On the verge of his new album All Love Lost, a project that Joe Budden will admit is the darker of the No Love Lost and Some Love Lost trilogy, the Slaughterhouse "founder" doesn't want anyone thinking he's quite as close to the edge as his music (and tweets) may sometimes suggest. "I'm great. I'm happy, I'm wonderful, football season starts soon, the team is looking great, the Knicks suck but that's nothing new," he says in his signature baritone. "My skill level is still very, very, very, very high. My team is ok. I'm ok. Every one is ok. I'm blessed."
If Joey is a bit annoyed at the extra scrutiny applied to his paragraphs, he's got no one but himself to blame. As one of the pioneers of putting personal life and feelings on wax, tales of woe on everything from shaky situations and substance abuse to family drama and failed relationships have been the norm since his Def Jam debut. In the years that followed, Joe has taken the Budden faithful down plenty of dark rides. And in the space between his last album to now, life has returned the favor, providing part of the backdrop for All Love Lost. "When I say dark... My grandfather passed, my mother fought cancer, my father fought cancer, my father had a knee replacement," he explains patiently. "I could go on and on and on and on about different things that took place in my life over the last two years but it's nothing that should be alarming to anyone who's been there before. And, throughout this entire album the theme is love. Just with a dark twist on it."
Joe Budden may seem odd to fans that just caught on over the past few years. The dark and brooding mind that created the love gone wrong anthem "Broke," the first single off All Love Lost, may seem in sharp contrast to the non-stop joke machine they'll see on his Twitter account. The artist who writes about break-ups and substance abuse relapses doesn't really match up with the witty, insightful Hip-Hop head that fans of his I'll Name This Podcast Later podcast have come to know. But in a business where execs, managers, marketers and more are telling rappers to extend their reach with Twitter, podcasts and every other app available to attract more fans, Joey isn't looking for any extra approval. "I'm all right with not appealing to everybody. I'm all right with my music not being for everyone. I'm not a promoter, I'm not a marketer, I'm not any of these things," he says flatly. "I'm an artist true to form so my main concern is always the music. Not how to push it, not who's gonna hear it, not how much will it sell, not what's the radio joint. If you hear it and you fuck with it, great. If you don't, it's not for you."
In fact, when it comes to music, Joey feels the extra curricular activities actually hinder his career more than help it. "The things I do away from music, they don't attract people. In a lot of instances they tend to subtract people from me," he says in a serious tone.
"They're like, `His songs are cool sometimes but he's a real idiot, he's an asshole, he's a dick, he tweets too much.' But I've always been able to hang my hat on my ability as an MC. So you can say whatever you want about me. But you can't say, `He can't rap.'" But the question still stands, with a new album on the way and no end in sight musically, why keep the podcast and stay on Twitter? Why continue down a road that shakes more newcomers than it makes? Ask Mama Budden. "My mom said to me a few years ago, "You get one life so do as much as you can do with it. Don't box yourself in." It's a piece of advice the elite MC has taken to heart. "I want to do radio, I want to do television. I want to act. I want to do a podcast. I want to do as much as I can with the talent and ability that God gave me to make me happy... not to make a stranger happy."
And if those strangers don't like it?
ALL LOVE LOST
Saturday Beatles Brunch