Joe Budden & Lil Yachty Have A Battle Of The Rap Generations & Neither Backs Down (Video)
Battles between generations in Hip-Hop have existed nearly since the inception of the culture. Grandmaster Melle Mel had issues with KRS-One, challenging him to a battle at KRS’ own Boogie Down Productions show. Kool Moe Dee beefed with LL Cool J, who he saw as unjustifiably arrogant. Ice-T took on Souljah Boy, Lil Kim went after Nicki Minaj, and the list goes on. However, over the last year, few have been more polarizing and subject to attack by Rap elders than Lil Yachty.
In many ways, Yachty brought the vitriol on himself. During a now infamous Hot 97 interview last Summer, Yachty flat out dismissed the notion that he was a rapper, and then proceeded to validate the point as he stumbled through a freestyle. Just months later, he told Billboard magazine that he could not name 5 songs by Tupac and Biggie, and then doubled down in November, calling Biggie “overrated.” His seeming fundamental lack of respect for those that came before him incensed fans and artists, alike.
One such person was Joe Budden, who is both an artist and a very vocal fan of Hip-Hop. On a recent episode of Budden’s Everyday Struggle show on Complex, Budden outright said “I don’t think that Yachty is Hip-Hop. I don’t think that Yachty’s label is Hip-Hop. When you’re not Hip-Hop and you’re trying to just troll or exploit, you get things like this.” Budden’s comments were addressing Yachty’s artwork for his upcoming new album. The cover features Yachty in a theater, surrounded by a woman with green hair, a person with albinism, two men kissing and other diverse figures.
Budden’s comments drew the ire of Yachty’s fans on social media, and Yachty himself eventually chimed in, by tweeting that he was listening to Lil B’s “T Shirts and Buddens (Joe Budden Diss).” Today, however, Yachty did one better by coming onto Budden’s show to confront him directly.
Early in the conversation, after Yachty says “I am happy every day, because life is moving in such a positive way I can’t get slowed down,” Budden pushes back. Hard. “Let me tell you how humans are,” Budden begins. “Feelings are fickle. What that means is they come and they go. Nobody is one thing forever. You cannot tell me…You would be lying to tell me that, as a young man in this industry–in this industry, in the music business–you are happy 24/7! That is a lie!! That is bullshit and I refuse to have someone tell me bullshit! I want to have an honest conversation”
Despite Budden’s drastically raising the decibel levels and the aggression, Yachty is undaunted. “When you come from a college dorm room with no money. You scamming credit cards. And, you aint’ gettin’ no play from no girls, you have no clothes, you have no car…and you come to having 3 [or] 4 cars, you have millions of dollars, a half million dollars on your body just to wear, and any kind of clothes you want, any hoes you want, how could you be upset?”
When Budden says that Yachty must have had media training, to be able to craft such a response, after his disastrous past interviews, Yachty fires back, even more brazenly. “I have my own mindset in how I brand myself and how I make this sh*t pop, because I just know how to do this sh*t. I don’t have no nice corporate white person in my ear like that…I’m happy that I can make you think, in your mind, that I got somebody behind me. That let me know I’m doin’ the right sh*t, the right way.”
Still unconvinced, Budden stays on the attack, causing Yachty to ask “What do you want me to say?” Budden fires off “I want you to be aware of your business! I want you to know whether you’re in a 360 [deal] or not! I want you to appreciate the culture that changed your life and took you from college dorm rooms eating f*ckin’ Oodles N Noodles! I want you, who’s well-spoken and articulates himself well…” He trails off, sensing that Yachty has gotten the point.
Taking extra care to show that he is not just the old person in the room hating on the younger generation, Budden points out that he was perceived to be the disrespectful upstart years ago, as well. “I was you last decade. I was dissing Wu-Tang. Google me…The divide that exists between younger acts and ‘older’ acts, last decade that existed, too. I’m responsible for contributing to it.” He continues, “One of the reasons I wanted you here was so you and I could maybe help get to the bottom of this ’cause ni**as like me don’t really socially with ni**as like you. Ni**as like you don’t really socialize with ni**as like me. If we all love Hip-Hop and everybody’s eating, that cannot continue.”
The heated exchange lasts for nearly 30 minutes, and there is no clear “victor.” Both are to be commended, however, for opening up the dialogue.