Discovering a rebrand through podding

A lot has changed in between Joe Budden transitioning from a rapper to a media mogul but nonetheless, it’s happened and happened right in front of our eyes.


Joe, the music artist, was known for being a combative, wildly abrasive entertainer that some would deem “hard to work with.” However, Budden was still able to pump out a near 20-year rap career that saw him put out well over a dozen projects.


Yet, his transition into media has been something to behold as he still attempts to maneuver his way around those distinctions and criticisms.


In doing so, he brought some friends along for the ride, with a few swaps here-and-there but ultimately it brings us to the quad-pairing of Joe and his friends Mal, Rory and Parks.


Mal is a longtime friend of Joe that for a vast majority of it has gone on behind-the-scenes and away from the camera. However, it is an interesting dynamic bringing the brother of Kareem “Biggs” Burke, who famously is credited with being the co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records with Sean “Jay Z” Carter, into the fold.


In addition, Rory is a friend of Joe’s who has prior history in the music industry working with labels and artists respectively. More than anything, Rory is the voice of the podcast that has his ear to the streets while often times he’s out there being hands-on interacting with fans.


Parks is the infamous voice that is often heard but rarely ever seen on camera and is the engineer for Joe and was during his rap career as well.


Maybe now, it’s worth noting the dynamic Joe and his friends are putting on screen: Two white men and two black men discussing not only music, but the things going on in its culture and the stuff surrounding it.


The podcast was started independently but as of August 2018, the group signed an “exclusive partnership with Spotify,” according to a Spotify press release.


However, the move may have come as a surprise to most considering the detailed and rumored history of Joe. Most recently, during his time on “Everyday Struggle” on Complex with DJ Akademiks and Nadeska Alexis.


For reasons that are unclear to the average listeners, Joe essentially left the show. A show that according to him was his idea and was introduced by him, constructed by him and carried out by him.


Yet, this is more the reason why his podcast is that much more important. Rather than run from the tough issues, acting as if they don’t exist; Joe runs up to the problem and asks, ‘How can it be rectified?’ While others may call it being combative.


The Joe Budden Podcast is a great listen for many different reasons but for the sake of space and time, we’ll focus on three.


The first is Joe can’t be in a place where his creativity is stymied. Despite not being a rapper anymore, Joe never stopped being an artist.


It’s clear he’s not short of ideas which can be seen in his other ventures such as the Joe Budden cartoon, the Pull Up Series, State of the Culture on Revolt and the need to take his podcast on tour.


In addition, people like to label a person that refuses to be controlled a rebel or a headache. Simply put, those people are the hardest to get over on and anybody in power looking to take advantage of someone who is blinded by the opportunity to have a platform and will sell their soul to get it.


Lastly he plays by his own set of rules, which can be a problem for most especially if they are unaware of where the need to do so is coming from.


In moving according to his own set of rules, Joe is extremely selective with guests, with the most he’s had coming in the last year. In doing this, he is being superbly responsible allowing himself to filter the messages that he allows to be pushed and to come through on his channel and on his watch.


Some call it being a hater and/or being out of touch with the younger members of the culture when in fact, it’s just responsible actions in a world where they have seemed to be thrown by the waste-side.


In addition, Joe makes it a point to inform listeners there are no rules when it comes to his podcast with the exception of one and that is that the group “doesn’t discuss hood shit.”


A lot of times when topics of hood politics come up, Joe will say “Man if you know, you know.” This is a double-entendre playing off a Pusha T song “If you know, you know” and telling listeners essentially if you live by this code you understand why we’re not touching this one.


Yet, the most important thing to realize is to realize and acknowledge the ones he’s not talking to. In doing this, Joe is preventing his listeners from running around as if they’re experts on topics they know nothing about.


He even often offers the disclaimer, “Hey, we don’t know shit by the way.”


However, what Joe does know is how to rebrand yourself continuously in a world that has tried to box you out of. Moreover, it has been done with an all-star level perseverance that should be marveled at and admired rather than tainted and destroyed.


Now with a fiancé (though it is believed the pair just recently split) and two kids, he is far from the troublemaker that the music industry has tried to tell us for so long he was.


Despite the efforts to stop him, Joe continues to fit a square peg in a round hole.

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