“I've been doing hip-hop since I was ten. I was raised with hip-hop. This is my destiny.”
Joe Budden: Average Joe Superstar
Rap and hip-hop music has the kind of association with drugs and vice that would make most parents cringe. Yet there are those who went up against that kind of adversity and faced it down. Joe Budden did, and he puts many of his experiences into his music. Not only did he manage to clean himself up, but he's managed to turn himself into one of the most successful self-made stories in the genre.
Born Joseph Anthony Budden II in Spanish Harlem, New York on August 31, 1980, he spent much of his youth in Queens. Budden was the middle child – second of three – to a multi-instrumental father, who gave him his early first dose of sounds. It was when he uprooted himself to Jersey City, New Jersey that he discovered hip-hop, and it was there that he honed his newfound talent.
Joe Budden: Bringing Up Talent
His teen years were marked with his use of phencyclidine, a hallucinogen more popularly known on the street as angel dust. This brush with drugs almost ended both his life and career, but he cleaned himself up and chose to focus on his music.
Budden began his career from the ground up. He was a regular at ciphers and battles all over the Jersey City area. By the time he turned 16, he had built himself a reputation, so much so that he would often get invited into studios to do mixtapes. It was these mixtapes that caught the attention of the mainstream music industry.
One of those tapes made its way to DJ Clue, who helped hook Budden up to other mixes. Before long, Joe Budden was a household name among DJ's and mixtape fans on both sides of the Hudson. In 2003, he released the first part of one of his bestselling projects, a mixtape series called Mood Musik: Worst of Joe Budden. This caught the attention of Def Jam, who signed him for a self-titled debut album that was released that same year.
Joe Budden: B-List No More
Budden's first foray into mainstream music was successful, to say the least. He earned a Grammy nomination for Pump It Up from his debut, and a string of high-profile gigs with movies and television followed. This was followed up by Mood Muzik 2: Can It Get Any Worse? in 2005, which was critically well-received, even by the New York Times.
Although Mood Muzik 2 was seen by some as a full-fledged album because of its breadth and length, Budden's actual follow-up to his debut was Padded Room in 2009, which was met with positive reviews. Fans are now anticipating the release of his upcoming album, The Great Escape with Amalgam, which is expected to hit store shelves in April 2010.
Did you know that...
- ...there are themes in his work? The Great Escape, according to Budden, is the third in a trilogy formed by his sophomore album and Halfway House, another of his releases.
- ...a feud went down with G-Unit in 2004? It all began when The Game bristled at Budden's G-Unit-unfriendly lyrics. Diss tracks were then exchanged between the two, until both camps decided to focus more on their music later that year.