On top of a hip-hop career and his burgeoning reality show fame, his well-tread history with some of hip-hop’s most beautiful woman has created a ladies’ man persona that Budden claims doesn’t affect him — no matter how much it seems to intrigue everyone else.

“As much as it is communicated, I don’t view myself that way,” he says with a laugh. “It’s almost a joke when I hear it. To me, it’s as simple as, I’m attracted to women that a lot of other people seem to be attracted to as well. They’re all beautiful and amazing women — physically, at least. It doesn’t set me apart. But I’m very transparent with them. Maybe most other people are not. Maybe I live in a bubble, in that respect. But that pretty much is always what it is.”

“Since the time I started rapping, I’ve learned to be transparent,” Budden says, and there aren’t many things he’d be nervous about sharing. “It depends on what those things are [laughs]! But I’m a pretty big risk-taker.”

Unlike some artists who have made similar transitions to television, Joe doesn’t view reality TV with any fear or apprehension. “I didn’t really see a reason to be opposed to [the show],” Budden shares. “It was never really something I was ever opposed to. This was just another outlet for people to get a better understanding of who I am as an individual. And to see some of the struggles that I went through. If it could help at least one person out there, it was all worth it.

“If new fans are attracted — [that’s] great. If older fans can get a better understand or another perspective on Joe Budden, then I welcome that, too. All things [are] welcome.

“You wanna make the most out of life. Life is short,” he says of why he ultimately did the show. “You wanna do as much as you can for as many people as you can. That’s just the person I’ve grown into. It wasn’t always the case. … But today, you evolve. Any new experience, opportunity or door that God puts in front of me to walk through, I’m gonna trust him and walk through [it.]”

That openness and those early career scars are what have helped shape Budden’s perspective. He says that drug abuse became a part of his life because of his inability to cope with what comes along with fame. Whereas some artists get sucked into a “lifestyle” by outside influences, Joe says he just wanted to escape. And once he started, it was hard to break free. “It was just a severe case of me being overwhelmed,” he says.

“I’ve been in this game for a long time and people drinking and doing whatever happens to be their vice of choice — that never affected me. That was me. Not to say other people wouldn’t be influenced, but for me, it was never that. For me, it was, ‘If I wanna do something, I’m gonna do it.’ Whether other people agree or disagree.”

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Todd "Stereo" Williams is an entertainment writer based in New York City. Over the past twelve years, he's interviewed celebrities and pundits in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. In 2009, he co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company which has produced projects such as the short film "Exubia" and the documentary "Beautiful Skin"

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