Joe Budden (born August 31, 1980 in Spanish Harlem, New York) is a rapper from Jersey City, New Jersey. In recent years he has come to prominence as one of the most skilled and sought-for rappers in the game, despite his best work being on the internet mixtape circuit.
His music initially gained popularity on New York City's famous mixtape circuit in 2002. Although his biggest mainstream hit to-date is 2003's up-tempo "Pump It Up," Budden is known for his reflective and often insecure lyrics. He is widely considered one of hip-hop's most gifted lyricists, thanks largely in part to his numerous works on mixtapes by such DJ's as DJ Clue, Clinton Sparks, DJ On Point, and DJ Envy.
On one particular mixtape song, called "Crosscountry Connection", Joe started a feud with the G-Unit camp. The Game took offense to a line where Joe claims that gangsta rappers should "be in a G-Unit video with all the gangsta actors", obviously claiming G-Unit are fake gangstas. Unbeknownst to Budden, The Game had just recently signed with the G-Unit camp. The Game and G-Unit fired a few diss songs Budden's way; he replied in kind. The feud was ended when The Game and Budden met in a club in New York City and put the past aside.
During winter and spring of 2005, through Joe Budden mixtapes and hip-hop rumor mills, it was said that he departed from Def Jam to Roc-A-Fella Records with CEO Damon Dash. In reality, Budden was legally obligated to stay with Def Jam. In the beginning of Budden's career, it took him a long time to get public exposure, working more than three years from the first time his demo tapes were heard to the first time he was on the radio. He has appeared on many tracks with other artists including 112, Amerie, Brandy, Cassidy, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Freeway, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Jin, Kelly Rowland, Lil' Kim, LL Cool J, Marques Houston, Usher, and more recently a remix to the hit song "Hollaback Girl" with Gwen Stefani. Some of these were not official remixes, simply mixtape tracks where a Joe Budden verse was added to an existing song.
Though he is thought of as one of rap's most skilled lyricists, Budden's success outside of the mixtape circuit has been marginal purposely. He is known to have invested in real estate in North Jersey and instead of blowing up into the rap scene he decided to make money from other methods instead of getting a record deal. His music is usually more sensitive and thought provoking than that of gangsta rappers, but subsequently, it is also more explicit and unrelenting than most "conscious" or "backpack" rappers.
In late December of 2005, Joe released a mixtape after almost 5 months of being absent from the game. Mood Muzik 2 is considered by most to be a lyrical masterpiece and with so deep tracks such as "Dumb Out" and the emotional "3 Sides to a Story" (in which Joe harrowingly describes a disturbing situation), many wondered had these songs originally been scheduled to appear on The Growth.
In 2007, he was released by Def Jam. In December 2007, he released Mood Muzik 3, which many are calling the best mixtape of the year, with some even saying it's the album of the year since it contains all original material. Some have questioned this since the beat for 'Ventilation' is an edit of 'It's A Shame (Da Butcher's Mix)' by Kool G Rap.
In October 2008, Joe Budden released another highly-rated mixtape, Halfway House; featuring album cuts such as 'Touch & Go' and a snippet of 'Blood On The Wall', a diss to Prodigy of Mobb Deep.
In his career up to his 2nd album, he has worked with artists such as Busta Rhymes and Christina Milian, and has been involved in feuds with rapper The Game and G-Unit. He has since reconciled with The Game.
Since this reconciliation, Joe Budden signed to Amalgam Digital records, and both artists finalized the beef and have collaborated on the single 'The Future' for Joe Budden's now-released 2nd album, Padded Room. The album released February 24th in the U.S. and March 3rd in Canada.