Joe Budden has fashioned himself as one of the most profitable and highly regarded media figures in hip-hop. Flanked by sardonic partners in crime Rory, Mal and long-serving engineer Parks, the ad-hoc podcast that first aired in February 2015 grew from a ramshackle platform for Joe to sound off into a Spotify-endorsed powerhouse with a steadily growing fanbase.

Although guests would sporadically pop up now and then in the past, the frequency of both in-person visits and phone-ins has exponentially risen of late, granting airtime to everyone from Nicki Minaj, TDE’s SiR and battle-rap titan Loaded Lux to calls from Vince Staples & Kash Doll. Now that the insights of outsiders are becoming increasingly commonplace on The Joe Budden Podcast, it provides an additional window into the hip-hop world. Therefore, it only makes sense to speculate on who would make for the most fascinating, revelatory or possibly explosive appearances on the show.

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DRAKE

Back in 2016, the August 24th edition of the podcast marked a change for the show’s infrastructure. After 76 editions, Marisa Mendez, the inaugural co-host of the outlet then known as “I’ll Name This Podcast Later," left the show on acrimonious terms. Why? Well if speculation is to believed, it all boiled down to her conflicting views on Joey Jumpoff’s sporting beef with The 6 God, Drake. Initially sparked by Budden’s derisory outlook towards Drizzy’s 2016 LP Views-- “That kid on that album that I heard sounds real fuckin’ uninspired. That’s what I think. I think that that music is real good. You can’t fool a real n***a."

A back and forth then ensued after Drake began to fire thinly veiled jabs at the New Jersey native. Rebuffed by the OVO leader as a one-hit wonder, Drake did enough to coax Joe into the booth and the resulting diss tracks “Making A Murderer Part 1,” “Wake,” and “Just Because” all displayed Joey at his vitriolic best. Left largely unresolved to this day, the possibility of listening to Champagne Papi and Joey trace the misunderstandings that led to the beef and attempt to clear the air would make for an engrossing listen. On top of that, it’s pivotal to bear in mind that Episode 188 of the Joe Budden Podcast was the breeding ground for the news that “40” was the one who inadvertently slipped Pusha the intel about his love child. 


J. COLE 

Where a Drake appearance would be predicated on a foundation of beef, an interaction between J.Cole and Joe Budden would simply make for a cerebral and pragmatic discussion about the business and practice of hip-hop. Both revered in their respective generations, J.Cole’s interviews have regularly revealed him to be a fantastic orator; his podcast-style discourse with Lil Pump proved that he can ask or respond to probing questions with ease.

With Joe being a vocal advocate of everything that Cole has done to further the culture in recent years—"I believe he’s setting n****s up for greatness"-- what better way would there be for Cole to chronicle his incredible run than to break it down with Joe, Rory and Mal? From Revenge Of The Dreamers III to appearing alongside 21 Savage, to Joe’s admiration for how the “super nice guy” Cole maintains a private aura, there are endless avenues for exploration.


RAPSODY

On the subject of Carolinian MC’s, another artist that would ignite the minds of Joe and his core hip-hop head audience would be Rapsody. Towards the twilight of 2017, Joe Budden made a habit of singing the praises of her sophomore effort Laila’s Wisdom. When faced with combative remarks from DJ Akademiks on an edition of Everyday Struggle, Joe asked whether his former co-host had listened to the record, declaring it to be arguably the finest album of the year.

Following that moment, both himself and Charlamagne Tha God placed Rap's acclaimed project at the forefront of their "Top 5 of 2017" lists on the first and only “This Year Was Dope/Trash.” Armed with one of the most incisive pens of the modern era, hearing Joe and the Snow Hill, NC emcee discuss the finer points of the artform and its trajectory from here would yield no shortage of fantastic soundbites.


JAY-Z

During Joe’s time on Def Jam, the general consensus pointed to Budden as the heir to the hip-hop throne. Thought to be earmarked for commercial and critical greatness, the man that would become Slaughtermouse felt continually hampered by the micromanagement that he’d experienced at the label. Introduced to the masses by the frenetic party anthem “Pump It Up,” Budden would soon have the wind taken out of his sails when Jay snatched the beat from under him. “Gimme that beat, fool, it’s a full-time jack move,” proclaimed Hov over that iconic Just Blaze production, further taking aim at Budden as he declared that “You worthless, fella; you ain't no athlete, you Shawn Bradley.”

Jay’s ascension to Def Jam President closely coincided with the sophomore blues that Budden faced whilst creating his as-yet-unreleased sophomore project The Growth. Consequently, Budden took direct aim at Jay on the scathing “Talk 2 Em.” Incensed by the mistreatment that he felt he received, Budden slammed Hov for refusing to abdicate the spotlight, spitting: “I hate ya last single (pause) Boys Roc, can we hear some new n****s with promise? The new generation won't forget you we promise, we'll always pay homage. But let's get one thing understood son, every Encore ain't a good one!”

Twelve years from the diss track’s emergence, Budden is forthcoming in his love for Hov’s material and Jay’s 2017’s appreciative Twitter spree that praised his favorite rappers saw “Mouse” directly singled out among the Slaughterhouse ranks. Now that the beef has subsided and they’ve both gathered cooler temperaments, listening to Joe and Jay lift the lid on Sean Carter’s Def Jam reign would be nothing short of fascinating. 


