"I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different." -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
At its best, Hip-Hop is driven by strong, unforgettable personalities that present as three-dimensional artists. For 15 years, Joe Budden has always personified the phrase "an emcee's emcee" and brought his own unique brand & vision to the culture. While he has expanded that brand over the years from music to television, video games, podcasts (his groundbreaking "I'll Name This Podcast Later"), battle rap, & social media ingenuity, Joe Budden's trademark has always been music; music rooted in honesty and fueled by interpersonal relationships—and always presented with elite bars. The Jersey City Slaughterhouse contingent has amassed a cult following & career out of slicing his life & soul open for all to digest. Some call it Mood Muzik, Joe Budden simply calls it his life.
Authenticity—true authenticity, is the purest form of trust an artist has with his or her own audience. Back when artists were afraid to show vulnerability, Joe outspokenly rapped about addiction, his estranged father, depression, & relationship woes. Joe puts his life between the papers line and lets you digest it at your own discretion; no judgments— and his audience has always had a front-row seat. The results of that musical palette encapsulate the entire spectrum of our daily existence; beautiful, complicated and yes—sometimes very messy. But at its core, Joe's musical catalog (past & present) has always been a tapestry specifically devised to evoke human emotion; an invaluable trait that has become especially difficult to master & communicate in a digital age.
In the studio & out, similar to Tupac Shakur—another pioneering emotional emcee, Joe Budden puts himself out there (scars & all) speaking his mind any chance he gets as he refuses to be a predictable, conventional celebrity. Eschewing conventional thinking, Joe engages with fans & haters alike on various social media platforms regularly. His weekly podcast episodes, "I'll Name This Podcast Later", (which frequently clocks over six figures in streams) gave him yet another outlet to directly reach & interact with his fan base; and for a celebrity who is regularly in the headlines and enjoys being a vocal fan & cultural participant, the podcast has been a vehicle in which Joe is unafraid to speak openly & subjectively about those around him—at any cost. Those same rules apply to Joe himself, as when he has had a confrontation, or some crazed teenaged trespassers have shown up at his residence, it is captured, analyzed, & dissected. Similarly, Joe has used network television as another medium to further his connection with fans; spending two seasons as a vital cog on VH1's "Love & Hip Hop: New York" reality series and became a network mainstay with "Couples Therapy: Season 6", alongside Dr. Jenn Mann. The artist who'd been making therapeutic, self-analytical music his entire career put his couples counseling sessions on one of the VH1's highest viewed shows. At the same time he led a Rap renaissance, Joe put his life in front of lenses—for all to see.