I feel like
a million bucks.
going on with The Growth right now?
is crack and it's coming out before the year is out. The album will definitely
be out before the year is out.
been frustrating waiting for it to come out?
it was, but honestly, it hasn't been that frustrating lately. I've honestly
been enjoying the down-time. It's not really down-time because I'm still
working, but I'm enjoying the time away because I can listen to the music
and watch the videos like a fan again.
No. The album
isn't done until it's on the shelves. I've had a three-year hiatus and
I'm confident that my comeback album will go according to plan. We have
some monsters. I'm excited, I'm anxious. I'm anxious just to get back
on the scene. I feel like my fans are depending on me. I feel like a superhero
that has to save hip-hop from all this bullshit that's going on.
how much bullshit there is. Where's the majority of it coming from?
too much music coming from New York. Every time I turn the TV on or turn
the radio on, I'm hearing Down South music. If you go to the clubs in
New York, and I don't go to the club too much, there's a bunch of grown
men doing Laffy Taffy and snap dances. I can't fucking believe my eyes
when I see this shit. I'm not going to say what the worst music is. It's
just a little different. They grinded and hustled and waited their turn,
so I'm glad shit is going well for them. Eventually it will be time for
the East to get back on top of things.
see yourself at the forefront of bringing shine back to the East Coast?
to just bring the game Joe Budden's version of the game. I couldn't really
care less what anyone else is bringing, as long as I get the proper attention
for my project.
been happy with the attention you've been getting at Def Jam this past
Def Jam takes
a lot of slack regarding my project. When I'm in the street, niggas will
stop me and start shitting on Def Jam. They'll say how Def Jam is fucking
up on the internet also. LA Reid has been in my corner this whole time
and I'm grateful for that. I can't say I'm happy with the attention. I
haven't been getting any attention, but I asked for that. When they were
trying to put me out, everybody was new in the building and they were
getting to know each other. All I asked was that when it's time for me
to get the attention, I get it.
confident this release date will hold?
ever concrete, even when the label gives you a date, it's not concrete.
The thing that fans don't understand a lot of times is how release dates
get changed more than underwear. It all depends on certain things that
are supposed to happen. Labels put plans together, but then they change.
I'm not going to say I have a concrete release date, but I can definitely
say I'll be out before 2007.
been involved in The Growth?
haven't been too many people that have been involved. Me and Jay talk
whenever we see each other, but as far as him being involved in making
the music, no, not at all. I don't really like too many people to be involved
when I'm making music anyway. I'm creative enough on my own. No disrespect
to anybody else, but I get too many ideas on a daily basis to depend on
somebody else to help me in the studio.
feel like you need a Jay-Z verse to make your album successful?
Do I need
it? Hell no! Would it be nice? Hell yeah! I'm not going to sit here and
lie. I don't think there's a rapper alive that would deny a Jay-Z verse.
But no, I don't think I need it. Not at all.
a hard artist to market?
I'm an extremely
difficult artist to market. I go against a lot of the things rappers are
supposed to promote and market. As rappers, we're supposed to be out every
single night, we're supposed to fuck a million bitches, we're supposed
to always be high and drunk, we're supposed to have thirty-million chains,
and we're supposed to blow money for absolutely no reason. There are a
lot of different reasons, but I like to go against the grain. We're supposed
to make certain types of records and not show any emotion, where any other
genre of music, like R&B or rock-and-roll, thrive off of showing emotion.
I think that's what I do best. I paint pictures. I'm emotional. I enjoy
that and it comes out good when I do it. But in hip-hop, when you do that,
you're not "hardcore." I'm extremely difficult to market.
ever been tempted to change your style to make yourself more marketable?
about it is there's a flip-side to the coin. I happen to be pretty versatile.
I've made club records. I enjoy making club records on the same note.
Girl records or conscious records, whatever the fuck you want to call
it. There's not a beat you couldn't throw on that Joe Budden couldn't
spit on and make it sound good, but I'm most comfortable when I'm painting
a picture. What better way of painting a picture than by talking about
what you've been through, which is what I've done a lot.
you feel about the Scott Storch-produced Gangsta Party track today?
is probably one of the songs that I wish I could take off my discography,
but it's not a record that I was forced to do. I was in Miami, I was with
Scott Storch, I was around beautiful women, I had a lot of money on me,
and I was around a lot of nice cars. The beat came on, and that was the
zone I was in. That's exactly the zone I was in. I was in clubs, I was
in VIP, but in retrospect, it's a record that I probably would take off
my discography. When I took it to Def Jam, everybody was in love with
the record. That was supposed to be my second single, but some mistakes
were made. I'm living in the now, so I don't care about the mistakes.
It's still a good record, though. If you come to a Joe Budden show, you
might hear it come on. It's not a wack record. I don't want to give people
the wrong idea. That song is far from wack.
have songs in your catalog you think are wack?
I have a
few of them. Porno Star is one. That song is very old. Real Life in Rap,
I wish I could do that one over. There's quite a few of them. I'm not
saying I wish I never did them, but I wish I did them differently. As
time goes on, you get better as an artist. You're able to write better
than you were able to. You're able to see things more clearly. I wish
I worded shit a little differently. I feel like that with everything.
music is fire. What's your state-of-mind in the booth now?
can't wait for people to hear this album. I sit around and deal with people
talking about the hiatus I've been on. I know I've been gone a long time,
but I'm not worried at all. My mind-state is clear and serene. I'm just
at peace. I'm in a good state. I'm in the best physical shape I've ever
been in, and I'm just ready to rock.
you credit that to?
to credit that to the time off. I'm going to definitely credit that to
the time away.
2 got great reviews. Did you want that to be like an album?
is fucking incredible. It really is. I was off of the mixtape scene for
a million years. The mixtape scene is so fucking wack right now. I went
in the studio and said, "It's time to do it again." The first
Mood Muzik was great. I did shit like Dumb Out, If I Die Tomorrow, and
Six Minutes of Death with Stack and Jae Millz. Everything was great. I'm
ready to start working on Part 3. I'm really just taking my time with
it. I'm just trying to do some quality shit. Always. I'm always going
to do some quality shit even if I'm not getting shine for it. That's the
type of artist I am. I'm just glad that the fans enjoyed Mood Muzik 2
in the same way I enjoyed recording it. The album is really going to be
the next step from Mood Muzik 2. Mood Muzik 3 is not going to be the next
step. It's going to be just as good, but I plan on blowing some minds
with this album.
as though you have a lot of respect for your fans.
I have the
utmost respect for my fans, especially for the diehard fans that have
followed me through the thick and thin of my short career. I feel like
we're a tight-knit family. I get in the booth and I pour my heart out.
It's good to have some type of relationship with the people who appreciate
it and relate to it.
ever get too personal?
For me, there
is no such thing as too personal. For me, the more personal, the better.
There's not a line for me where I have to hide certain things from the
fans or keep certain things about me private. There's really not too much
going on with me that's private. Everything I've done, I'm not going to
say I'm proud of it, but I definitely have no regrets. I can share the
pain and the solutions.
therapeutic for you?
It is. That's
why you hear such personal shit from me, because it is therapeutic. All
of it is therapeutic. Everything you hear, especially the songs on a personal
project, are therapeutic. I get that much enjoyment and fulfillment out
of it knowing the fans enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed doing it.
ever worry that your party joints will throw some fans off?
I know the
fans that like a certain type of music from me can be disappointed when
they hear the upbeat, uptempo songs from me. It's something that I enjoy
doing. I don't think I'm one of the worst guys doing it. Then again, there
are a lot of fans that only know Joe Budden for Pump It Up. It's a pretty
weird situation, but whatever you put out, somebody will have something
to say about it.
It Up a gift or a curse? It put you on a national map, but it also put
you in a box.
a gift and a curse. It broke me into the mainstream for the people that
weren't fortunate enough to pick up a mixtape. A lot of people know me
as the Pump It Up guy. It's a bad thing for me, but on the same note,
it's a bad thing for them because they're missing out on some pretty good
interview with DJ Clue, he told me he was too busy to do Mood Muzik 2.
Did that hurt when he told you that?
hurt. I never asked him to do it. I don't have any recollection of what
he's talking about. I never asked DJ Clue to do a Mood Muzik. No disrespect
to DJ Clue, but Mood Muzik is a series me and On Point started and I'm
not going to start it with him and then go to someone else because they're
a bigger DJ and they have more stores. I'm not going to do that.
your relationship with Clue?
is not rocky. I don't have any problems with Clue. That's my man. We were
just out in Vegas doing it big. There is no rocky relationship between
was it for you to do New Jerz Shit?
It was pretty
important. It was a different type of freestyle for me because it wasn't
a whole bunch of punchlines and metaphors, which is, to me, what made
it unique. You would have to be from New Jersey or a Joe Budden fan to
be able to appreciate that freestyle. I'm talking about some real Jersey
shit in there. I thought it was cool to do that. It's pretty cool that
New York is starting to get a taste of Jersey. I know New York feels overlooked
because of the South movement, but New Jersey's been overlooked for a
I don't know.
You have certain artists that came out and screamed New Jersey, but they
probably haven't screamed it as much as I have. There hasn't been a steady
stream of New Jersey artists getting record deals. There was Naughty by
Nature, Redman, there was Lady Luck. Her situation didn't work out. There's
always something funny going on with label situations and Jersey artists.
the label's or artist's fault?
It's a little
bit of both. A lot of people look at us in New Jersey as crabs in a bucket,
when one tries to make it out someone tries to pull them back. I'm sure
there's a lot of that going on in a lot of other hoods. The industry is
a bunch of followers and dick-riders. If it's not a bunch of hot artists
being signed to major deals, no one else is going to come to Jersey trying
to find that next guy. There are plenty of rappers over here.
interview young dudes from Jersey, they always say they're holding down
Jersey, but they never shout you or anyone else out. Does that offend
No. I don't
get offended. Rappers not just from New Jersey, but from anywhere, are
self-centered and emotional. A lot of them are fronting. When you take
a rapper, and I'm not talking about anybody in particular, and you ask
them who's hot where they're from, it would almost be absurd for them
to name someone else unless that person is a legend and they'd look stupid
for not saying them. If you ask someone who's popping in New Jersey and
they don't say Joe Budden, it's almost like a slap in their face not only
to me but to themselves and everyone else in New Jersey. When I first
got signed, Def Jam literally had to try to get me to stop saying "New
Jersey" so much. I wasn't doing that just because I'm so proud of
New Jersey. I'm from Queens if you really want to be technical about it.
I just felt there was so much talent in Jersey. It was a dream of mine
to come out and help us get the recognition we deserve. So for niggas
to be so ignorant and to say, "I'm popping from Jersey," I'm
like, "What have you done? Do you have some single popping somewhere
that I don't know about? Do you have underground fans somewhere that I
don't know about?" I'm not talking about anyone in general, but I'm
shocked that niggas are so ignorant as to let other people know that they
are that ignorant. Again, I'm not speaking about anybody in particular.
younger generation not have a good sense
generation is, I'm not going to say they're idiots, but there is definitely
something wrong with them. It's like for the people that follow wrestling,
and I don't follow wrestling anymore, but it's like for the people who
follow wrestling to not know anything about Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan,
or Ric Flair. It's like to totally shit on them. It's the same thing.
I was riding in the car with a 20 year-old gentleman and I played EPMD's
Crossover. He was like, "Turn that shit off." I was amazed.
The more you hold a conversation with somebody from that generation, the
more you'll be amazed at how much they don't know about the culture and
even have a serious conversation with someone like that?
No. No, no,
no, no, no. Hell no! No! I don't. You can't hold conversations with people
who are closed-minded. I'm on the internet and I'm on the message boards.
You can read some of theses threads, and I don't comment on shit unless
it's on myself, but reading some of this shit is appalling. I don't talk
hip-hop with niggas that know nothing about hip-hop.
a conversation going nowhere.
It gets frustrating.
I don't have any patience or tolerance to put myself in a situation where
I know I'm going to end up frustrated. As much as I love to argue and
debate, I'm not going to have a meaningless debate with somebody who doesn't
even have all the information about what they're debating over.
the younger generation do to catch up?
I have no
idea. I have no idea. I am clueless as to what they should do. If they
aren't willing to learn and get more information, there's really nothing
you can do. I was reading a XXL a couple of months ago and I read what
Cam said. He said the average hip-hop listener doesn't even know that
much about Hov because they were so young when Hov was really doing it.
I was like, "Shit, he's probably right." The people in their
lower-teens don't even know the impact Reasonable Doubt had. It's a shame.
We're in a sad state right now, basically.
the best way to come out of it?
I don't know.
I really don't know. If I knew, we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be in
this state. I have no idea whatsoever. The first thing I would probably
say is we need to start putting out quality music, but this industry is
not driven off quality music. It's driven off record sales, so I don't
really know what to say.
take the blame for that? The consumers, labels, artists, or DJ's?
I would assume
that everybody has to take some blame. The record labels, the execs, the
artists, and the consumers. I can't place the blame solely on one individual.
I think it's everybody's fault. The labels sign the bullshit, the execs
push the bullshit, the fucking artists make the bullshit, and the consumers
buy the bullshit. Laffy Taffy was the number-one song on the Billboard.
