Joe Budden Interview

Joe Budden
Artist:Joe Budden
Next Project:Padded Room (Out 2/24)
Twitter:Joe Budden on Twitter
Website:Joe Budden's Website

As many artists will tell you, the music industry can be a little bit crazy – how else can you describe a business in which an emcee can drop a hugely-successful, gold-certified debut, earn a Grammy nomination, release a slew of critically-acclaimed street albums, prepare a sophomore release, and then have the LP shelved by his label – for nearly four years?  All of this and more happened to Joe Budden as he tried to get his second album out on store shelves.  Fortunately for listeners, the Jersey City emcee is getting ready to break out of his Padded Room for good.

On February 24th, Budden will release his (extremely) long-awaited second album via Amalgam Digital.  With rave reviews from XXL, Spin, and Smooth Magazine, and a Booth-approved lead single in “The Future,” (ft. The Game), Padded Room is shaping up to be a fittingly triumphant return to the game, and, coupled with his work in recently-formed supergroup Slaughterhouse, should catapult him to a new level of prominence on the national scene.

In an exclusive interview with our own DJZ,” Joe Budden steps into the Booth to discuss the difficulty of translating online buzz into sales, how he’s grown as an emcee since starting work on Padded Room, and whether or not a Slaughterhouse LP lies in the near future.

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Joe Budden Interview Transcription

DJ Booth:  What’s goin’ on, everybody?  It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a man who will literally bust out of his Padded Room on February 24th.  Gearing up to release his extremely long-overdue sophomore album, please welcome, for the second time, Joe Budden – how you doin’?

Joe Budden:  I’m great – cue the applause! [laughs]

DJ Booth:  We spoke last February, shortly after you dropped Mood Muzik 3.  At the time, we discussed what you thought would be a spring release for Padded Room, but, as they say, all good things come to those who wait.  We all waited, it’s nine months later, the album’s finally here.  Is the timing finally right?

Joe Budden:  I think so, I think so.  There definitely will not be another push-back; February 24th is the day we’re stickin’ with, and I think the push-back was for the best.  I think the timing was right, I think the anticipation is at an all-time high, so, like I said, I’m extremely excited about it, I can’t wait for the people to hear it.

DJ Booth:  In a quote from the promotional press release for this album, you said the album’s gonna be “crazy.”  Is this a pun, considering the title of the album, or do you really feel that, when people hear it, they’re gonna be saying just that about it: “This is crazy?”

Joe Budden:  I think that that’s what they’re gonna say: “This is crazy.”  It’s the same thing that I said when I was makin’ it, in the process, and I think the fans are gonna take it for exactly what it is: a crazy, insane body of work.

DJ Booth:  Do you feel that during the process of creating this album, you’ve changed as an emcee?

Joe Budden:  If you let Joe Budden tell it, Joe Budden gets better with each day that passes, even if other people disagree.  Like I said, I’ve been doin’ nothing but working on my craft, absorbing information, and just trying to get better at a few things, so I would definitely say that I’m much better, and I think that this album showcases that.

DJ Booth:  In the midst of promoting this release, the buzz surrounding the project has grown [for] two additional reasons – one, Slaughterhouse with Joell, Royce, and Crooked I, and your recent, brief beef with Saigon.  Have either of these situations caused distraction, or do you embrace the idea that there is no such thing as bad press?

Joe Budden:  No, no such thing as bad press – definitely not.

DJ Booth:  As long as Joe Budden’s name is up in lights, that’s all that matters, right?

Joe Budden:  That’s all that matters to me.  Like I said, it was nothing that I planned; we didn’t form Slaughterhouse with the idea of, “Let’s help Joe Budden promote his album,” nor did me and Saigon collaborate and say, “Let’s trade verbal blows so both of us can create some buzz.”  It was kinda just something that happened, and it was pretty circumstantial, and, fortunately for me, both of those things did garner some attention, and help direct people to become aware of the album comin’ out.

DJ Booth:  So, you want to put to rest the Internet speculation that you’re trying to pull a 50 Cent and cause drama before an album release?

