Given that he’s a partner in Saturday’s “Total Slaughter” battle, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Joe Budden is winning regardless of what happens when he and Hollow Da Don square off. But the game of life is judged separately from what happens in the sport of Battle Rap. And Budden is quite familiar with competitive emceeing.
“We all come from that cyphers,” Budden told Elliott Wilson during a “The Truth” interview for Life+Times.com. “We all come from having to solidify our spots. Me personally, I was hopping out of every cypher in Jersey. That’s how I made my name—to the point where people had to ask who this kid Mouse was… I battled DMX when they were shooting Belly.”
Perhaps it’s only right Budden return to his pre-Def Jam days as Mouse, given the renewed popularity of emcees squaring off against each other. Fans will get a chance to see just how or if history repeats itself during “Total Slaughter.” With a matter of hours before the proceedings begin, keep yourself informed on all the build up between Joe and Hollow by visiting BattleRap.com. In the meantime, here are 10 of Joe’s hardest battle bars in no particular order.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Jay Z
Track: “Talk To Em”
Notable Bars: “From the sounds of everything I hear you lost it / Still rap a’ight, but your peers exhausted / Fuck ya bunch of money, put your ego to the side / And maybe it’s time to study your understudy / I mean are we hustling or are we grown up / Everytime I hear you, you changing your tone up / When the new generation think about Jordan / All they remember is when Iverson crossed him / Take off the blazer, loosen up the tie / Nigga fell in love and Superman died...”
Context: Consider Jumpoff Joey one of several former Def Jam artists unhappy with Jay Z’s tenure as the president of the label. There were rumors Budden felt Jigga was the reason his sophomore Def Jam project was shelved. Add insult to injury by Jay throwing what could be perceived as subliminal jabs over Budden’s own “Pump It Up” instrumental, and you have all the necessary elements for a beef.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Game
Track: “Game Over”
Notable Bars: “Dude wanna be Dre, Ren, Ice Cube or Eazy / But you ain't them, a’ight dude, believe me / Your sound’s type trash, tell Banks to ghostwrite / But then you sound like Fab, get a sound like blat / Not real, never heard a sound like that / He’s a bitch, prolly sleep in a gown and nightcap / Got a big chrome friend that I tuck along with me / And I brung that since you like suckin on 50’s / You's not Big and ‘Pac, not East vs. West/ Nigga, this is least vs. best...”
Context: Blame DJ Clue or nah? This one was likely sparked by Joe calling G-Unit “gangster actors” on a the DJ Clue mixtape track “Cross Country” during more unified times when 50 and the Gorilla Unit were quick to retaliate on anything that remotely sounded like beef. Chalk it up to one of the many verbal salvos lobbied back and forth between Budden and G-Unit. These two settled their differences around 2008 and made the truce public with a performance at New York’s Fillmore.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Royce Da 5’9
Track: “Thou Shall Not Fall”
Notable Bars: “I tried to told dudes way back in ‘02 / That eventually the game would go back to being soul food / I mean soulful while everything is woeful / I try to stay fresh like whole foods on the pro tool / But Mistah F.A.B. wanna mention him / Fell the fuck off I won’t mention him / Only respect one Fab and I’m friends with him / Phonte backed out, I guess nigga pumped sense in him / They went in pumped slugs in my little brother / But dog, I still love Little Brother…”
Context: Before being in Slaughterhouse together, Joe poked fun at Royce supposedly taking an L to Mistah F.A.B. in an AllHipHop.com battle. Royce wasn’t having it, and before these two foes squashed their beef and joined forces, he responded with “I’m Nice.” It all became irrelevant in 2008 when they appeared with Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Nino Bless on the track “Slaughterhouse.”
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Esther Baxter
Track: “Ordinary Love Shit Pt. 3”
Notable Bars: “The fuck else I do but go right back to Tahiry / I’m sleeping on her couch, not discussing shit / Staring at the fattest ass, not fuckin it / I guess despite everything that she showed me / It felt good to be around a broad that really knows me / I missed all the arguing and yapping / Percocet and muscle relaxers in a napkin / Can’t believe that it happened / I lost my unborn daughter when we fought / I’m thinking I killed Aspen!”
