Joe Budden Remembers Denying Kanye West’s Request To Open For Him

The origin stories of many successful rappers are full of times when people in power passed on them. Joe Budden recently shared one of those tales on The Joe Budden Podcast, a story about the time he didn’t let Kanye West open a concert for him.

Budden said he was running late to a hometown concert when Kanye made a last-minute request to open the show for him, which Budden understandably shot down. Budden said:

“I had a show in South Jersey somewhere, […] and I had to perform. And this was at the height of ‘Pump It Up.’ 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. They’re chanting my name, I should have been on 40 minutes ago, and I wasn’t. I’m looking to run in, just get something to drink, and hit the stage. I go to my dressing room or somewhere in there, and Kanye is there, and he says, ‘Joe, do you mind if I could rock, just before you go out?’ ‘N****, no! No, no!'”

When asked where Kanye was in his career at that point, Budden continued, “It didn’t matter what Kanye it was. I’m here to do a service and this crowd is aggy and I wouldn’t even do that to you. I wouldn’t even do that to you right now. The crowd is screaming, ‘Joe,’ and you don’t have a record anybody knows. This just isn’t a great idea. I’m not sure that went over so well with him.”

“Pump It Up” was released as a single in May 2003, and the song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart that June. So, it’s likely this incident took place at some point in mid-2003, which would have been a few months before Kanye released his debut single, “Through The Wire,” on September 30, 2003.

Watch the video above.