Hot 97 vs Joe Budden: An Interview Turns Into A Personal War Of Words (Video)
On August 12, Joe Budden visited Hot 97 in New York City to presumably promote his forthcoming album with AraabMusik, Rage And the Machine. However, what ensued was a nearly hour-long war of words that devolved to the point that Budden walked out of the studio. It all began when the interview was launched with what was likely an inevitable question about Budden’s now infamous back-and-forth with Drake, but he wasn’t so keen to talk about it.
“Y’all have done this every day for how many months? Y’all have recapped it every day,” Budden says. From his continuously terse – and at times disinterested – responses, all signs point to his desire to move on from the discussion, but it continues. Near the 2:02 mark, Budden offers up his insight into why Drake seems to have initiated a war of words, saying “I would assume it was from the album review on the podcast,” referencing his I’ll Name This Podcast Later series in which Drake’s Views was discussed.
“I’m not as obsessed with Drake as y’all think I am. Only a little bit,” he says (3:07). However, a couple of minutes later, he makes an important distinction, saying “I think Drake and I are fans of each other and respect each other.” Nevertheless, he stands by the positions taken in his review of Drake’s album, expressing the sentiment that Views was not as substantively generous as it should have been. Especially, Budden says, with the amount of fame Drake has reached, there is more to talk about than is present on the album. This point becomes a bone of contention towards the end of the interview.
Towards the nine-minute mark, it appears the Drake-focused conversation is coming to a close when Ebro asks Budden “Where is it today with Drake?” “It’s been a nonissue for me. It’s been dead,” says Budden. “At this point, it’s the fans and the media keeping it going. I don’t have any more bars for him” (9:02). It’s then that Rosenberg says that throughout the two rappers’ interaction through DMs, Budden was “being a dickhead” before making the point that he thought all parties involved were behaving badly. But it still remains evident from Budden’s energy that the conversation is not one he wants to have. “If we’re being perfectly honest, I don’t give a fuck about the Drake stuff. I don’t care what his point was. I don’t care what he meant. I don’t care about any of it.” (12:20)
Finally, at the 20:12 mark, Hot 97 plays Budden’s new single, the Fabolous and Tory Lanez-assisted “Flex.” Budden dons his promotional hat, putting on his distinctive tone and cadence to mention the name of his album but before he’s able to, Rosenberg makes an aside and laughs at Budden’s “rapper voice.” “Shut the fuck up. Can you save up all of your built-up tension for later? We can address you later.” With his next comment, Budden sets into motion what will prove to be the most heated part of the interview when he references Marisa Mendez, Hot 97 employee and former member of Budden’s podcast team. “Marisa won’t stop looking at the [computer] screen. Y’all are fucking weird.”
Mendez’ presence in the conversation dates back to her firing by Budden, who ended their professional relationship via text message. And, with her current position at Hot 97, there was a clear desire at the hands of Ebro and Rosenberg to bring it up with their guest. “I want to talk about Marisa Mendez. Somebody who’s supported you. Somebody who’s been there for you,” Ebro motions at 21:08 “Why’d you do that to her? Why’d you kick her off the podcast?” In response Budden argues that he did not kick her off and that it was merely “time to go different ways.” Mendez interjects and contributes her own voice to the heated conversation, saying “I was over it anyway. But the whole fact of the matter is as a friend and somebody who I’ve worked with for years and have been friends with for years, I get a text message? You don’t even call me and talk to me about it?” (22:45)
“I’m 36 what the fuck do I owe?” asks Budden. “What do you mean? As a friend and as somebody I work with, you don’t call somebody? You fire somebody over a text message? On a show we started together?,” Mendez asks. However, Budden repeatedly attempts to divert the conversation back to promoting his forthcoming record, but it’s futile, as the interruptions continue. Once it quiets down, Budden calmly says he didn’t publicly mention the ending of his professional relationship with her because he loves her as a friend, saying “if I were to address it, I would not have anything good to say” (24:36). Shortly thereafter, he alludes to the fact that what he has to say on the matter involves both Mendez and Rosenberg and that he’s held his tongue because “it probably wouldn’t have been the best dialogue.”
Unsurprisingly, Rosenberg is engaged by that statement but argues that whatever Budden has to say, there is nothing that would be hurtful. “You’re very easy to hurt,” he says to Rosenberg at the 27:15 mark. “Because you’re very sensitive. Don’t play on this radio station. You’re extremely easy to hurt. And during your rants, you sound hurt. So don’t tell me that me, someone who’s good with words, cannot hurt you with words.” Rosenberg concedes that yes, he could potentially be hurt but that there would be no truth in whatever Budden’s statements were.
After being called “douchey” and a “masterful true troll” by Rosenberg and Ebro, respectively, Budden is accused of “stalling this conversation” and avoiding the fact that, when launching his podcast, Budden got “hooked up with a studio that you didn’t have to pay for.” Budden scoffs, laughing at the idea that he, as a rapper, would ever require that kind of help. “Pete is not getting much credit for helping a rapper find a studio,” he says. But Rosenberg is unbothered, saying to Budden at the 29:13 mark “you to me right now, the way you’re handling this conversation, is unlike you to me. You’re reaching, you’re stalling, you’re not doing right by people who love you and who’ve cared.” Budden adamantly disagrees, saying “Okay let me be really direct. I don’t care. I don’t care to have this conversation. Feel how y’all feel. I’ma feel how I feel. I’m confused. I just want to promote my album.”
“You thought you were gonna come here and promote the album and not talk about the elephant in the room?,” asks Rosenberg. “Come on with this fuck shit. I don’t care. Marisa’s sensitive. Peter’s sensitive,” says Budden. It’s then Ebro’s turn to chime in, saying at the 30:50 mark (in reference to Mendez’ firing) “you took money out of somebody’s pocket who you know is trying to pay their bills,” to which Budden replies “that’s not my concern. She’s an adult.”
Clearly taken aback, Rosenberg responds by saying “talk about not being Hip-Hop. That shit ain’t Hip-Hop. Cutting your homie’s money off and not talking about it? You’re the same guy who just critiqued Drake for not being real, and here we are and we’re not being real.” Budden does not budge, however, and says “Shut the fuck up with this fuck shit.” As tensions continue to rise and it appears no one is willing to budge, Rosenberg says “I’ve been your friend through all your annoyingness to me for many years. You can be a dick often, that’s part of your personality. I always call you Surly Joe, it’s who you are.”
Seemingly exasperated, Budden goes on to make what proves to be his final major statement, saying to his hosts “I don’t think that you guys are able to have an objective conversation, number one. Number two, this podcast conversation is not a conversation I care to have. Especially not early in the morning. Number three, if Peter and/or Marisa feel a way, then there are other meetings for that to be discussed, if it’s going to be discussed at all. Number four, I certainly didn’t get out of my bed and wake up for this. Me and Araab aren’t here for this. This is minuscule. This is very minor on the grand scheme of things. Next time I come here for an interview, send my manager the talking points. ‘Cause this is completely absurd. I didn’t know that this was going to be an utter and complete waste of time.” That sentiment was echoed in a Tweet from Joe Budden posted minutes after the interview ended.
With 10 minutes of interview time left on the clock, Budden proceeds to thank everyone in the studio for their time, and then Ebro asks “what should we have covered?” It’s then that Budden gets up, saying “I don’t know, that’s your job,” and he walks out at the 39:21 mark. After shaking everyone’s hand and embracing the women in the studio, Rosenberg says “that was weird. I’ve never seen him in that space, utterly dodging, had no ground to stand on on anything.”
Ebro expresses his opinion that what he thinks happened is “you have someone who is deeply scarred by life and what he’s done, and he doesn’t know how to deal with being wrong ’cause he doesn’t have to deal with it.” However, the tension didn’t end there, as Ebro also took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.
Rage And the Machine has not been given assigned an official release date, but it will be interesting to see if Hot 97 makes it on Budden’s list of stops once he heads into a full-fledged promo run.