The album received a generally positive reception but critics felt it was inconsistent in its mixture of production and lyricism. The Elephant in the Room debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and spawned two singles: "I Won't Tell" and "Ain't Sayin' Nothin'".
The Elephant in the Room garnered positive reviews but music critics were divided by the production and lyrical content. Nathan Slavik of DJBooth praised the album's varied production for allowing Joe to deliver different topics through various regional flows, saying that, "While Joe has never produced a truly classic album, Elephant In The Room proves that his contributions to the game have been significant and long-lasting." David Jeffries of AllMusic also praised Joe for changing his flow when switching from street tracks and radio singles, despite finding the drug talk monotonous and a lack of cohesion between him and the producers, concluding with, "Still, Joe warns the listener right at the beginning that he's more Eazy-E than Ice Cube -- and for three-fourths of the album, he's spot on." Latifah Muhammad of AllHipHop found a lack of cohesion between Joe and the producers on the album but felt that he managed to deliver tracks both commercially and artistically, saying that the album "manages to show off Joes' clever mixture of street anthems and radio shiny tunes."
HipHopDX staff writer Mcooper found a lack of consistency throughout the album, praising some tracks for its mixture of new-school production and lyrics reminiscent of old-school hip-hop but found the rest of it weak and hollow, saying that "Joe has the talent to put out a classic caliber album, but as long as he wants to stay current with the downloads and ringtones, that vision may not come to pass." Ben Westhoff of The Phoenix was mixed about the album, finding the lyrical content generic but felt that Joe added some needed empathy in his material, saying that "What makes it work is his vulnerability, a rare commodity in hip-hop. Unlike associate Rick Ross, who keeps letting you know that he’s the “boss,” Joe just wants to entertain you." Jesal Padania of RapReviews felt that Joe copied the formula from Me, Myself & I for the album, criticizing the production for being mediocre at best and not allowing him to make good use of them, saying that "In other words, can I really recommend you purchasing this album? Not really - and I would class myself as a Fat Joe fan. I will recommend that you purchase a few of the songs from iTunes, but that is the best I can do."
The Elephant in the Room debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and sold 46,000 copies for its first week. Two weeks later, it dropped below the top 50 at numbers 56 and 74 respectively before leaving the chart.