Joe Budden Says Future Is Dire for Hip-Hop Artists and 'All of the Musicians Are Broke' or Will Be Very Soon

Budden clarified that his "bad times ahead" predictions aren't just about Cardi B and the so-called "girl rapper wave," but the industry at large.


Joe Budden sees a bleak future for hip-hop.

In the latest episode of The Joe Budden Podcast, titled "Means to an End," the 43-year-old spent a segment discussing his prophecy for the genre's fall-off.

"I think there's a focus on streaming, AI. I think there's a focus on just replacing you guys, the artists," Budden said. "I think there's a focus on the world music, Latin and country and all of whatever their hot genre is. I just think rap is cast aside."

The podcast host/former rapper then went into his disappointment with Hip-Hop 50, intended to be the golden anniversary of the artform. "The 50 years of hip-hop told me that," he continued. "How much the pie there even is to distribute amongst artists tell me that. The way albums don't drop anymore tells me that. All of you artists getting your money from somewhere else tells me that."

Joe Budden GOES OFF on Hip Hop and the music industry being in bad shape

"there's 7 rappers they focus on... this music sh*t is a wrap! the musicians are broke!"

— SOUND (@itsavibe) March 6, 2024
Twitter: @itsavibe

Budden segued into the fact that in 2023, the first hip-hop album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 came seven months into the year, although he didn't mention that it was Lil Uzi Vert's Pink Tape. Following Uzi at No. 1 were Travis Scott's Utopia, Drake's For All the Dogs, and Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday 2.

"Last year, no No. 1 hip-hop album for however long tells me that. The No. 1s that came tells me that. Travis, Uzi, Drake—there's only seven. There's seven rappers that they focus on! Some, [it's] because y'all are truly talented and make people all the money in the world. Some, because too many people have their hand in your pocket to let you fail. But everybody else, if you not getting it touring or if you not getting it through other means, this music shit is a wrap!"

Budden specified that he was solely focusing on major labels, including some that have been impacted by the dissolution of artist teams.

"I'm saying all of the musicians are broke—relatively. Relative to what you bring in. My conversation is about what's going on in the majors. They tricking y'all with the words in these contracts," he explained. "They tricking y'all into thinking y'all are real partners. They tricking y'all with the, 'Hey, you own your stuff.' The recent layoffs tell me that."

For a beat, Budden brought up international music being Americanized, with international artists covering 1990s R&B songs, before he returned to the rap topic. "I think it's really scary for record labels to repurpose their catalogs this way," he said.

Elsewhere in the episode, Budden clarified that he didn't just have critiques for Cardi B—along with his prediction of a decline in female rap—but that his words are meant for everyone in the hip-hop industry.

"And I think it's much worse than I can even sit here and say," he emphasized. "Post that on your blogs. Joe Budden says: 'Bad times ahead.'"

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