Ducking Shelz: The Misunderstanding of Joe Budden

So this Joe Budden Public Service Announcement pops up a few days back with Mr. Budden expressing his obvious disdain for a reviewer misunderstanding him as an artist frustrated with the music industry. He then spends the next two minutes explaining to us why this guy was wrong.  In no stretch of anyone’s lyrical interpretive skills should he be viewed as frustrated.

I repeat. Joe Budden is not frustrated. (Can I get an echo with that?)

Now of course, there is a bit of back-peddle when he clarifies his clarification by mentioning that he used to be frustrated, but isn’t now.  This elicited a head tilt from me because if once upon a time that aggravation lurked, then the reviewer would not be completely wrong in his assessment. But again, we have good cognitive abilities gone awry in this situation on both ends.

As much as I would like to tee-hee and kee-kee at the perceived frustration in his voice and his proclamation that his 30th year is going to be some sort of frustration force field off which his annoyances will bounce just to come to rest on some 25-year-olds lawn, (Note to 20-somethings: It isn’t) that’s really not what this is all about.  It’s about something else he said a few seconds later.

Mr. Budden suggested (I’m drawing the connect via my own highly developed cognitive abilities as he didn’t draw the connection himself) the reason his frustration has subsided is because he no longer cares about a laundry list of things (internet, music sales, downloading, rappers, labels, bloggers, radio…etc) that he probably should give a fuck about (per my opinion).

Maybe Hip-Hop is the last bastion of trade where you don’t have to comply with the industry rules; care about what business trends are populating the landscape. I wish it worked that way in my office.  Unfortunately, it does not.

Boss: Shelz, answer that phone.

Shelz: Fuck that. I don’t give a fuck about a phone.

Boss: Then forward me that spread sheet you were working on.

Shelz: Fuck that. I don’t give a fuck about a spread sheet.

Boss: Shelz, why are you so frustrated?

Shelz: Fuck that.  I’m over 30.

I see me standing on Peachtree Street holding a sign reading, “Will blog for food.”

I understand Mr. Budden is an artist and as an artist, it’s his job to make music.  However, we all know that’s just the first step of an artist’s journey.  I don’t know Mr. Budden or what his true intentions are but I am going to ASSUME he wants to continue to live off his craft.  You simply can’t do that without the likes of those entities he claims to not give a shit about.

Prior to writing this piece, I picked up a copy of Padded Room.  To my delight, I made it to the store before the North Georgia faction of the Internet Soldiers bought out the Best Buy bar.  Or maybe they just came up a little short.  There was only one copy left. A few production miscues aside, it’s a pretty solid album. I’ve always found Mr. Budden to be an above par lyricist whose issues with the industry appeared to be more external than internal and I have always supported. Hence, my dismay at his inability to break through the rap glass ceiling and find some sort of big willie status. However, I would really hate to see industry burn out (That’s if he has it.  I don’t know for sure. I’m just saying) turn him into a grumpy old man who refuses to admit he’s grumpy.

From the outside looking in, he appears to be on that path.  Don’t care about radio and labels today, what are you not going to care about tomorrow?  Words? 

“What the fuck I need words for?  I don’t give a fuck about words.  I’m just going to breathe real hard on this mic.  Fuck it.”

But anyway, I guess that’s about it for my Joe Budden assumption-fest.  His career so far has been a roller-coaster ride full of ups and downs; twists and turns.  His projects have, in my opinion, been both top notch and disappointing as has his treatment by the industry.  So I think he has every right to be frustrated, even if he isn’t.

“I want them to understand, but still I am misunderstood.” – Joe Budden, The Future, MM2

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