A photo posted by Joe Budden DJ Verified (@joebudden) on

When Joe Budden revealed that he was no longer doing solo performances last month, fans were instantly sick at the thought there would never be another show from the rapper. The news seemingly came at random along with a tour announcement of six final shows. “To whom it may concern, those are the last Budden shows ever,” the New Jersey native wrote on Twitter. “Thx to all of you that helped me live out my dreams.” At the time, he didn’t give any further reason for stepping away from the spotlight but his supporters went along with it, dreading his approaching last show ever on June 15.

Although the message from the All Love Lost creator did entail a bit of a cryptic tone, there is room to believe that with the wording “last Budden shows ever,” he’ll perform again, perhaps with Slaughterhouse or in another fashion. The rapper is currently working on Rage & the Machine, a collaborative project with producer AraabMuzik. They’ve been spotted in the studio recently as a video from their recent session along with Just Blaze made rounds on the Internet. While there’s no release date for the project and very little details have been given regarding the material, it’s definitely anticipated. New Joe Budden music is always welcomed.

XXL caught up with the MC right before he took the stage at his final solo tour at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City to get the story on his farewell to the Joe Budden solo show. We also chopped it up about his I’ll Name This Podcast Later and the recent drama with Drake. Get involved in the conversation.

XXL: This is your last show. What made you come to that decision?

Joe Budden: I felt like people needed to know. That was really it. No thought went… When I announced it was something that I wrestled with myself for months prior and by the time I announced it, it was something I was firm in. It’s not retirement. This is not my last time performing ever. I deal with words for a living so I choose them carefully. This is my last New York show as Joe Budden. I don’t know what that means.

If you can tell me what’s going to happen tomorrow then we can talk about tomorrow, and I don’t think any of us can. I like to leave the options open for me to do anything I want to do tomorrow. I just don’t know. If you want to be 100 percent, this has everything to do with me being a 100 percent independent artist. Not halfway independent, all the way independent. And so much damage has been done to Joe Budden the person and the brand just because I was unable to separate the two as a 21-year-old signing my Def Jam contract. Who I was then and who I was now couldn’t be further from opposite sides of the spectrum. I don’t even think it’s fair to misrepresent myself like that, tell people my name and then have them see all the fuck shit that’s attached to it. It’s not time for that. That’s not where I am.

On Instagram, you wrote a post celebrating 13 years since releasing your self-titled debut album. So much has changed and you’re in a new developed head space. What’s one piece of advice that you would give your younger self?

Trust your gut. It sounds very plain and I only know that so fast because somebody asked me that on Twitter yesterday. I really sat and thought about that. I actually want to write a letter to my younger self. I see people doing that but they don’t write very well so they’re fucking up the idea.

I think that will be a new form of therapy for me so I would like to sit and stress my brain about that. If we’re not talking about me as my younger self and we’re talking about my kid, my advice would be to do your fucking dishes and make sure your mom doesn’t kill you in that house. That’s my latest advice to the younger me, which is my kid.

I feel like you’re doing something and you’re trying to keep it top secret.

Not top secret. I keep tweeting shit. It’s just shit that wouldn’t tell a consumer very much. It’s not top secret. The people who are very close to me and have my best interests involved, they know about everything that’s going on. The media does not. My entire career, the media has been the first to know everything and I’ve been a victim of things being manipulated and perpetuated. I’ve been a victim of a lot of things from the media.

So, today at 35, if I’m going to attempt to do some things differently then it’s only going to come from learning experiences in dealing with the media. When you talk to the media and you don’t have anything to say, they make something to say. I’m not ready to talk about my new project. All I’m ready to say about it is that it’s better than my last project.

Tonight NYC………. #SoLongGoodbye #CalmBeforeTheRage

A photo posted by Joe Budden DJ Verified (@joebudden) on

What’s the mission? You’ve been using that tagline for a while now.

The mission will not be televised nor will it be exploited. Nor will everyone be privy.

I want to talk a little about the podcast, I’ll Name This Podcast Later. What’s your ultimate goal with it? Do you see it going further? It’s extremely popular.

I think the success of the podcast came quicker than any of us could have imagined. I would like to grow it. I’m invested in it, clearly it’s something that we’ve done consistently for over a year. I’m enjoying the trend of not only upstart podcasts but rappers doing them. I like it — the honest rappers doing it. Does that exist?

You are the pioneer.

N.O.R.E. is honest, that’s why I like him. And N.O.R.E. has a lot of stories. So, he’s great. But, I’m enjoying the podcast trend. I hope to continue to grow mine and people continue to enjoy it and listen.

Could you see you and N.O.R.E. partnering for a podcast?

I don’t partner well, that’s why I’m single.

On the podcast you’re so outspoken on current topics. So many rappers stray away from that. What made you adapt to that mentality?

I’m filtered believe it or not on that podcast. Just my filter is different from some other people’s filters. Ten episodes in to the podcast, maybe 15, anytime there would be something in the culture to discuss regarding another artist or record labels or just music period, I would stay away from it because as entertainers that’s what we’re told to do. We don’t want to talk about other entertainers. There’s a line. I don’t care. I don’t care about what a lot of these people are doing until the fans said, “Well, Joe we kind of listen to your podcast because we want to hear what you think.” So once I saw that I said, “Okay, that makes sense. I’ll tell you what I think.” I’ve been doing that ever since and it’s been good.

Lastly, have to ask about Drake and your thoughts on your podcast. Do you really think he was taking shots at you on “4PM in Calabasas”?

No, I don’t. I think that Joe Budden is delusional. He didn’t say a word to me. I’m overanalyzing things and I think that I’m obsessed.

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