For Joe Budden, the writing seemed to be on the wall from the moment he started at Complex. On Wednesday (Dec. 20), the artist opened up his podcast on news of his exit from the hit web series, Everyday Struggle.
Speaking to co-hosts Mal and Rory Farrell, Budden joked about his “unemployment” by sharing a timeline of creative constraints he faced with the media conglomerate. The series kicked off earlier this year with Budden, journalist Nadeska Alexis and YouTube personality DJ Akademiks, debating topics in the climate of hip hop culture.
The series, Budden explained, was his brainchild. As the show’s popularity grew, Budden says corporate hats began jumping into the creative process of the show.
A list of examples included the addition of guests and native advertising practices like the mentions of brands like Nike and streaming service Spotify. Since Budden created the show, he asked for a higher pay cut which the company denied him. “I didn’t ask them for a lot, for what I did,” he said. “My very first day on the job I told them what I did.”
Just days after the birth of his newborn son, Budden learned the company wouldn’t meet his demands, leading to his termination. “When I walked into work I thought, ‘How can I make my boss why more money than what he’s making and once I do that, how can I do the same for myself?,'” he explained. He also believed that his, as well as Akademiks’ positions helped boost viewership for the network’s other brands.
“It’s why this thing with Complex is so befuddling to me. I wasn’t asking for a lot. I’m not giving Complex credit for sh*t. This is where we go wrong. I take pride in that I was able to really see sh*t through.”
He added his refusal to bend backwards for Verizon, which acquired The Complex Networks banner in 2016. “I’m not playing [a corporate game,]” he said. “I’m not afraid. I have no quarrel in my ability to create. There was zero effort to get this done in a correct manner. I do too much on the ground floor. I’m sorry that ya’ll sold your company to Verizon and don’t care give a f**k what happens to it. I had a great year. God is in control of all of this. In unemployment, I predict 2018 to be way greater.”
Listen to the episode below.