Joe Budden opens up about his darker days.
Be it through his music or his public openness about his previous struggles, hip-hop has few bigger mental advocates than Joe Budden. The rapper who is now best known for being one half of the outspoken commentator duo on Complex's Everyday Struggle is not shy about delving into the darker side of both his psyche and his past, which is exactly what he did during a new interview on the Grass Routes Podcast. At one point in the conversation with hosts Brandon Hall and Erin Ashley Simon, Budden got real about his battle with suicidal thoughts before he achieved worldwide fame with his track "Pump It Up." Apparently, those demons nearly had fatal consequences.
"For me, there have been less than five times where I've actually attempted suicide," Budden explained. "That wasn't in '03, '04, 'Pump it Up' was out then. But that didn't mean that the days weren't dark. That didn't mean that the suicidal thoughts weren't there [...] when I say '04, that's when I didn't really have those thoughts anymore." This revelation, even considering Budden's openness with the public and in interviews before, is startling. A man who was once touted as a rapper who could churn out multiple party hits that would dominate mainstream radio, his answer is further proof that fame and fortune, no matter how long-lasting, doesn't remedy any overarching effects that stem from something like depression.
Later on in the interview, Budden iterated that it wasn't until he had left his music career behind, for the most part, that he was able to really delve into his past and use those experiences to communicate healing messages to others. "As open as I've been when it comes to mental health, it wasn't until 'retirement' that I was able to dive into some of the things the fans have seen," Budden said. "That would have never happened if I was still an active rapper. As an active rapper, I have to protect everything that comes with being signed to Shady, all the politics, all the behind-the-scenes, what it takes to get the job done."
Check out the interview in full below.