Interview by J.D. Thrasher
J.D. Thrasher speaks to Joe Budden about his 3rd installment of Mood Muzik, rap beefs, Def Jam, and problems in the industry. (First released December 2007)
JENESIS: Just to start off the questions, why the long wait until Mood Muzik 2 and the third installment?
Joe Budden: I didn’t really want to put forth three out and still be in the same predicament that I was in with part two. I didn’t want the tape to come out and I created this huge buzz around my name and I wasn’t able to follow up with anything due to my situation. Yeah so I didn’t want that same thing to happen third installment.
JENESIS: Since your departure from Def Jam you’ve been humble and patient with different signing situations. When will you know when it’s the right time to sign to a new label?
Joe Budden: When I hear an offer that I absolutely love. That has to happen.
JENESIS: What exactly would that entail?
Joe Budden: I couldn’t even really get into it. I would know when I hear it. You don’t really know until it happens. I have certain things that I’m looking for and things that I’m going to hold the label accountable for and different questions I want to ask. I can’t really sum up all of those things. People have made some offers to me where I love A, B, C and not D. And others I love A, B and D and not C. I mean I just want to take my time. I’m not in any type of rush I’ve been quiet and in this slump for a few years. So now that I’m out of my Def Jam contract I’m not going to rush into a new situation just to be in one. I want to make sure that it’s a correct one. I want to be cautious.
JENESIS: On Allhiphop.com you were quoted as saying “I’m happy we’re finally able to cut ties,” [concerning Def Jam] can you please elaborate?
Joe Budden: Shit do I have to? I was signed to a label for quite a good amount of years. And no music came out.……..You happy? (Quick laughter)
JENESIS: You’ve been through a lot with your career: surgery, rap beefs, Grammy nominations and a successful gold album. At anytime did you feel too overwhelmed with your career?
Joe Budden: Overwhelmed…umm..no. Underwhelmed? Ha yes. Naw not overwhelmed. Maybe at one point when the album was getting ready to go in the stores and we were like maybe two weeks away from the release that made me overwhelmed for a split second, but ever since then no not at all. If anything I look to be overwhelmed. I look to try to stay busy I look for more things to be added to my plate.
JENESIS: What’s the biggest misconception you had of the music industry before you got signed?
Joe Budden: Ah…shit was sweet. Shit is far from sweet baby, please believe it! And that’s me putting that in laymen’s terms.
JENESIS: Can you elaborate on that? Like far from sweet?
Joe Budden: I mean you watch the videos and you listen to artists talking, you know they always talk about the pros and they talk about all the great things that come along with a record deal. You know; the notoriety, the money, the wealth, the fame, the women. I mean no one ever really speaks upon some of the more negative things that may happen. Getting sharked, signing a bad contract, having to make a hit record, all the things that come with putting an album out, the push backs the bad publishing deals. You know, niggas don’t speak upon that stuff. I mean you don’t hear rappers get on their interviews and start talking about STDs they got from fucking some of these booty bitches without condoms.
JENESIS: If you could’ve done anything differently after your first album dropped what would it be?
Joe: I would have put another album out. Shit, I don’t know what was going on with me. I probably was still on such a high from putting that first album out that it just didn’t dawn on me that it was time to maybe put another one out. And Kevin Liles used to say that so much. They used to say that the memory of the fans is like really, really short, you don’t wanna get out of the light for a split second, ‘cause they’ll forget about you. But I thought “Ahhh get out of here I made ‘Pump it Up,’ suck me off” and you know things happened and they ended up leaving. And I backed myself into a corner into a situation where I was unable to put an album out even when I wanted to. So, I probably would have put an album out.
JENESIS: Aside from ‘Pump it Up’ what would’ve been the next single from the first album?
Joe Budden: ‘Ma Ma Ma’ 112, straight to the ladies; straight to the girls. Trying to capitalize off of being sexy; at the time. That’s when I was young and sexy. I feel like an old ass man now.
JENESIS: You were supposed to do the song with 112, how come they put Ludacris on the track?
Joe: I don’t know, that was an executive decision. Yup, didn’t have too much to do with me. I don’t know if they thought me and 112 were doing too much at the time, ‘cause that’s when we were thinking about putting my 112 song out. I don’t really know, I don’t remember. I didn’t mind it at all; Ludacris got on the record and spit an amazing verse. I would’ve been upset if they would’ve taken me off the record and put somebody on that was horrible.
JENESIS: So what inspires you to keep rapping?