CAM'RON

During Episode 126 of The Joe Budden Podcast, Joe chaired a lengthy discussion about the best rappers of all time, granting a surprisingly lengthy period of time to whether Cam’ron has been misaligned in the industry’s standings. “Where do ya’ll rank Cam, all time?” he inquired, grateful when Mol corroborated his belief that the Dipset leader should be treated with greater respect in the game. Adamant that Killa Cam has several classic albums under his belt and was “much more impactful” than he’d initially believed, it’s a far cry from the embryonic days of the podcast when the two narrowly averted a major incident.

Prone to saying things that sound far worse out of context, Joe's assurance that he’d have “fucked up Cam’ron” over the Jim Jones’ Byrdgang copyright dispute led the Harlem icon to respond with “U can try and fuck me up if you want. Where you at?”  After conceding that he’d “jumped the gun,” Joe's podcast would serve as a perfect avenue for both men to shoot the breeze, perhaps delving into why Cam is so criminally overlooked by the fans.


LIL YACHTY

In an incident that has been widely lampooned, memed, and otherwise re-appropriated on countless occasions, Joe Budden and Lil Yachty’s square off on Everyday Struggle became one of the most widely viewed segments in the history of his former show. Pinpointed as a clear-cut example of the disconnect between old heads and the new era, the incendiary dispute was the catalyst for genuine animosity; recall that Lil Yachty teamed up with Migos on “Ice Tray”—if a n**** hatin’, call him Joe Budden (Pussy!)-- and donned a “Fuck Joe Budden” hoodie at a Toronto show.

Now that Yachty is “cookin’ up LB3,” perhaps it’s time to see whether Budden and Lil Yachty have moved on from their diametrically opposed viewpoints of the past in order to find some common ground on Budden’s home turf.


CARDI B

On the subject of Joe’s animosity towards certain members of the Quality Control camp, one major caveat that Budden has always maintained is his deep-rooted love for Offset’s partner. Even when the infamous BET Awards incident with the trio and their entourage occurred, Joe’s belief that Cardi B is one of the leading lights of modern hip-hop never wavered.

Having dedicated lengthy sections of the podcast to the impact of Invasion Of Privacy and her subsequent rise to fame, Cardi actually paid a visit to the show on Episode 45 during her underground rise. Now that she’s in the upper echelon of hip-hop’s mainstream, Cardi should venture back to discuss her meteoric climb, the conflict between Joe and her husband’s camp, and even her own newfound grievance with Mal over his claim that she “isn’t a real artist.” 


TYLER, THE CREATOR

Never one to shy away from snap judgments, Joe Budden had to retract his view on Tyler, The Creator in May of this year. Upon hearing the former Odd Future leader’s latest opus Igor, Joe praised his “subtlety” with his rollout and offered an olive branch. “I probably owe Tyler, The Creator an apology. I let that one elevator ride where you were acting like a fuckhead misguide me. But I can appreciate someone’s fuckheadedness when they are this creative.”

Then in August, Budden progressed from applauding Tyler for the considerable merits of his output to actively imploring him to appear on the show and try to replicate what he did with a bemused Funk Flex. “Tyler, The Creator went on a press run to do everyone but us. He should’ve came and sat here. Troll me. Come here and spit those same lyrics, we’ll have a blast cos I’ll troll back.” Once his mammoth Igor tour wraps up at the end of the month, it’d be great to see the notoriously unfettered producer and rapper take Joe up on his offer.


CYHI THE PRYNCE

Though many emcees have tried to coax Joe Budden back into the ring, none seemed to get under his skin quite like Cyhi The Prynce. Revered as an immensely talented but criminally underrated lyricist, we spent time delving into the distinct similarities in their career trajectory and the possible reasons for why it unseated Joe so deeply.

Now that the dust has settled and the 500k bounty on a battle seems to have been revoked, a podcast in which they acknowledge the commonality between their experience in the game, discuss how the beef was exacerbated in the first place, or simply verbally sparred about Cyhi’s allegiance to Kanye West would have millions of hip-hop lovers tuning in.


50 CENT

If anyone rivals Joe Budden’s sheer propensity to rile his fellow artists up, it’s 50 Cent. Save for a few minor skirmishes—including Budden’s fleeting disputes with Lloyd Banks and The Game during their spells in G-Unit—the two have largely remained on good terms. In fact, they even made a point of reaffirming that everything was good after 50 misinterpreted one of Joe’s tweets as shade about his TV show “Power” in 2015.

Baffled by being labeled a “bitch,” Joe calmly, and almost uncharacteristically, smoothed things over by replying “1. We are cool. #2. Power is my favorite show. #3. What on Earth are you talking about my n****a?” But in September of last year, things began to sour between the two after 50 took umbrage with Joey’s response to Eminem’s various jibes on Kamikaze.

“Get the fuck outta here Joe Butt Head,"  50 retorted. “We ain’t trying to hear that bullshit you kicking fool.” A year plus on from the fallout of Kamikaze, 50 seemed to have relented on beefing with Joe before it could pick up steam. Both elder statesmen of the game that have survived their share of scrapes and public controversies, hearing the two trade old war stories could be a podcast in itself.