When Joe Budden’s Joe Budden Podcast co-hosts, Rory and Mal, were missing from Saturday’s episode, fans sparked a host of conspiracy theories. This forced Budden and his other co-host, Parks, to reveal the real reason Mal and Rory are absent. 

Around the 15-minute mark of Wednesday’s episode, Budden starts to explain that Rory and Mal are taking time out for themselves while they work out their respective grievances. Joe was careful not to dive deep into the root of their problems, but he did fire back at fans for assuming his interim co-hosts, Ice and Savon, were there to replace Mal and Rory and for creating harmful narratives. 

“It ain’t just a work thing,” Joe said at the episode’s 27-minute mark. “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, time. Give everyone time to chill... But truth be told—I said this in many of Joe verses—none of us are slaves to the audience... No one owes anybody anything.”

As the episode continues, Parks touches on the difficulties of handling a friendship and business relationship. He explains that he and Joe don’t communicate directly about business matters for the sake of their friendship and future projects. 

“I been doing business with Joe Budden for a very long time,” he said. “I don’t come to you with business shit, because we have to keep doing shit… Other people should probably have somebody else to talk to you, or one of your professionals.” 

Although it was assumed that the tension stems from business dealings, Parks was quick to clarify that this isn’t the case. Joe also interjected to reaffirm that the three don’t have any “beef.”

“It’s not a beef,” Budden said when speaking about Rory and Mal. “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.”

Instead of focusing on the catalyst for the friction, Joe likened the situation to a start player holding out of training camp. The OTAs must continue with 11-men on the field, but once the start player returns, things will go back to normal. As a result, Budden makes it clear that the JBP will always be home to Rory and Mal if they want to come back. 

“I’ll eliminate some of the suspense,” Joe said towards the beginning of the conversation. “This is Rory’s seat, and this is Mal’s seat. Whenever they feel like returning to their seats, then they’ll return to their seats. And then what will happen is the same thing when your star player comes back to the team.”

Listen to Joe’s full explanation below.