Joe Budden Talks Teaming With Diddy & REVOLT for 'State of the Culture,' Moving 'The Joe Budden Podcast' to Spotify and More
Joe Budden's evolution from lyrical assassin to a well-versed father figure in hip-hop's media industry has been beautiful to watch since his retirement following Rage & The Machine in 2016. After a fallout with Complex resulted in leaving Everyday Struggle -- a show he created before his 2017 departure -- the New Jersey-bred MC took his time in meticulously crafting his next move while The Joe Budden Podcast continued to experience exponential growth.
In May, the 38-year-old inked a deal with Diddy's REVOLT and recently announced that both of his endeavors will be taken to the next level on his terms. Budden embarks on rare territory with his new State of the Culture show on REVOLT, where he will be joined by strong-minded co-hosts Remy Ma and Scottie Beam, formerly of Hot 97, every Monday starting Sept. 10 digitally.
The Joe Budden Podcast will also have a new home come next week (Sept. 12) as the popular podcast series has inked a fresh partnership with Spotify. Budden alongside Rory and Mal are expected to release a pair of episodes weekly, meaning Joe has a very busy fall in store, with a toddler still wreaking havoc around his New Jersey residence.
"Oddly enough, they were the last ones to the table," the newfound media maven says of Spotify. "So when they came, I had already assessed every offer from everyone. I was making a move. Even if the move was direct to consumer, a move was going to be made."
Budden elaborated on why Spotify was the perfect ally, what's in store for State of the Culture, why he enjoys Nicki Minaj's pettiness, his upcoming Pull Up episode with 6LACK, and much more. (Unfortunately, Billboard caught up with the embattled Budden prior to Eminem taking aim at him on his surprise Kamikaze album, so there will be no mention of that in our conversation.)
A lot's changed since we last spoke prior to the release of your Rage & The Machine album in 2016. You wouldn't accept my congratulations when you just started to date Cyn Santana. Now you have a kid together less than two years later.
Today, when people congratulate me, I just accept it. There's plenty to be congratulated for today.
What's it like having a toddler running around these days?
It's fun and annoying. It's super fun with just science and genetics while you're watching the combination of you and your significant other running around and grow. The evolution of life is amazing. It's annoyingly tiring. I'm really enjoying it. It's been a blast.
Why did you start rebranding the podcast by changing its name from I'll Name This Podcast Later to The Joe Budden Podcast?
It was difficult for people to locate is what my research was showing me. I'll Name This Podcast Later, to me, is still one of the greatest podcast names ever but five words, people didn't really know how to search it or who to associate it with. That was a business decision and we didn't really want to do it. That was a real Debbie Downer moment in the evolution of the podcast.
Now, it's like what a fucking home run. That was one of the pivotal moments in the growth of the podcast. Me leaving Complex was another. The Drake [Views] review was another. We've had some moments where we saw crazy growth.
Even going back a little further, just bringing Rory and Mal on every week to record consistently.
I may take that for granted because those are my real life friends. So, we speak. I guess to see their contributions and to see other people appreciate them the way I do daily in friendship is awesome.
What's the origin of your friendship with both of them?
Rory and I worked together and grew fond of one another so we continued to hang out past business. That was maybe six years ago. Mal, I met through a mutual friend maybe a little over 10 years ago. I didn't meet him through [Biggs] or Dash or any of them. The ongoing joke I have going with Mal is that he keeps his [music industry ties] very quiet. The podcast is the first time I've ever heard him not deflect or own the fact that he is family to some hip-hop royalty. He never brings that up in our friendship.
How did the deal for the podcast to move to Spotify come together?
They called. I had an offer from everybody. With what our goals were and where we wanted to be in the next two to five years and what we thought we could get from the relationship outside of financial backing. A combination of both of those things made me feel really good about choosing Spotify as a home. They understood the times and were willing to be daring and take a risk. They were willing to hire somebody that wasn't really of the ilk. I just enjoyed the experience of dealing with them.
Does anything change with the podcast outside of going from one to two times a week?
No. It goes to twice a week. I have not been urged to switch my content. I have not been muzzled or censored. I still own all liability so if some shit goes down or something is said, they're going to do what corporate does, which is cut ties and get the fuck away from you. That falls on me and it's about me and my bros being responsible.
What else can we expect as far as curating playlists?
I don't know. I gotta see what they'll allow me to do but man, is that exciting. I love music. If we could make a sleeper playlist or just play with playlists period, they're such an important part of the culture today. That was part of the incentive in wanting to be over there.
How involved were you with State of the Culture coming on REVOLT?
I can't do anything a little bit. Everything that I do I'm fully involved. All of my energy is there. I'm all the way there. The difference here I guess is [Diddy] is involved. I'm used to working on my own in my career and this is a collaborative between he and I. He's been a genius for ages so I'm looking forward to seeing what both of efforts will deliver.
