somewhere at some type of snow resort, something like that.”

As for what he expects, not a thing. “Honestly -- and this is just me keeping it all the way 100 -- on the holidays I never ask for anything," Joe says. "People are just great to me; she's great to me all-year round, so I don't expect anything different, or out-the-ordinary on Valentine's Day as long as I'm with the person I want to be with.”

So for ladies looking to grab a last-minute gift for Mr. Right, get him 'No Love Lost.' He'll thank you for it.

Watch Joe Budden's 'She Don't Put It Down' Video

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