Context: There’s a thin line between love and hate. It’s safe to say Budden drove his Benz several miles over the line when he publicized the sordid details of his dissolved union with video vixen Esther Baxter. Listeners probably didn’t need to know the details of Budden and Baxter’s lost child, but Joe said he needed closure.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Kendrick Lamar
Track: “Lost Control”
Notable Bars: “Outrhyming A$AP ain’t showing me where your weight at / I'm on my shit today, you the king of New York / You might as well had spit on Biggie's grave, couldn't let that slip away / I'm in the court of public opinion, ready to click and spray / Light Jay Elec ass up, that's my Exhibit A / Bitch kill my vibe is what you wanna get into / Drown em all in a swimming pool, full of phlegm and drool…”
Context: Joe repeatedly said this wasn’t a beef, but rather a matter of restoring the competition to Hip Hop and taking up for K.Dot’s “Control” claims as the “king of New York.” As for the matter of Joe Budden being from New Jersey? Why sweat the details.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Lloyd Banks
Track: “Dumb Out”
Notable Bars: “And these young mother fuckers is about to fuck up / Like leaving they whole career in some bitch car / No name, but it's no sublime / Nigga, you know who you are, I'll end it before it goes too far...”
Context: The Punch Line King got caught in Joe Budden’s feud with G-Unit. Budden said he’d end things before he took it too far, but alas, he did not. And while casual listeners didn’t initially get the reference, Banks admitted he indeed lost a disc of unmastered tracks from what was supposed to be his sophomore album, The Big Withdraw after a wild night with a groupie or two. This one also gets filed under squashed beef, as Budden and Banks have recorded together several times since these bars.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. 50 Cent & G-Unit
Track: “Big Shot”
Notable Bars: “But it's not beneath me, really I gives a fuck / I could put the whole Unit on the next Nip & Tuck but / He keep his dudes in check, I keep it real with him / Punched Banks in the face and he still with him / Don't worry 'bout me putting clips in the 40 / To pistol whip Lloyd when 50 will do it for me..”
Context: This would be the third G-Unit diss on the list for those keeping count. Sometimes you gotta let the beef cook.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Ransom
Track: “Heart Of The City”
Notable Bars: “Fuck how your glock pop off, how your flock not soft / You getting nowhere fast being a Lox knock off / I'll clear your mental / You signed to a nigga on radio all week and he barely spin you / Like Every bar about some shit he rarely been through…”
Context: First the A-Team breaks up, the Joe allegedly put Ransom’s vocals with Hitchcock’s on Mood Muzik 3’s “Family Reunion” without permission. You can’t exactly shrug off allegations of Ransom defecting to DJ Clue’s label and issuing some slick talk about Joe’s then-girlfriend Tahiry Jose. Before you know it, Ransom and his crew are tumbling with Joe and some of his boys on camera and a gun comes out. So yeah, this one got personal.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Prodigy
Track: “Blood On The Wall”
Notable Bars: “Four-fifths and snubs, what’s that about / Nigga you can’t lift the guns that you rapping 'bout / But real talk I can't front on your old shit / Now you just old as shit, nah old and sick / Instead of holding my dick, here’s a better way / Never mind me, worry about your Medicaid…”
Context: No one knows exactly why P took the bait when asked who was the worst rapper on the planet. But he called out Joe as being “on the edge” of being the worst and called Mood Muzik “bullshit” and “not poppin’.” Joe responded with the above bars, and by the time he dropped his No Love Lost album and Prodigy was back home, the two had reconciled.
Battle: Joe Budden vs. Saigon
Track: “Letter To Saigon”
Notable Bars: “I see a nigga stay talking bout the kids / But wanted nothing to do with one when it was his / You would take her phone calls ‘til she said it's yours / That's when they got crisscrossed, you started getting ignore / I see a nigga just fiending for scrutiny / So he show us pics of how musclebound he used to be…”
Context: Suffice it to say Saigon didn’t appreciate Joe referencing his skirmish with Mobb Deep at the 2007 Hot 97 Who’s Next showcase as a “hit and run.” This was during that grey area in between hood DVDs and social media, and Saigon took to the former to show his displeasure. The result was two decent diss tracks—Joe’s “Underachiever and Saigon’s “Pushin’ Buddens”—followed by a bunch of lower quality follow ups. Eventually, Just Blaze help mediate the conflict, and there was a time when both emcees simultaneously logged time on the label Amalgam Digital.