While it’s true that I cover podcasts at The Root and am heavily involved in the podcast industry outside of The Root, I don’t actually listen to anywhere near as many podcasts as people think I do—even though many of my friends either host or produce some of the biggest shows out.
In a past life, I made a valiant attempt to devour almost every show that came out. But as the podcast industry has exploded in recent years—I’m sure even your grandma hosts a show about how her grandkids ain’t shit—I’ve opted to preserve my sanity instead of spending every waking minute of my life listening to podcasts. At this point, I stick to what I know and love, while also making time for shows that pique my curiosity.
Sadly, this doesn’t include The Joe Budden Podcast.
So imagine my confusion this morning when my phone began to blow up with texts from an assortment of friends—some of whom you’re all familiar with, others you aren’t—offering their insight and opinions on the imminent demise of this extremely popular show.
If you’re like me and had no idea what the hell was going on, apparently co-hosts Rory Farrell and Jamil “Mal” Clay are embroiled in a lovers’ quarrel of sorts with the captain of the ship, Mr. Joe Budden. In recent weeks, the chemistry between the three has been off as mounting tensions have threatened to derail the show entirely. And apparently shit has gotten so bad, that Budden suggested that Mal and Rory take a few episodes off to keep the peace—and they’ve happily obliged.
So what could be the source of their acrimony?
According to a Reddit thread that’s blowing up as we speak (as well as my text message inbox), the source of Rory’s ire is business-related, but it could also be something far more personal:
Acutely aware of the gargantuan-sized elephant in the room, the Slaughterhouse rapper—joined by substitute teachers Ice and Savon in recent weeks while Rory and Mal are off skipping school—addressed the matter on the latest episode of his podcast.
“I’ll eliminate some of the suspense,” Joe began. “Rory and Mal aren’t here, but this is Rory’s seat—this is not Ice’s seat—and this is Mal’s seat. Whenever they feel like returning to their seats, then they’ll return to their seats, then I can go back to work. And then what will happen is the same thing when your star player comes back to the team.”
He continued, “Sometimes in friendship and business, everyone needs to take a step back and go to their respective corners. Sometimes everyone’s perspective and perception on how to go about that and how it should be executed is different.”
I’m a big proponent of keeping private issues private, but when you have a show that dedicates so much time and energy to dissecting private matters that have gone public, Joe’s approach feels a bit...disingenuous. Especially since Mal and Rory have gone radio silent on their own platforms while Budden is on Twitter getting jokes off and tossing salt on the wound.
But the Jersey City native wants to make it abundantly clear that he still has love for his AWOL co-hosts, even though he admits that he “loves when podcasts go through this type of turmoil.” Because of course, he does.
“It’s not a beef,” Budden said. “Nobody has communicated a beef. What they have communicated to me is something is wrong. Whether that be in our friendship, how we’re speaking to each other, the respect level.”
So it’s not just a work issue?
“It ain’t just a work thing,” he said. “So that’s my reaction when I see fans try to split up something that was built so carefully over the years. […] The best thing you can do—is what I wish was granted to me when I was going through—is give time. Give everyone time to chill. […] Truth be told—I said this in many of Joe verses—none of us are slaves to the audience. [...] No one owes anybody anything.”
Ummm, okay then.
Hopefully, Joe, Mal and Rory are able to settle their differences and get back to killing the podcast game. But speaking from personal experience, business always becomes complicated when it involves your friends. So if their time as co-workers is truly done for, I truly hope they’re able to at least mend their friendship.