Joe Budden:  No, no, that’s definitely never been my style.  If I’m trading bars with somebody, it certainly is not because I have a release coming.  Joe Budden prides himself on the music and not the sales aspect, so no.

DJ Booth:  In our previous interview, you spoke about a third project, which, at the time, you were hoping to release in 2008.  That obviously is just waiting in the wings for after Padded Room drops in February.  Any details on what fans can expect post this release?

Joe Budden:  No.

DJ Booth:  You’ve got nothing for me?

Joe Budden:  No, it’s too early, it’s premature.  I’m in the studio right this second, working on new music.  Slaughterhouse is in the studio as a group, working on music.  So I don’t know, I’m just gonna have to figure it out.  But I definitely know that I want to release a full-length LP in the near future, very shortly after this one – maybe late 2009, early 2010. 

DJ Booth:  I like the span of dates there, so you don’t disappoint any fans who are circling calenders as we speak.

Joe Budden:  Yeah, I learned my lesson with that.

DJ Booth:  You talked briefly about Slaughterhouse.  A lot of our members have been clamoring for months about the possibility that the group releases an actual project, as opposed to just teasing the public with the possibility of something like that.  Do you see, honestly, something in the near future – without giving me any dates, ‘cause that’s just not important – but an actual project from the group, out and available to the public?

Joe Budden:  That’s definitely, definitely happening.  I say that with one hundred percent certainty.  I know that the idea is too good to be true, almost, to some people, and you’ve got to understand, when you have four different artists, it does take some time to get it put together, but the Slaughterhouse LP is definitely, definitely in full effect.  We’re workin’ on a bunch of different things – a Slaughterhouse EP, a Slaughterhouse mixtape.  It’s not just one of those dream-team ideas that kinda comes and goes.  We’re just as passionate about it as the fans are.

DJ Booth:  Is recording a problem, considering you’ve got Royce in Detroit, Crooked I out West, of course you and Joell are in the Northeast?

Joe Budden:  No, not at all.  New York is like a second home for Royce – he’s up here now, he’s always up here – Joell is right there, and Crooked is the easiest person to work with in the world; you could call him right now and say, “Crook, I got a track I need you here for,” and he’s gonna fly up here and get it done.  His work ethic is incredible.  So, no, it’s actually been quite easy.

DJ Booth:  Usually, the negative side of collaboration albums is, because of scheduling, a lot of people are forced to lay down vocals and then just do the whole Email, ProTools thing – how important is it for the four of you to actually be in the studio, collaborating back and forth with one another to churn out a top-notch product?

Joe Budden:  Well, that was the first thing that we said when we were talkin’ about the idea of Slaughterhouse: we didn’t want to Email verses back and forth.  As great as technology has been to everyone, to all of us, that’s one of the things that kinda f*cks with the art and the process of making great music.  We all want to be together, we all want to push one another, we want to critique one another, so, yeah, with every track that we’ve done except for “Slaughterhouse,” because of the time deadline, we’ve all been in the same room.

DJ Booth:  When an album comes out, is there a possibility that it might not fit on a regular disc, ‘cause you’re looking at over 10 eight-minute songs?

Joe Budden:  [laughs] No… we’re not gonna do that.  The songs are gonna be in song format – Joe Budden format is eight minutes, but no, we’re gonna make it work for this album.

DJ Booth:  How much do you all push each other, when you’re in the studio together, to be better?  I mean, have you ever come with a verse and had everybody hear it, and then after they heard it and you saw their reactions, you were like, “Maybe I need to go in and do that one again?”

Joe Budden:  Fortunately for me, that hasn’t happened yet.

DJ Booth:  Okay.  Anybody else?

Joe Budden:  I think everyone else – Crook, Royce, and Joell.  I’m proud to say I’m the only Slaughterhouse member who has not rewritten a verse yet, and that’s the ongoing joke in the group, ‘cause everybody has rewrote their sh*t except for me.

DJ Booth: [laughs] You’re holdin’ the crown for now; that’s what I like to hear.

Joe Budden:  Yeah.

