It has been a tumultuous journey for Joe Budden since the summer 2003 smash-hit 'Pump It Up' dominated the airwaves. Circumstances leading to his departure from Def Jam in 2008 include an album being pushed back, pushed back further, then shelved indefinitely leading to rumours of being black balled by Def Jam label head and Joe's former idol Jay-Z.
During his hiatus from the commercial game, the 'King of New Jerz' has maintained heavy street buzz and strong Internet fan base through releases of the underground classic 'Mood Muzik' mixtape trilogy. Controversy is never far though, his on-again, off-again beef with friend-turned-foe Ransom, Saigon and incarcerated Mobb Deep wordsmith Prodigy has meant he is renowned as one of the fiercest and most feared lyricists in the modern game.
Joe Budden returns with 'Padded Room', his long-overdue follow-up to his Gold-certified self-titled Def Jam debut released through his new home, the popular indie Amalgam Digital. Marvin Sparks caught up with Joe Budden to discuss everything from life after major, vlog sites to putting his girl arse on blast and possible wedding bells.
PyroRadio.com: This new album is released being released independently through Amalgam Digital. After being on Def Jam for 3 years what did you learn from being on a major?
Joe Budden: I don't think we’ve got enough time to explain. I learnt that, that situation didn’t work out particularly well for me. I take it as learning experience. I achieved a dream of mine which was to sign to a major and put an album out. I got some information and knowledge, saw the inner workings and then I left. I take it as I took a little tour of the place.
PyroRadio.com: Now there are rumours that you were black balled by Def Jam. Why would a company want to do that to their own investment?
Joe Budden: This industry is totally based on relationships and things of that nature. Black balling is when someone with more authority than you starts making calls, and making moves and actions to make sure your career doesn’t progress. Its like a roadblock. I wouldn't be surprised if I were black balled. With the way the industry is going, it is going to make it a lot less possible to black ball somebody.
PyroRadio.com: Given the chance, would you go back to a major label situation?
Joe Budden: I may. I love to stay open-minded and I don’t like to just shut down opportunities before they are presented, but that's not where I am right now. Where I am now is Amalgam Digital. We’ve had a healthy lasting relationship, they’ve treated me with the utmost respect - respect I feel an artist of my calibre should be treated with - and I’m good right now.
I’ve been blessed enough to have the following that will follow me wherever I am and that is evident. A major is the last thing that is on my mind. But that’s still not to say I wouldn't entertain the idea, it’s just not where I am right now.
PyroRadio.com: Many rappers would have given up and been tempted to do something else for a living. What kept you from doing the same?
Joe Budden: I’m a fighter, I’m a survivor, I’m resilient, I persevere - I’ve been faced with way more difficult hardships than someone just trying to put a halt to my music career. Trials and tribulations that I have been going through my entire life, so this little bullshit about a guy not letting me put an album out, or trying to halt my progression, that’s nothing. That's a small thing to a giant. Music kept me sane. I love music too much. I’m too passionate about music to let anything or anyone come in between me and my love.
PyroRadio.com: Much has changed since you first entered the rap game. Many are saying Hip-Hop is dead. What would you say the game is missing?
Joe Budden: I wouldn’t say; I’m solely focused on Joe Budden. I’m not sure the game is missing anything. I think certain things are just harder to find than others. If you look for it you’ll find it.
PyroRadio.com: There was a period where mixtapes were more in-demand than people’s albums. Coming off the back of 3 successful mixtapes, how does making an album differ?
Joe Budden: It’s the same frame of mind; you want to go in and put your best foot forward and record the best music in that period, and that's what I did. I just approached it differently in terms of the message I was trying to get across and the overall concept of the album differs from the Mood Muzik series, but its still Joe Budden. It’s still lyrical, it’s still conceptual, and it’s still true to who I am.
PyroRadio.com: Did you have to make any songs you wouldn’t usually for the crossover appeal?
Joe Budden: I made one song, ‘The Future’ with The Game, but I didn’t make it to attempt to crossover, I made it because I wanted to make it. I think it is just a great record. I didn’t make it with any other idea in mind.
PyroRadio.com: One thing every fan loves is music comes across as therapeutic to you. Is there much that you don’t share?
Joe Budden: I share everything. Everything. I’m like an open book.
PyroRadio.com: Being on an independent such as Amalgam Digital, how important are avenues like World Star Hip Hop and VladTV?