How did you end up selecting Remy Ma and Scottie Beam to work alongside you as your co-hosts on State of the Culture?
They're both my co-hosts. One will probably take on more of a moderating role. I think Scottie Beam will handle that for us. She will lend her voice, opinion, and perspective as well as a co-host. Scottie is someone I've wanted to work with for years since she was at Hot 97. When I went to Complex, I pitched her. I called her for the Pull Up. I screen-tested Scottie and Remy, people I know that are outspoken. People that I know won't be afraid of me. I was looking for chemistry and when I did the screen test with the three of us, it jumped off the screen. I was like, "That's what we need." There's nothing like that out there. It's once a week at 5 p.m. ET on Monday. Tuesday nights linear on television at 10 p.m. ET.
What's the premise of the show? Will there be certain staple segments, skits or interviews running down what happened that week?
We kind of have an idea of what we would like to do. I don't want to put a creative ceiling on it. I want this show to come to life on its own. We do have segments. We do plan on doing interviews. State of the Culture will be very different than Zane Lowe.
Is this going to be similar to Everyday Struggle in any way?
Totally different. It is my duty to make sure it's different. For me, I created that already. That creation still exists somewhere. Is it impactful? That's not for me to answer but it's still there in the universe. My job as a creator is to create something unique from everything in existence. We got to make something that can attract its own audience and not rely on being like some shit n----s just saw.
We just announced me and two women, tell me another show that's done it? We ain't even premiered it and we're already on rare ground. There's time put into this stuff. I'm sure some do exist, I'm just saying there's not very many since it's not common practice.
Is your Pull Up show going to continue? Have any stood out to you in the first run of shows?
I got another Pull Up coming this month with 6LACK. I hate interviews so if I'm inviting you to kick it then I have to have a relationship with you. I have to really be a fan and want to hear what you have to say. [6LACK] is a real introspective kid. I think that interview was full of substance. Very different than Zane Lowe.
Last month, Nicki Minaj took aim at us when she was upset with an article we posted and instructed her fans to find me for her. As someone who has had to deal with the Barbz as well, what's your take on Stan culture and her post-album release ranting?
I love the fact she's using her platform to attack some young writer. [Laughs] I just like when people are petty that way. Now, is it the right thing to do? That's for her and her team to decide. Clearly, it's behavior that they don't plan on changing. So it's like we're here and we got to deal with this. So how do you react and respond to it? I've dealt with Nicki Minaj shit going on three years now, so you'll get no empathy from me. I had the Barbz on my ass.
You are now in the running for #CockSuckaOfTheDay award on #QueenRadio this Thursday. Barbz get me the name of this writer then hit them & tell them this is one black woman they will not bully into a corner by FRAUDULENT SHAMING TACTICS. So to clarify; because I realize common sense is far from common... I haven’t CANCELLED anything. I reversed the order of the US & EUROPEAN LEGS of my tour. This is for obvious reasons to anyone with a brain. My album was originally going to drop in June which would’ve given me 3 months of tour rehearsal. However, I was still writing & recording up to last week. We are all grown right? We can all do math right? Or will they just pretend to not have basic sense so that they can board the Nicki Hate train & get some clicks? I can’t rehearse 4 WEEKS for a tour I originally planned on rehearsing 3 months for. I give my fans QUALITY. I write & co produce my own music. Therefore, I can’t rehearse while I’m WRITING & RECORDING my album. My true fans understand & know that I will deliver an extraordinary US TOUR which begins in MAY just like I delivered an extraordinary album entitled #Queen. My European fans get the SAME EXACT DATES they’ve always had. Australian fans SAME EXACT DATES they had. Cancelled what? Where? The narrative they are trying to create is disgusting. But I must say, I’m enjoying this. I love bringing some excitement to this shit. I love having the balls others only dream about. Wait, who’s been dreaming about balls? -- There’s another publication I’m giving CSOTD award to. I won’t tell you who. It’s a surprise -- Shout out to my fans around the world. I love you guys so much for holding me down. I’m working on a M&G experience for the tour & will update you ASAP.
Wasn't really looking for empathy. More wanted to direct the conversation to Stan culture going too far and how it's going to take someone getting hurt for people to wake up.
I agree with you on that. When them kids came to my house -- you know the famous tank top with the rocks. I went to their house but Drake was egging it on by following the kids on Instagram. My whole thing was if I was a psycho n---a and I hurt one of these kids that wouldn't be on y'all but people don't hold themselves accountable that way. While I agree with you, it would be tough to spread that message.
Through all of the interviews you've done as an interviewee, what has that taught you to become a better interviewer in your media career?
I guess it helps me what to defend against in interviews. I guess that's probably why I don't like doing interviews. I know the purpose of an interview so I never want to hear what someone's gotta say when they're doing a promo run or have an album rolling out. I want to hear what you have to say when you're alone in a room with your deepest, darkest, most inner-sacred thoughts. I try to bring that to interviews.