DJ Booth:  Joe, we took a bunch of questions from our readers.  The first one comes from Daniel of Orlando, Florida, and he wrote, “I heard you say in a previous interview that you didn’t feel you got the proper support from your fanbase in the New Jersey/New York area.  Do you still feel that way?”

Joe Budden:  I think that hopefully is beginning to change.  Oddly enough, I get a lot of support from the West Coast.  But I think that’s beginning to change.  I think, as the awareness goes up, and as I continue to be consistent, more people from my area come around, and they’re converted into Joe Budden fans.

DJ Booth:  Second question comes from a West Coaster, Jordan from San Ramon, California, and he said, “How difficult is it to fully utilize the hype that is generated from your mixtapes, from your feature work, and from beef, in order to put out an album and say, ‘Okay, it was definitely because I did all this?’”

Joe Budden:  It’s hard – it’s difficult to tell when your buzz is at its peak.  It sometimes becomes difficult to tell when you’re even creating a buzz.  You know, everything in this game, it so relies on timing that that part is really important, and it’s something that everyone tries to pay a lot of attention to.

DJ Booth:  With the Internet, is it much easier now than ever before in your career to gauge what kind of buzz you have?

Joe Budden:  Yes and no.  I know that I’m kind of a big deal online, but I think that some of that is starting to seep into the streets, and you want to kind of continue to make sure it does that.  I remember a day and time when the streets indicated what was hot online, and now I think it’s starting to reverse a little bit.

DJ Booth:  Does buzz online mean anything if it doesn’t get to the streets?

Joe Budden:  It does, though, it does.  I think, it’s so difficult to create a buzz anywhere, whether it be online, the streets, radio, anywhere, that if you are able to create a buzz somewhere, it definitely means something.

DJ Booth:  Last question from one of our readers.  Damon from an unspecified city in Canada said, “On the new album, what song do you feel best exemplifies your overall growth as an emcee, for someone who has not heard much of your work since your debut?”

Joe Budden:  “In My Sleep.”

DJ Booth:  Why is that?

Joe Budden:  ‘Cause creatively, that song is on a whole different level.  I could name some other records where the rhyme schemes and the wordplay and the delivery and everything is more complex, but I think, for Joe Budden fans, and for Joe Budden, I like to focus on the creative side, and havin’ a thought and bein’ able to execute it in the booth.  I think that song best displays me being able to do that.

DJ Booth:  Well, the track I’m gonna use to wrap things up is your current single, “The Future.”  Your West Coast colleague, The Game, opens the song by saying, “Everything got a future.”  So, Joe, what does your future hold?

Joe Budden:  Only God knows!  Hopefully nothing but good fortune, blessings, health, and positivity and productivity.  Like I said, as long as I’m consistent and I try to put my best foot forward, and work as hard as I possibly can, everything else will fall into place – God’ll take care of everything.

DJ Booth:  You’re on his side right now, ‘cause you just decided to join me for an interview inside the DJBooth.  So that works in your favor, I can definitely tell you that.

Joe Budden:  [laughs]

DJ Booth:  Give everybody a website or a MySpace page, something so they can find out more about you and, of course, the exciting new release, Padded Room, out February the 24th.

Joe Budden:  Everybody can log on to  I’m there 24/7 and it’s updated constantly by myself and a few other people, and I’m very easily accessible through that site, so everybody please be sure to check out that site, everybody be sure to check out my new album, Padded Room, February 24th, and I want to thank you for takin’ the time to speak with me.

DJ Booth:  It’s my pleasure.  You know, I haven’t checked out this Joe Budden TV yet-

Joe Budden:  Oh, you gotta go there!

DJ Booth:  -is it some guy following you around with a video camera, while you’re making tuna sandwiches and stuff?

Joe Budden:  No, not at all; Joe Budden TV is life through the eyes of Joe Budden.  You’ve gotta go check it out – it’s pretty fun.

DJ Booth:  That’s exactly what I’m gonna do when I’m off the phone.  Joe, best of luck to you and nothing but success as you move forward, my friend.

Joe Budden:  Thanks for everything.  Take care!

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