Joe Budden: They are not so important to me. Anything that’s to do with new media is extremely important, and it’s a well working relationship where you have vlog sites like World Star. Of course when they are putting up a clip of Joe Budden it’s promoting me, but please believe they are putting it up there for reasons of their own. It’s just like anything; anything that has its pro’s has its con’s. Often at times, I’ll be put on these vlog sites without my permission and it’ll depict me in such a negative light. So I mean, it doesn’t always work in my favour.
PyroRadio.com: Promotion is one of the aspects which hinder indie's. What other avenues are you using as a form of promoting?
Joe Budden: As far as promoting - I wouldn’t call it promotion, I call it making people aware. The only difference between being on a major and an independent is a major has the power to force feed something down your throat and they have the funds to do that. The independents put the good shit out there and often if people aren’t looking for the good shit, they won’t find it and it’ll fall by the way side. I like to make people aware.
PyroRadio.com: A lot of your core fan base is on the internet, do you read many forums and blogs?
Joe Budden: I read every forum and every blog, and every message board, and every chat room. I read it all. There's nothing online that I’m not aware of.
PyroRadio.com: How do you deal with people saying negative things about you?
Joe Budden: I don’t. It phases me none. I have the thickest skin in America.
PyroRadio.com: What are your opinions on rap beef?
Joe Budden: I don’t have an opinion on it. I usually deal with it when it comes my way, it’s healthy and I don’t think there’s anything wrong it. Unfortunately, today we are dealing with individuals who don’t rap too well, so they need to resort to doing other things involving a rap beef. Hip Hop is not the UFC, it’s not the MMA, it’s not for gangsters, murderers and killers. I think if it was for all of these things they wouldn’t be rapping. Other than that I love it.
PyroRadio.com: What are your favourite diss records of all time?
Joe Budden: I like Hit ‘Em Up [2 Pac], No Vaseline [Ice Cube], The Bitch In You [Common] - I like a few. Erm... Takeover [Jay-Z].
PyroRadio.com: What are the essential qualities to a good diss record?
Joe Budden: It will change everyone’s perception of that person, or it will really showcase one’s fault in ones character, and having one question their own character.
I feel myself getting into another one soon. I think I read something this morning that I didn’t like, but I’m going to wait until I confirm it before I start tearing somebody up. If I can confirm that said individual said said bar, then I’m going to tear his ass up.
PyroRadio.com: There’s a copy of ‘Padded Room’ floating about which had a lot of people were questioning why you left the Fabolous and Ransom track on there.
Joe Budden: I didn‘t do that, that’s the bootleg. That was a bootleg and whoever leaked it out there put that on there.
PyroRadio.com: Will you reveal which rapper’s girl you got with?
Joe Budden: No, of course not.
PyroRadio.com: We have to talk about your own girl Tahiry, the Internet’s been going crazy about her. You must have a lot of security in your relationship to film and put her on the Internet.
Joe Budden: I would say so. I would say I’m extremely secure. She may tell you differently, but definitely [secure]. What we have has been worked on and is 5 years in the making. There’s a foundation, it’s not just shallow. It’s nothing that I worry about. Anything that is built up strong enough will take a while to be broken down. Certainly not the Internet.
PyroRadio.com: Will we hear wedding bells anytime soon?
Joe Budden: Definitely! Definitely! Definitely! I don’t know when but I know that she is the one for me and she knows that I am the one for her, so we’ll figure out.
PyroRadio.com: Is there any truth to the rumours that you are working on Detox with Dr. Dre?
Joe Budden: I received a call quite a few months ago that they wanted me to fly out and help out with some things, but it never materialised.
PyroRadio.com: Finally, will we get Mood Muzik 4?
Joe Budden: No time soon. Nooo time soon, at all.
PyroRadio.com: Any final shouts?
Joe Budden: I wanna thank you for having me, I wanna tell all the Joe Budden fans, the soldiers to go on JoeBuddenTV.com for anything happening with Joe Budden. And May 1st, I want everyone to go to TahiryTV.com and ‘Padded Room’ is in stores now.
PyroRadio.com: Oh, can you shed any light on what is Tahiry TV going to be about?
Joe Budden: You’ll have to set-up an interview and ask her yourself.
In case you can't see what Joe is amazed at in the above pic: