Joe Budden is unemployed. Fired on his day off actually.
Yesterday, Joe Budden made headlines and sent shock waves through social media with the announcement of his departure from his daily web series Everyday Struggle, which is run by the New York-based media platform Complex. The news comes on the heels of the birth of Joe Budden’s child with fiancé Cyn Santana. Which many believed was the reason Budden didn’t make an appearance this week on Everyday Struggle.
Since its debut in April, Everyday Struggle has been a cultural phenomenon and simply put, one of the best hip-hop related shows ever created. It also goes without saying that the reason for it being one of the best shows was the presence of Joe Budden. The show garnered attention given Budden’s impetuous approach when discussing rap topics, but it was that approach that solidified Joe Budden as a the driving voice and de facto representer for the hip-hop community.
No one would have guessed that Joe Budden would become such an interesting and polarizing figure in the year 2017. Prior to co-hosting along side DJ Akademiks and moderator Nadeska Alexis for Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden was a “retired” rapper, who’s career crowning achievement came in the form of his 2003 hit single “Pump It Up” off his eponymous Def Jam debut. Not to say Joe Budden’s career should be regarded as a flash in the pan. His lyrical fueds with Game, Jay-Z, Prodigy,
and Drake are something of rap lore. His biggest contribution to hip-hop up to that point in his career probably would be his inclusion as one-forth of the supergroup Slaugtherhouse— a group comprised of verteran emcees Royce da 5’9”, Joell Ortiz, and Crooked I.
“On the contrary, despite unpopular belief, one thing Joe Budden has never lacked was integrity and staying true to one’s self.”
For everything that was regarded as a win for Joe Budden, he still managed to Joe Budden himself with suspect career decisions. Joe Budden’s brief stint on VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop signaled career suicide for Joe. Many critics and rap purists cited this unpopular move as the beginning of the end for Joe Budden’s career– deeming him as nothing more of a caricature of himself. Luckily the hard-nosed vet rebounded with a string of critically acclaimed mixtapes, and his ever-popular podcast, The Joe Budden Podcast with his boys Rory and Mal.
On the contrary, despite unpopular belief, one thing Joe Budden has never lacked was integrity and staying true to one’s self. When Def Jam mishandled and misguided Joe Budden’s tenure with the once-respected label, it was Joe Budden that took his career into his own hands and delivered some of the best music of his life. Integrity is what Joe Budden brought to Everyday Struggle. People panned him for being critical of the new generation of rappers a.k.a. the Mumble Rap Era. Millions of fans saw him self-destruct while trying to deconstruct a 19-year-old rapper by the name of Lil Yachty. That interview, along with his infamous walk off moment of rap trio the Migos at this year’s BET Awards pre show ascended Budden and Everyday Struggle to heights that neither the show’s hosts, nor Complex would have thought to be possible. At this moment, The Migos and Lil Yachty are benefiting with their run-ins with Budden. He’s made them more of a fixture in pop culture as they have with him.
Complex brands themselves as the outlet for everything associated with pop culture, but it wasn’t until the brilliant–albeit odd pairing of Budden and Akademiks that really made Complex the most relevant it has ever been in years. Complex tried to replicate the success of Everyday Struggle to the point they created a sports show Out of Bounds with over-opinionated, retired basketball star Gilbert Arenas and ex (ahem!) porn star Mia Khalifa. That show has yet to come close to setting a benchmark like Everyday Struggle has done in such a short timespan. Joe Budden knew that, the fans know that, and we thought Complex knew that. Complex really dropped the ball in handling the situation with Budden. Using his aforementioned birth of his child as a way to deflect the inevitable outrage in the days to come. Budden took to Twitter to give insight on the reason for his absence, for what he described as “internal chaos” with his former employer.
“Complex brands themselves as the outlet for everything associated with pop culture, but it wasn’t until the brilliant–albeit odd pairing of Budden and Akademiks that really made Complex the most relevant it has ever been in years.”
Budden would later address everything on his podcast saying creative differences and Complex not willing contractually pay Budden for what he’s worth were the main reasons why Complex decide to cut ties with him. Complex overlooked what Budden and DJ Akademiks brought to the table–and in the end, it was a huge blow to Complex’s brand, and the fans. It’s another case of a big corporation thinking it’s bigger than the sum of its parts. Supporters of Budden came out in droves on social media in the past 24 hours openly expressing their distain for Joe Budden not being on the show. Complex has already lost a number subscribers since the announcement.
Budden once said on an earlier episode of Everyday Struggle: “There’s nothing in music that can stop a creative from creating.” It was like Joe Budden had already foreknown his eventual exit from the multimedia company. The writing was already on the wall: what’s the fucking purpose for giving some one a platform to create, but unwilling to give them the space to create for the benefit of the company? Budden was just strategizing his next chess move, apparently everyone else was oblivious to change in audible.
When Everyday Struggle first started, people were calling for Joe Budden’s head, saying his eccentric behavior would be the catalyst for the show’s implosion. Even Budden’s contemporaries thought the show would flame out with Budden. Fast forward today, and it seems that many were right, the show will flame out—but not with Joe Budden.