The Joe Budden Podcast is easily one of hip-hop media's most influential platforms, a testament to Joe Budden's growth as a businessman and media personality alike. Yet longtime fans of Budden have come to expect a few speedbumps along the way, and a recent narrative has sprung suggesting that longtime co-hosts Rory and Mal are on the verge of an unceremonious departure from the Podcast. 

Joe Budden

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After their absence on a recent JBP, and a subsequently canceled episode that many speculated revolved around Rory and Mal's situation, Budden returned with a new update during today's new episode "Tea Leaves." Joined by interim co-hosts Ice and Savon, Budden addressed the elephant in the room, insinuating that the return of his longtime collaborators was not a matter of if, but when. 

"I'll eliminate some of the suspense," begins Joe, around this sixteen-minute mark. "This is Rory's seat, and this is Mal's seat. Whenever they feel like returning to their seats, then they'll return to their seats. And then what will happen is the same thing when your star player comes back to the team."

He also explains that he "loves when podcasts go through this type of turmoil," elaborating that it "shapes character." Still, he does admit that he was blindsided by the way things have unfolded, noting that he loves Rory and Mal like brothers. "Sometimes in friendship and business, everyone needs to take a step back and go to their respective corners," he states. "Sometimes everyone's perspective and perception on how to go about that and how it should be executed is different." 

As the conversation unfolds, Parks steps in to offer his own perspective, noting how friendship and business can be difficult to balance, often requiring lawyers and management to mediate. "I been doing business with Joe Budden for a very long time," he continues. "I don't come to you with business shit, because we have to keep doing shit...Other people should probably have somebody else to talk to you, or one of your professionals." Later, he claims that Rory and Mal's "beef' does not stem from a financial place, prompting Budden to jump in. "It's not a beef," he clarifies. "Nobody has communicated a beef. What they have communicated to me is something is wrong. Whether that be in our friendship, how we're speaking to each other, the respect level."

Though there is certainly much to unpack on the topic throughout Tea Leaves, Joe Budden doesn't exactly speak as directly on the situation as some might like. As such, it's likely that fans of the Podcast will continue to read between the lines, monitoring Budden, Rory, and Mal's respective social media pages for further insight. Be sure to check out Joe's side of the story, cryptic at times though it may be, below.