Joe: Life. Life happening. Life happening inspires me to keep making music. I mean, it certainly hasn’t been this over abundance of money that I’ve made from this game. I just use it as a platform to vent, to speak my mind, and to get the things off my chest; you know a way to be creative. And then I just love music. I love making music, I love everything about music, and I love every genre of music. I mean, regardless as to whether I make it in this game or if I don’t make it in this game I’m always going to make music. Hopefully I will always have somebody who wants to hear it.
JENESIS: Asides from making music are there any other business ventures that you’re involved in?
Joe: I’m into real estate. Yeah I’m into real estate. How you think I’ve been living all this time? I’ve been into real estate for three and an half years and have real estate in Jersey and in New York.
JENESIS: On one your interviews you talk about misconceptions. What are some misconceptions that people have of you? Musically and personally?
Joe: Musically, I’m sure there are a million people that think ‘Pump It Up’ is the only record I’ve ever made. Some people say that all he makes is club records, some people say he can’t make a club record. Personally, I don’t know. I’m the greatest guy in the world. You know personally, you know, some of these fans think that I’m still running around on stuff and high and like an alcoholic or some shit ‘cause I bring it up in my music. I haven’t done those things in over ten years. When I speak about it in music it’s just from a past experience, it’s not because that’s something I’m still out here actively pursuing. Some people they just might think he’s conceited. Wendy Williams might think he’s gay. Oh shit. I mean shit. Personally, yeah those are probably some of the misconceptions people have of me. (Slight pause) And some people think they can rap better than me; (laugher) that’s a big misconception.
JENESIS: So what can people expect from you in the future?
Joe: You know what? If you can’t count on anything else, you can count on Mood Muzik part 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10; regardless of what my label situation turns out to be. You know I’m just going to continue to make music. People can look forward to hearing me on a few different joints.
JENESIS: When’s 3 dropping?
JENESIS: No date in particular?
Joe: Mid December. I mean it’s not like I’m dealing with a distributor. No, I am dealing with a distributor. It’s not like this is a major label release that’s going to come out on a Tuesday. Some people are going to get it in the mail and I don’t have any control over that system. I know the people that pre-order the tape will have it before On Point’s people have it. As soon as that happens On Point people will have it then it will go online then a distributor will put out something like a Mood Muzik 3.5 in January with six or seven different records that weren’t on part three.
JENESIS: Who are your top five rappers in the game, right now?
Joe: Eminem, Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Beanie Sigel, Lupe Fiasco.
JENESIS: Is that in the order?
Joe: No particular order.
JENESIS: So you’re still a Jay-Z fan even though the situation over at Def Jam happened?
Joe: Definitely. The guy can rap his ass off. I mean I’m not a hater, even though I may sound like it on some of my records. I’m still a fan of hip hop. So, as a fan of hip hop I love Jay-Z and what he does when he stands behind a microphone. Now, as far as him being a president or his dealing with when it came to putting my album out or him being in charge of the record label I’m on, that’s a totally different story. Him saying that he’s retiring 20 million times when he continues to put albums out, him not pushing anybody but himself, like some of the things that have been said about him, that’s a totally different case.
JENESIS: So you think it’s a conflict of interest with Jay being the president and being an artist himself?
Joe: Definitely. Definitely so, how can it not be? Kevin Liles said to me one time, ‘You know what, I love my job, but I can never be an artist. If I was an artist I would want the attention that artists want, because ya’ll are artist.’ Ya’ll niggas are fucking cock suckers who always want attention. That’s what I feel a president is supposed to be like. A president shouldn’t want the attention. I mean, you can’t be the artist and the president, you can’t be both. Sooner or later the signals are going to get crossed. That’s exactly what happened.
JENESIS: What’s a normal day like for Joe Budden?
Joe: Wake up and go to the studio. Look how simple that was? Go to the studio or if there’s a show we do a show. I spend a lot of time out of the country. It depends on what’s going on. Normally when I’m over here, I’m in the studio, or with my lawyer, or collecting my fucking money.
JENESIS: You’ve had several artists say they had beef with you in the past month.
Joe: Who else was there to send a shot to?
JENESIS: There was Sacario…
Joe: Oh that would be a waste of time.
Joe: No. He hasn’t said anything on a record.
JENESIS: I mean but his blog….
Joe: What we’re going to have a BLOG BATTLE?! What the fuck I’mma do? He said, when he sees me he’s going to smack Earth, Wind & Fire out of me. I personally love Earth, Wind & Fire there’s nothing really for me to say. He said he’s going to do something. I’m not going to just feed into the media and to his frame of mind and say, ‘Oh yeah, well, no you won’t you you punk motherfucker.’ When you see me let’s see what happens. If he sends a record at me I’m on his ass. If you’re just talking about what you think is going to happen when you see me….we know that’s not really realistic. I love Saigon as an artist, but sometimes he goes off on his little tangents where I think he has out of body experiences and he don’t even know what the fuck he’s saying.
