Joe Budden Recalls Rejecting Kanye West’s Request To Open Concert

Hip hop history is full of missed opportunities, but that’s what makes hearing stories about the culture interesting. In the documentary On The Record, one of Russell Simmons’s accusers, Drew Dixon, shared that during her time working for LA Reid, the music executive passed on signing both John Legend and Kanye West because Dixon had allegedly rejected his sexual advances. Now, Joe Budden shared that many years ago, Kanye West approached him and asked if he could open his concert, and Budden flat out told him no.

“And it’s not that I was passing on Kanye,” Budden began. “I had a show in South Jersey, somewhere… And I had to perform and this was at the height of ‘Pump It Up.’ So, I was super, super late for this performance, in Jersey, my hometown. When I walked in, it’s a sold-out crowd, like aggy ’cause I’m late. Chanting my name. I should have been on 40 minutes ago and I wasn’t. I’m looking to run in, get something to drink, and hit the stage. I got to my dressing room or somewhere in there and Kanye is there and he says, ‘Do you mind if I could rock. Just before you go out.'”

Joe Budden said that he told the ambitious Kanye, “N*gga no!” When asked what stage of Kanye West’s career they were at during that time, Budden didn’t care. “It didn’t matter what Kanye it was,” he said. “I’m here to do a service and this crowd is aggy and I wouldn’t even do that to you right now. The crowd is screaming ‘Joe’ and you don’t have a record that anybody knows. This just isn’t a great idea. I’m not sure that went over so well with him.”

This was many, many years ago, and Budden admitted that they’ve never discussed that moment in their hip hop history. The podcast host stated that once someone’s career “ascends” to the heights of Ye’s, they don’t tend to look back. Check out the clip below.