If all goes as planned, rapper Joe Budden will release his first album in five years, "Padded Room," in the spring. "Padded Room" will be the follow-up to 2003's "Joe Budden," which launched the hit "

If all goes as planned, rapper Joe Budden will release his first album in five years, "Padded Room," in the spring.

"Padded Room" will be the follow-up to 2003's "Joe Budden," which launched the hit "Pump It Up." Three editions of his "Mood Muzik" mixtape series have followed, but Budden tells Billboard.com that he's looking forward to another proper album release.

"It's complete," Budden says of "Padded Room," which will be released by Amalgam Digital. "It basically will be in the same vein as 'Mood Muzik,' just a little more structure and the mood will probably be a little lighter. I'm definitely pleased with the direction that it's going."

He adds that the album "sounds like Joe Budden. I can't really say it sounds like the times, because the times right now I'm not too fond of. I'm not too big on how that sound is going. But Joe Budden fans will get what they're accustomed to, and there's music on there for the casual listener as opposed to 'Mood Muzik,' which is not for the casual fan."

Budden, of course, had intended to release a second album called "The Growth" in the wake of the self-titled record's success. But it was scuttled by a deteriorating relationship with Def Jam, his label at the time, and a rumored feud with outgoing CEO Jay-Z. Nowadays Budden says that "the relationship went sour over the years, not something that just happened spontaneously or instantly. It was kind of a developing process."

But he does acknowledge that Def Jam's changing of the guard in 2004, after his debut's release, was not good for his career. "The people that signed me to Def Jam and had so much faith in me and believed in me, those weren't the people who were in charge anymore," Budden explains. "If the people who are running Def Jam now were in charge in 2002, 2003, who could say if I ever would have been signed to a deal."

Once "Padded Room" is out, meanwhile, Budden hopes that there won't be as long a wait for his third album. "I'm in the studio every single day, vibing and coming up with ideas," he notes. "There's always music around to put out, so you'll hear more from me sooner than later, I hope."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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