DJ Akademiks and Joe Budden were former co-hosts of the popular Complex show Everyday Struggle. But the show as fans knew it came to an unceremonious end in December 2017 when Budden quit, just eight months after landing the gig. Both Akademiks and Budden have gone on to establish themselves as media juggernauts. Akademiks hosts his own podcast, Off The Record, while Budden helms The Joe Budden Podcast. 

While Budden and Akademiks have certainly had their share of disagreements, the two finally converged for a conversation about what led to Everyday Struggle‘s demise. In a recent episode of Off The Record, Budden talked about fighting for both Ak and former co-host Nadeska to be paid fairly.

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“Do us right,” he began. “That’s the other misconception. I’m never going in there yelling and screaming so Joe can be done right. I’ve been homeless. I’ll be fine. I have people’s houses I can sleep at if times get hard. I’m fighting for y’all to do the right thing by us, the people who made show.” Ak interjected, “But no matter what, you don’t leave,” to which Budden said, “That’s not true. You have to leave.” Akademiks argued had Budden been patient, their salary demands would have eventually been met.

“You know in business — and unfortunately this exists — you have to be realistic, especially when there’s a contract already in place, that you operate in good faith,” he said. “After you completed a contract, the subsequent deals, offers and contracts will be better. You stopped playing ball at nine months.”

Akademiks admitted he tried to sacrifice part of his salary so it could go to Budden, which Budden said to “never” do again. Ultimately, Budden left over $10,000. As he explained, “I was getting $22,000 a month, $19,000 a month after I paid Ian. The next cycle, I wanted it to double. When my contract was up, I wanted $50,000 a month. They came back and said something like $40,000. I said, ‘Forty?’ […] They didn’t and they wouldn’t.”

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In November 2020, Akademiks offered his own theory as to why Everyday Struggle fell apart. Taking to Twitch at the time, he said it was simply a case of having a different vision than the media giant.

“I’ll answer the why in case anyone does care,” he said. “The ‘why’ of why the show is ending, I think me and Complex are going in different directions. At least how we see Everyday Struggle. Mainly my employment for Everyday Struggle as how we see my brand and how they see me as someone who’s worked there for a while … I will say overall I have nothing bad to say about Complex.

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But it sounded like there was more to the story. Akademiks was temporarily suspended from the show in July 2020 after he referred to John Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen as a “bitch.” He also engaged in an online sparring session with Freddie Gibbs, which didn’t do him any favors either. He alluded to both situations as being factors in the show’s dissolution.

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“Yes, it was a very weird moment with the Chrissy Teigen thing, but it wasn’t only that,” he continued. “I received calls from them about other content that they felt I probably shouldn’t been engaged in. I specifically told them, ‘Listen, while you may look at me as the ‘guy’ on your show, I have a whole different brand to run.’ When Freddie Gibbs was on his thing … remember I got suspended for my little Twitch thing and I referred to Chrissy Teigen … whatever, whatever.”