Joe Budden’s rise to one of the top media pundits in hip-hop, thanks to his hit Podcast, was one of the most unexpected moves in the genre’s history.
His career as mainstream-turned-independent rapper seemed to have plateaued somewhere around the early 2010s, and with the constant infighting and bad management choices made by his supergroup Slaughterhouse, it seemed like Mr. Budden was destined to remain an artist with a small cult following.
Some of his bombastic personality that he frequently displays in his own series could be seen in his interviews with the likes of Ebro and Charlemagne around that time where he would constantly challenge them about the claims they made about him, or even just boldly tell them to suck it by walking out. There was even one instance where Joe fumingly stormed off the set of a Rosenberg and Ebro interview shortly before landing the role on “Everyday Struggle” with DJ Akademiks.
All this to say that Joe made somewhat of a smooth transition into media where he started to use that aggression to generate views for his own content. After making it big with his Podcast, Joe stopped being so confrontational in his interviews. This can be seen in his most recent Breakfast Club appearance where he calmly promotes his run last year on “Love and Hip-Hop: New York.”
This new media pundit role has sparked a few different web series including “The Joe Budden Podcast” (formerly known as “I’ll Name This Podcast Later”), “Everyday Struggle” with Complex, “The Pull Up,” and “State of the Culture” with Revolt. Even though Budden has been successful in this lane, he has definitely had his fair share of missteps and failures.
One of these shows seems to have generated a lot of success, while another was abandoned by Budden who helped make it relevant in the first place. This all leaves us with the question of which of these shows is the best?
1 – The Joe Budden Podcast
The Podcast started in 2015 and has evolved into a hip-hop/friends ranking on each other discussion show. The show’s hip-hop commentary often focuses on Drake or Jay-Z and boldly dismisses the work of other legends like Eminem and Kanye West due to Joe’s personal feelings towards these individuals.
Budden and his co-hosts more happily focus on rising R&B acts like Summer Walker and PartyNextDoor. However, the show is really at its peak when the group, which consists of Rory, Parks and Mal, tell embarrassing stories about each other and troll one another. That’s when you get some of the Podcast’s funniest moments like Story of Antwan, and when Joe and Mal went to jail.
2 – Everyday Struggle
“Everyday Struggle” is arguably the show which put Joe Budden over the top in media. Once the series debuted, his name exploded thanks to his angry ranting and back and forth arguing with DJ Akademiks.
The show had a genius formula, pitting a hip-hop veteran against an outsider famous for clowning that rap industry in his vlog series while knowing no one in it. When this show debuted, it naturally boosted Joe’s Podcast’s profile.
It can be argued that Joe used Complex to boost his own brand which seemed to have exploded when he left “Everyday Struggle” after less than one year of working there. He was first replaced by Star, and later Wayno, but the show was never able to recapture the magic it had when Joe was there with moments like the now infamous Migos interview at the 2017 BET Awards.
3 – The Pull Up
“The Pull Up” started out as a discussion show with a bunch of different people in the industry all eating brunch around Joe’s table and eventually became a one-on-one interview series. There’s really not much else to say about it except that its original format was more interesting because Joe isn’t the most seasoned interviewer, and the interviews on his Podcast are usually much more entertaining.
4 – State of the Culture
This is easily the worst show Joe has ever been a part of and arguably failed during the first season. With co-hosts like Remy Ma, I was sure that this concept would be a home run. But the Joe that appeared on “SOTC” was not the same guy from the Podcast and Everyday Struggle. This new Joe was super safe, PC, and let Remy do most of the ranting in the beginning. However, that didn’t last long and everyone eventually calmed down.
Also, the widely disliked, ultra-biased Scotty Beam was kicked off at the end of season one and was eventually replaced with former Fox News pundit Ebony K. Williams. This was a weird addition, but one that might make the show more interesting for season 3.
However, the safe Joe on “SOTC” just isn’t fun, and the boring, non-unique takes on a lot of the topics in hip-hop culture just don’t make the series a stand-out like “Everyday Struggle” was a few years back.