Contrary to popular belief, Joe Budden has no problem connecting with an array of everyday people, whether it be in the studio or online with his more than 900,000 followers on social media. The Jersey City native may have spent the summer igniting viral beefs with rappers like Drake and Meek Mill, but Joe does his best to leave all his high-profile discrepancies at home while he’s traveling across the country for the Rage Tour.
This past Saturday, the Mood Muzik founder blocked out the Twitter trolls long enough to greet a mob of some of his biggest fans at Miami Beach venue Miami Live for one of the most intimate shows he's ever done in Miami. From the time the doors opened, fans poured in, excited to watch Budden perform songs off his sixth studio album Rage & the Machine, an LP that has many critics offering praise for Budden's intricate flow and lyrical style.
Before the show began, at the far end of the bar, fans began to take their place in a lengthy line for an exclusive meet and greet with Budden.
Joe Budden meets fans before the show.
Photo by Tony Centeno
“How many more we’ve got left?” Budden asked the guard as he tried peek out the door. A fuck-ton was essentially the answer, as the line snaked all the way to the door. Surprisingly, once Joe heard the news, he showed no signs of fatigue. “Great, keep sending them in,” he shouted.
Cyn Santana, Budden's significant other, sat off in the corner, trying her best not to be the center of attention.
Budden took pictures, gave hugs, and signed autographs until he could schmooze no more. It was finally time for him to hit the stage.
Without hesitation, Budden jumped right into his set, performing standout tracks off the new album like “Wrong One” and “By Law.” In between songs and hand signals to the sound guy, Joe gave fair warning to the front of the crowd — especially the ladies — that they might leave the venue soaking wet. And, in fact, they did. Budden utilized a row of water bottles next to the DJ booth to drench himself with, spray into the crowd, and, of course, drink when needed.
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After performing a bulk of the album, Budden jolted the crowd back to life when he launched into “Pump It Up.” Naturally, the crowd went wild. It was an unexpected track, as Budden has always strayed from performing the song live. And — as Joe unenthusiastically mumbled and hummed his verses, letting the fans scream the lyrics for him — it was easy to see why he prefers to skip the song.
But the throwback performance seemed to work out for everyone in the end. As the show came to a close, Budden requested the lights be dimmed so he could end the sold-out show by performing his No Love Lost single, “She Don’t Put It Down."
It was a different Budden than the casual fan might have expected — intense yet humble. Budden's troll-chasing, beef-starting antics may have earned him a reputation as a hot-head. But watching him exhibit patience and poise offstage, in private moments with true fans, one starts to wonder just where Budden is hiding all that rage or whether it even exists at all.