JENESIS: So what’s really the deal with Ransom and Saigon? You can talk about each one individually. It seems like the Ransom one took you off guard too.
Joe: Ransom put a mixtape out that no one gave a fuck about. His mind is so small; it’s like a dot on a piece of paper. He has no idea what he’s getting into. He rather just fucking caters to his fans on his block, he figured he’d send some shots at me and get Jersey City riled up—since I call myself the King of New Jersey. And he lost miserably, so I mean that was pretty simple. Saigon, like I said, when I said the line on BET and the line that’s on Mood Muzik, I really hope that he didn’t take it that way. I didn’t mean to disrespect him or offend him in anyway and I was pretty upset that he felt that way. Like I said, he’s somebody that I respect and look forward to hearing his work and like what he’s bringing to the table. I would hate for him to send some bars at me, because I like him.
JENESIS: When you said the verse on BET did you expect that reaction from Saigon?
Joe: No. It was a dope line. It was a dope line. It was something that happened. It’s not like I was fabricating it. If I was trying to make fun of Saigon, I would’ve said something like ‘these niggas are faggots they can’t fight/ they hit niggas and run away like Saigon did.’
I would’ve said something offensive in that manner. I was talking about bitches. You hit and run like Saigon. Saigon hit a nigga and ran. It’s pretty blunt, pretty straight forward if you ask me. No doubt he may have had to run, not saying that I wouldn’t have done the same thing if in that predicament. Those hit and runs lines I’m learning can be pretty sensitive…niggas can get sensitive about.
I had a hit and run line about Carmello last year and about 20 people called me saying he wanted to tear my fucking head off. I’m like shit you play for the fucking Nuggets, the game was on TV! Niggas are not watching this? That don’t say you’re a punk or a faggot or something, it’s just recapping what happened. Like I said, I’m more than willing to be held accountable for anything that comes out of my mouth.
JENESIS: So is Ransom still going to be on Mood Muzik 3?
Joe: Probably so. I’ll probably just do an adlib track in the background calling him all types of faggots.
JENESIS: Why did he make that one diss record and spend like three minutes of the record talking?
Joe: He can’t keep up. I pretty much explained that on my second record to him. I was like listen this is not a fair battle. I can go like 200 bars every 24 hours, of shit that’s worthwhile. You can do maybe 40 bars a day; that’s whack. So, why even keep this up with yourself? He really has no choice but to rap for two minutes and call me a faggot for the rest of the shit. That nigga know where my fucking jumpoff game is at. It was silly, me even thinking about this shit is silly. He sounded stupid, and he sounded so stupid he made me not even want to say nothing back to him. It was almost like a nigga talking to his kid or some shit, like this guy wants attention let me leave him alone.
JENESIS: Why on the Ransom Note track did you fade it out at the end? How much more of that track was there?
Joe: There was way more bars at the end of that.
Joe: Yeah, but it was like, I already felt bad going as long as I did. What I figured was I’ll fade this out, cause I could really split it up into three different responses, and if he would’ve responded back to it I wasn’t even going to go to the studio I was gonna fade back up the same shit. He did what he did, calling me a faggot for mad long, and I’m like this is pointless.
JENESIS: Currently, who do you say you have a problem with in the industry?
Joe: Nobody. I don’t have a problem with anyone in the industry. A lot of things that I say that I say can be misinterpreted if you’re listening trying to misinterpret. So I can understand why people have problems with me. I’m very abrasive. I’m very blunt; I just say what’s on my mind. If it’s a name on my mind or if it’s a name that comes to mind while I’m trying to make my point I’m going to say it, but I’m not going to do nothing. I’m never going to blatantly disrespect niggas. Niggas in this game are very emotional, very Carl Thomas. You gotta always be prepared for some dumb shit. None of these niggas can rap better than me anyway. They want to take it somewhere else, that’s totally different. This game is so watered downed, you don’t really worry about stuff. It’s not lyrics anymore, so you don’t really worry about 70 percent of these guys. Not as far as on wax anyway.
JENESIS: What would be the top five Joe Budden songs?
Joe: Whatever it Takes, Walk with me, Ten Minutes, Future….I can’t even say for the fifth one. Too many joints that I’ve done. Probably Dumb Out too.
JENESIS: Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Joe: Thanks for being patient. You’re patience is unmatched. Thanks for the support, I appreciate it. I hope niggas enjoy Mood Muzik 3 as much as I enjoyed making it.