Joe Budden & Charlamagne Battle Over L.A. Reid’s Sexual Assault Allegations (Video)
The business side of Hip-Hop was shaken up earlier this month with Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s swift dismissal at Epic Records. Stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted an assistant at the record label, Reid’s departure ignited heated debate from the industry’s biggest talking heads, including two of the most outspoken – Charlamagne Tha God and Joe Budden. The radio and podcast personalities, respectively, have discussed Reid’s legal woes to varying degrees, though neither has ever held anything back when broaching the sensitive subject matter.
Recently, Joe invited Charlamagne onto his podcast to discuss a wide range of topics – the business of Hip-Hop radio, Tha God’s new book, and more. But, inevitably, the conversation tackled the Reid scandal. Not only did the two flamboyant voices express their opinions on the facts of the case, but both used the opportunity to bring up each other’s legal woes. Insults were hurled, though in seemingly good humor, and an engaging discussion about a serious topic was given some insightful analysis.
It all begins at the 35:01 mark, with Joe Budden saying “Fuck L.A. Reid, if I haven’t said that enough in the last few weeks,” which inspires Charlamagne’s hot take of : “your critique on him is not bad, but why ‘fuck him’? He dropped you, right?” The Breakfast Club host is referring to Budden’s professional past namely his not-so-quiet breakup with Def Jam under the direction of Reid. Joe responds to Charlamagne’s question, saying “No. Before L.A. got there, I was trying my best to get the f*ck out that building…Def Jam was trying to put out an album on me without my consent. Listening parties – they was doing some wild sh*t when L.A. got there.”
Budden then explains why he is so invested in calling Reid out so vociferously, explaining: “Charlamagne, my beef with L.A. comes from…I’m too passionate about the culture. And I witnessed it. I witnessed the staple of Hip-Hop and all that Def Jam was be turned into some total bullsh*t.” Char disagrees, rebutting Joe’s point with “L.A. Reid didn’t ruin Def Jam. Music really did change. Def Jam had all of these lyricists – Method Man, Redman, Joe Budden – ’05, it was all about the Souf’. Lil Jon came up in ’05. It was all about the Souf’. L.A actually made some good moves! He signed [Young] Jeezy.”
Frustrated with what he sees as a distraction from the real argument, Joe says “I had a point I was getting to about L.A. Reid, because I heard Charlamagne compare the L.A. Reid sex allegations to my domestic abuse history.” Years ago, Budden was accused of assaulting a model by the name of Esther Baxter. Those charges were eventually dismissed. Charlamagne interjects by arguing the point that what he said, in fact, was that Joe should have “more sympathy” for the embattled Reid. What follows is a brief but intense stare down, interrupted with Joe pointedly asking “do you think those two are the same?” before listing reasons he finds Reid’s legal woes to be much more serious than his own. “L.A. settled out. Several occasions on these allegations. I have not settled anything. I’ve gone to court and all of these charges have been dismissed and thrown away and laughed at.”
It’s then that Charlamagne attempts to interrupt, but Joe isn’t having it. “Wait a minute. Best-selling author man. ‘Cause this be my fu*king point with you. You know better that the sh*t that you spew…you certainly are not comparing L.A. Reid settling out numerous times to fu*kin’ sexual-assault charges to…” He trails of, because he’s interjected by Charlamagne, who says “if it’s sexual-assault charges then it is the same thing. Assault is assault” (39:10). Joe is not moved, saying “you continue to compare the two when one gentleman continues to settle out, and one just keeps getting [the charges] thrown out.”
Rather matter-of-factly, Charlamagne says “He’s getting sued, and you’re getting arrested. Yours is criminal, and his is more civil. And, by the way, Joe came on the Breakfast Club after he had allegations against Esther Baxter. Esther accused him of sitting on her stomach. So, I say to Joe ‘Joe, did you sit on her stomach?’ You know what Joe says to me? ‘No, I sat below her breasts’…so just that you’re found not guilty, doesn’t mean that something didn’t happen.”
This really grinds Joe’s gears, who at this point accuses Charlamagne of being intentionally obtuse and “elusive,” and it isn’t long before he brings up some of the skeletons in Tha God’s closet. “I don’t care about me misspeaking on your show. I’m talking about L.A. Reid continuing to pay off. Funny that you would say that you think I would be a little more empathetic to L.A. Reid because, one of my gripes with you, is you have some sh*t that looked like some sh*t, but sh*t happened…you’ve been accused of sh*t. You’ve been charged with sh*t” (41:00). Says Charlamagne, “oh, you mean rape?,” totally diffusing Joe’s intent by addressing the issue head on. “Why do you even know that? ‘Cause I’ve said it. I’ve never hid from that.”
Joe dismisses his point, saying his reason for bringing it up is that “any time you’ve ever brought up my fu*kin’ domestic history (or lack of), I be sayin’ ‘yo, Charlamagne has dealt with women. You just know that sh*t happens sometimes. I’m talking about women and being emotional. Women lying, women maneuvering.” That’s when Rory Farrell jumps in, saying “that’s why he’s saying, at the same time, when L.A. is being accused of things and they could be false, you should be more sensitive.”
“The most shocking thing about the sexual allegations with L.A. is that they were with women,” Charlamagne says, changing the course of the conversation at the 42:30 mark. “‘Cause I thought that L.A. was gay….so when I heard Joe wylin’ on him, I thought he was made ’cause L.A. dropped him, or ’cause he tried him.” He takes a more serious tone shortly thereafter, expressing that he feels that Mr. Reid is “a piece of sh*t” if the allegations are, in fact, true. “He shouldn’t be in the music industry, manipulating people with his power, period.”
Their nearly three-hour conversation does not waste a single moment, with all involved parties contributing impassioned points throughout.