I couldn't believe that.
been articles written about how it's not fair to hate on that song. How
do you feel about that statement?
I don't have
any ill will towards Down 4 Life. It's just a prime example of what we're
talking about. A label signed these guys, a label pushed theses guys,
the guys made the song, and the label made them a hit. Sometimes people
put shit out, and it's so stupid that you enjoy it. It's almost like Soul
Plane and all the Scary Movies. They put it out and you're not taking
it seriously. You enjoy it because it's so stupid. I can't front, when
I watched the Laffy Taffy video, I laughed my ass off. These brothers
are making complete fools of themselves. I've never met them, so I don't
know how they are in real life. If they are like that in real life, more
power to them. I think the guy with his leg in the air is the funniest
thing in the world. People are enjoying it. The same week that Remy Martin
came out and sold 30,000 records, Dem Franchize Boyz came out and sold
100,000 records. What the fuck is going on in hip-hop? Here you have a
bitch from New York who is thorough. When I look at her, I see hip-hop.
She is so fucking hood. Shout out to Remy, that's my girl. When I look
at her, I see hip-hop. Her album didn't do as well as someone else who
sold a dance. The irony of it is the Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It, is like
Lean Back with a snap. They take a dance and add something to it and they
sell way more records with that. I don't understand that.
the game feels like Bamboozled.
what it's like. I should have said that myself. There's a lot of blackface
going on in hip-hop today. It seems pretty apparent to me.
blame artists for making bullshit music if that's their way out?
I'm not going
to put all the blame on the artist. I can't do that. If something is working
and you're doing it and it works for you, then more power to you. I'm
not one of those guys that hate on guys making those records and being
successful off of them. Don't get it fucked up, I had my fair share of
records where a label would not push me if I didn't have their type of
record. Def Jam loved Gangsta Party. They loved that record to death.
I'm listening to it like, "Damn, this doesn't say 'Joe Budden' at
Jam looking for a certain record from you right now?
No. I think
at this point with the hiatus and the changes over there and the success
they're having, me and Def Jam are on the same page right now. We have
some records that we're excited about. Things are going to go pretty smooth.
you see as your main competition right now?
with myself. I'm not competing with any of these artists. I'm competing
with myself to make better music than I've made in the past. I'm not competing
with any artists. There's not even that many rap artists I listen to.
I love what TI and Wayne are doing, but I'm busy trying to hone my own
of people would look at you like you don't have to improve. Do you see
room for improvement within yourself?
There's definitely room for improvement. That's one of the things I'm
working on now. I'm not trying to compete with anyone else. I've been
out of the market for three years, so this time around, I might have to
remind people who I am. The minute I remind people, it'll be on.
need to be reintroduced to Joe Budden?
can't come out in 2003 and then come out again in 2006 and expect for
people to remember who you are after you've only had one major song. You'd
be an ass to not think that. I definitely have to do some introducing
to the younger people and to the people who missed me the first time around.
I have some work to do, but I'm prepared for it. That's the good part
approaching The Growth differently than your first album right now?
learned so much since my first album and I've gotten so much better. Look
at everything I've put out since the first album came out. As good and
as classic as some of those songs are, they weren't able to make the album,
except for maybe Three Sides to a Story. There was definitely some crap
on the album. What I'm really upset is that it happened to get out before
it was supposed to. Look at the responses on HipHopGame to Unforgiven.
When I look at that, the second verse is the crazy one. They only heard
a thirty-second snippet. I don't start spitting crazy until after the
second chorus. I'm just anxious.
we get the full version?
to be on the album. Niggas can hear the full version of that when they
buy the album.
clear the Metallica sample?
going to be a sample on the album. They've done it already. It's the sample
on the snippet, but it's not going to be a sample on the album.
been crazy comments on that song.
is nuts. I know what that song is. Def Jam knows what that song is. We
pretty much all know what that song is. I'm just anxious for people to
hear the full version.
Unforgiven rank against the other songs on the album?
one of the strongest. I have other songs at that caliber, but it's definitely
one of the strongest.
pay attention to the negative comments on the audio page?
Not at all.
Everything is not for everybody. I understand that. People see shit differently.
I take everything with a grain of salt. If somebody actually has some
constructive criticism, then I take it for what it is.
Mood Muzik 3 dropping?
do you have for up-and-coming rappers?
to read a book before they get to this shit. Definitely be patient. Definitely
practice patience. Patience and practice are the two most important things
when you enter this shit.
you want to say to your fans?
the support. It's been much appreciated. Please keep it coming.