Is Joe Budden on the Verge of Reality Stardom?

January 9th, 2013

(Photo: Chris McKay/Getty Images for BET)

By Gee King

Joe Budden has been living in his own reality for some time now. But after struggling to fully shine his star on the rap industry for the better part of a decade, Jersey Joe now seems poised to soar into reality television stardom via VH1’s reality hit “Love & Hip Hop.” With VH1’s proven past of creating reality stars out of hip hop has-beens, it seems inevitable that Joey will follow in the footsteps of Flavor Flav, Ray J and Stevie J to the land of reality infamy. But if Joey decides to truly turns it up in that world, his potential for reality stardom could far exceed any fame he ever achieved as an MC.

Despite a Just Blaze-laced summer jam, “Pump It Up,” in 2003, and a respectable career on the mixtape circuit that spanned the majority of last decade, Joe never reached the heights that his lyrical prowess and charismatic personality promised. From rap beef, to twitter riffs to constant public drama concerning his cycle of vixen girlfriends, Joey has always lived in his own reality. Perhaps that was the cause of his initial struggles with the industry. But through perseverance, honesty and sheer talent he’s soldiered his way through a strong 10 years.

Budden’s raw emotionality allowed him to pioneer the emo-rap genre that houses the Drakes and Kid Cudi’s of today. But with VH1 reality gurus constantly creating and capturing dramatic moments, Joe Budden may become much more interesting as a television personality than he ever could have been in the macho rap-scene he came of age in. This all seems like a logical extension of reality when you consider the trajectory of his career. Kept alive more so by social media scandal and a stunning ability to bag any dime model he came across, Joey’s rap career has been an ironic struggle between the schizophrenic behavior that kept him from reaching his potential as a mainstream artist, and the idiosyncrasies that have kept him from fading completely off of our radar for a decade.

He still, and will always have an endless collection of cypher bars, but unlike his Slaughterhouse companions, he still has opportunity to reach solo stardom. The only question is whether he’s comfortable using television instead of rap to do so. 2013 will answer that definitively. With “Love & Hip Hop” making him a household name and his fifth solo album “No Love Lost” slated to break a four-year drought later in the year, the sky is still the limit for Joey. Eminem is executive producer of “No Love Lost” and an impressive collection of recent guest verses and collaborations are suggesting that the master of emotions is coming close to mastering his craft. Whatever happens, we can trust that Joe will make the most of his time in the spotlight. He’s been circling the area of superstardom for some time now, don’t be surprised if this is the year that we see Joe Budden become the star we always knew he could be.

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