From an ugly fallout with his former label Def Jam, to combating erroneous claims surrounding his relationships, Joe Budden has been on the opposing end of a disastrous battle against the world. He was virtually playing one on five. His candor served as a double-edged sword. There were people who loved his intense war stories on fighting against the ills of life and trumping his adversaries. There were also people who hated him because he couldn’t control what he said or how he said it. The odds against Joe were insurmountable. His scars and wounds appeared untreatable. His future was more obscure than ever a few years ago.
Fast track to 2013 and we have a rejuvenated Joe Budden – a man spearheading himself back into prominence. He forged the group Slaughterhouse and signed with Eminem’s Shady Records. His work ethic is unparalleled. He has dropped mixtapes like Mood Muzik 2 and his most recent work, A Loose Quarter. He has the infectious single in “Put It Down Like You,” featuring the likes of Lil Wayne and Tank, climbing up the hip-hop charts. He’s prepping his third album, No Love Lost, slated to drop February 5, and is a budding reality star being featured on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop. It seems Joe is in a happier and more secure place now.
We sat down with Joe to talk about his top 10 Joe Budden records, his new album, his NBA comparison, if he’ll be a relationship columnist and his best friends in the NBA in this exclusive interview.
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Dime: The last time we spoke, we narrowed down a top five all-time Joe Budden song list consisting of “Whatever It Takes,” “Calm Down,” “All of Me,” “Walk with Me” and “10 Minutes.” Five years later, let’s complete this list and add five more to make this a top 10. What tracks are we throwing in there?
Joe Budden: Ahhh man! That’s difficult right there. Hmmm, let me see, let me see. Damn that’s tough. I would have to go with “EXXes” from Padded Rooms. I would do “Black Cloud.” I would do – hmmm three more, this is f—— tough. (Laughs)
Dime: You need some help? (Laughs)
JB: Did I say “Broken Wings?”
Dime: Nah, but that’s a good one to throw in there.
JB: Okay. I would do “Broken Wings.” I would do – Hmm. (Pauses) Who the f— is doing doughnuts in my f—— driveway? (Laughs) But this is really hard. Let’s do “More of Me.” After that, damn. I don’t really f—— know. Repeat my first five again.
Dime: You had “Whatever It Takes,” “Calm Down,” “Walk with Me,” “10 Minutes,” and “All of Me.”
JB: Alright. I’m going to add “Pump It Up.”
Dime: I didn’t see that coming. I would have thought “Pray for Me” or “Downfall.”
JB: Oh shit, “Downfall!” I’m sitting here trying to go through my projects and I knew I was missing something. “Pray for Me” and “Downfall” would have to be in there; both of those.
Dime: “Pray for Me” from Padded Rooms or “Pray for Me” from Mood Muzik 4?
JB: “Pray for Me” from Padded Rooms.
Dime: Do you want to throw both in there?
JB: Yeah. F— yeah. I was sitting here thinking of my shows and the songs that I’d have to do.
Dime: I hear you on that. Because you came out with the sequel for “All of Me” with “More of Me,” which record would you considered more sacred to your heart, “All of Me” or “More of Me?”
JB: They are both sacred for different reasons. “All of Me” was a summation of me back then. I would say “All of Me” because it was me. “More of Me” was coming more from a bystander’s point of view. It was more so of watching someone else’s life.
Dime: Five years ago for your second album Padded Rooms, the cover art consisted of you in a straitjacket. Five years later, your new album with No Love Lost has you in a more relaxed position and we even catch a grin. Compare the contrasting album covers and also where you were musically from then to now.
JB: Well with Padded Rooms, I was in the straitjacket. It was coming after Halfway House. It was very dark, very gloomy, and introspective. The straitjacket really sums it up. As some would say, I was “psychotic,” “off,” “borderline schizophrenic,” “bi-polar.” It was that type of music. It was very real at the time. The cover for No Love Lost, I wanted to come off as the exact opposite because it showed I was able to put those demons to rest.
Dime: Obviously we were just touching on some of your more popular records. Do you have any gems that we can expect from No Love Lost? If you do, which tracks are they and why?
JB: On No Love Lost, there’s a few. Like, “Ghetto Birds” is classic storytelling Joe. “All in my Head” was from A Loose Quarter. That had Royce on there as well. That was like my favorite joint on there. I got “Skeletons in my Closet” on there. I got a song called “Runaway.” I got a song called “Castles.” While this album is probably my most diverse album since the debut, there’s definitely a lot of jewels on there.