Joe Budden: 10 Years Later, No Love Lost [Interview] #Exclusive
Jersey City, NJ – It’s not 2003 anymore, but Joe Budden is still here. A few relapses, countless mixtapes, several heated lyrical battles, Joe Budden TV, Tahiry, Esther Baxter, Slaughterhouse and Love & Hip-Hop: ten years later the New Jersey rapper is still here and still growing. In an entertainment climate that waits for no one, those that endure prove their worth simply by staying relevant.
On February 5th, Joe Budden’s new album No Love Lost will be available. The album follows A Loose Quarter, a pre-album free album full of introspective, thought provoking music. Although the darker, sinister side of Joe Budden has been front and center a lot over the years, nowadays he seems to be in a better space. Maybe it’s because of his new girlfriend or a product of a successful 2012 campaign capped by the Slaughterhouse album and European and U.S. tours. Then again, maybe it’s just because he’s still around and there’s arguably more attention on him now than at any point since his debut album sold a disappointing 63,000 copies in its first week. Oh, how times have changed: if No Love Lost (released via EOne) could match that number it would be considered a good showing.
Jonathon Brown, HipHopCanada Senior Contributor, recently got on the phone with Joe Budden. Instead of the short, terse Joe Budden of years past, he was met with a relaxed, thoughtful conversation on topics including: self-awareness, relationship lessons, Meek Mill vs Cassidy, Juicy J, Lloyd Banks and his son.
“Man all these damn subliminals, these guys man. For me, I came up in that: I came up in battling and just wanting to compete.” – Joe Budden
Q&A: Joe Budden
Interview conducted by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown
HipHopCanada: One of the things the rest of Slaughterhouse has said about you is they’ve learned how to express themselves better by being around you because you’re so well spoken. Does your ability to speak clearly and precisely help you in relationships?
Joe Budden: That’s pretty funny. Uh, yea. A lot can be lost in translation as far as relationships go and as far as context and people don’t always say what they mean, but I try to be as concise as possible so it helps.
HipHopCanada: In interviews I notice it a lot. You’re so articulate in getting across the pieces of the point that you wanted to make. And it’s interesting to see that translate into your music, especially when hip-hop can be prone to a lot of vague cliché statements, but you go against that and you’re so precise in what you’re talking about a lot of times.
Joe Budden: That comes from years of work and self-improvement and sort of taking a therapeutic approach to things.
HipHopCanada: Now to get to some of the Love & Hip-Hop topics before we get to the new album: what would you say you’ve learned from Tahiry?
Joe Budden: [Laughing] That’s a funny question. Um, I’m not certain if there’s any one thing that I could point to. We spent a long time together, a lot of years. So you’re, in essence, talking about seven years of turbulence and good times and, I mean there was a lot in between there. I mean, she’s seen every aspect of me, battling rappers. That was the first time I ever figured out how to work a camera and put it on somebody and try to take advantage of new media in the first place. It’s been a roller coaster ride. I’m not certain if there’s any one specific thing I could point to.
HipHopCanada: You said once that Slaughterhouse Joe is different than solo album Joe, I was wondering if you could give me an example of how that plays out on this album?
Joe Budden: On a solo Joe Budden project I can say I want to do a song with Juicy J and I can just go call Juicy J and go do it. Rather than, having to talk to Joell and Royce and Crooked to see if how they feel about the idea. It’s just about being considerate towards what other people want and what they think.
My team pretty much lets me be creatively free. So I don’t even front about it I just go and do the music and if it comes out great, great. If it doesn’t then we’ll end up scrapping it.
HipHopCanada: What’s a song on this album that we haven’t heard that you’re excited to not only have people hear, but also to see people’s reactions to?
Joe Budden: Funny you mention it. I’m going to go with a song titled “Last Day” featuring Juicy J and Lloyd Banks just because it’s such a weird combination. I think any other time, we’d be hard pressed to see the names Joe Budden, Juicy J and Lloyd Banks on one record. And in hearing those names, you get an idea of what direction the song is going to go but it’s perfect. It sounds perfect.
HipHopCanada: It definitely raises a lot of question marks. For music fans, there’s the content matter and just overall the regional styles from someone like Juicy J to the tri-state sound between you and Banks. But even you and Banks, as someone who’s been watching you since you were on DVDs, I know there was G-Unit/Joe Budden friction a long time ago so there are a whole lot of things that mix that up for me as a music fan.
Joe Budden: Yea. Yea definitely. Joe Budden had a lot of friction with a lot of people.
“I think any other time, we’d be hard pressed to see the names Joe Budden, Juicy J and Lloyd Banks on one record.” – Joe Budden
HipHopCanada: I was thinking of it earlier, just running through my head all the different battles you’ve had with different people and it’s very storied. It goes on and on and on.
Joe Budden: Yea. That’s what makes where I am today so great. It’s amazing that me and Banks can work together, that me and Game can have our conversations that we have, me and 50 talk, shit me and Saigon talk, know what I mean? Me and every single person just about that I’ve ever had an exchange with, we’ve all been able to mature over time and stay relevant enough for it to even matter that we’re not behaving this way anymore.
HipHopCanada: I love your willingness to battle though. This is just your sport and you’re not afraid to spar with someone over something. And I appreciate that in a day of subliminal disses.
Joe Budden: [Laughing] Man all these damn subliminals, these guys man. For me, I came up in that: I came up in battling and just wanting to compete. Even if you had no real problem with someone, you just wanted to compete.
And today… people are so image weary and so conscious about all this other shit that has nothing to do with actual lyrical ability. So you know, it becomes dangerous now. Now you’re messing with people’s families and the way they feed them so people get weapons and you know, it’s a lot bigger and more drawn out than “Hey, let’s just mic-for-mic, bar-for-bar, let’s just go.”
HipHopCanada: You know I thought the Cassidy and Meek Mill was going a bar-for-bar kind of way for a minute, until the conversation turned to “Should Meek Mill respond, because he has more to lose.” And then I realized, well now we’re back to this other thing again now.
Joe Budden: Yea and even when I did hear Meek respond it was like, “Hey, I got more money than you. I got more cars than you. I have…” Ok whoopdido. You’ve got cars; you’ve got money, good for you. We’ve all not had before. Pray that you’re blessed and fortunate.
But then it’s hard for me to look at it though because I remember SMACK trying to set up a battle for me and Cassidy and that was Cassidy’s exact approach with me. It was “No, I’m not going to do it because he ain’t got enough money, he ain’t hot enough.” So I can’t really respect him being on the other side of that spectrum.
“You’ve got cars; you’ve got money, good for you. We’ve all not had before. Pray that you’re blessed and fortunate.” – Joe Budden
HipHopCanada: You mentioned in another interview that when you first came on the scene with Def Jam, you weren’t ready for some of the industry politics. And I was wondering if either your perception or those politics had changed when it came around time to do the Shady deal with Slaughterhouse?
Joe Budden: Nah, I don’t think the politics changed at all. [Laughing] Nah the politics, that part is never going anywhere.
You know when it came to the Shady deal to be honest with you, someone as accomplished as Eminem had way more room to fight the politics than I did. So that put me at ease, because I know all that comes along with “the building,” so I knew all of what he’d be facing with Interscope.
But us fighting that battle alongside Eminem I was confident, rather than just fighting it alone.
HipHopCanada: I love a line you say on A Loose Quarter and you say, “I’m being honest with the fans, while I’m lying to myself,” and you seem like a pretty self-aware individual. And first of all do you agree with that assessment? Do you think you’re a self-aware person?
Joe Budden: Fuck yea.
Joe Budden at The Opera House in Toronto (Photo: Loni Schick)
HipHopCanada: Does rap help you to be more self-aware? Has your art helped you to be more self-aware?
Joe Budden: Definitely. I mean, understand that before writing raps it was writing a journal or just writing feelings or just writing period so it’s always been a method of therapy. It’s always been a way to not only think, but to be self-aware.
And you know, that just changed throughout the years because now it’s in rap form. But, yea I’d say I’m probably 200% more self-aware than the average person. That’s not something that, people are just not normally that self-aware.
HipHopCanada: One thing that you don’t talk about or show or get asked about much is your son.
Joe Budden: He’s the one thing that I keep sacred. I feel like I don’t need any of my bullshit or my dealings or my professional career choices to affect him, his upbringing and his life and his day-to-day.
HipHopCanada: Is he a fan of your music? Does he get your music?
Joe Budden: Yea, he’s 11 so he’s aware, but he’s a fan of – and that was another thing that made me appreciate other parts of hip-hop – there was a time he was asking me for the latest Soulja Boy project or you know, just some other things that I would never really put much of my thought process to but it’s like damn, you’re getting older, you’re kids are getting older and they like these other acts. It’s like me when I was a kid, maybe I was really into Kid-n-Play and my brother was really into Public Enemy. He’d be like, “Ew, you listening to Kid’n Play? Yikes.”
Interview conducted by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown for HipHopCanada
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