Who would’ve known; Joe Budden Still Makes $18,000 A Year From his Song “Pump It Up”
In 2018, Joe Budden completed his transition from recording artist to full fledged media personality. In addition to launching his Revolt show State of the Culture, Joe scored a major win teaming up with Spotify to launch The Joe Budden Podcast With Rory and Mal. Their show culminated in an epic, three-hour episode with Pusha-T discussing his feud with Drake.
Although Joe claims he’s now retired as a rapper, his past life often informs his shows and occasionally becomes a topic itself. During an episode of his podcast in November titled “Smash”—where Joe defined a “smash hit record” as one that lasted over 10 years—Joe cited his breakout song, 2003’s “Pump It Up,” as an example of a lasting hit. Joe also casually revealed that he actually still makes a considerable sum of money from the Just Blaze-produced track.
“I’m still paid about $18,000 a year from that,” said Joe, about “Pump It Up,” which peaked at No. 38 on the Hot 100. Joe’s comment came about two hours and 15 minutes into the episode.
Joe also broke down how the song came together. He claimed the verses were easy to write but he struggled with the hook and risked losing his record deal before finding some unexpected inspiration.
Just Blaze played that beat, that beat was a hit, that beat was hard. I wrote the verses, the verses were hard, it was done. Then it was like, ‘Alright, you’re close.’ I fucked that hook up a million times. It was like months and months trying to come up with a hook. This is after Def Jam said ‘You gotta come up with a record or we’re gonna drop you.’… I was sitting in a hotel room somewhere right before a show, depressed that I was about to get dropped from the label and I had something that I thought was gonna work soon but I didn’t have a hook, and Juice was on. And that nigga Omar Epps was killing that battle, and I said, ‘Nah, somebody had to do this before, it’s too easy.’
Joe is referencing to the memorable DJ battle scene from the 1992 film Juice, which starred Omar Epps and Tupac Shakur. In the scene, which you can watch below, Epps’ character Q actually plays “pump pump pump it up” for the crowd, which Joe eventually used on his song.
Earlier in the episode, Joe and his co-hosts also discussed Juice WRLD sampling Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” on his breakout hit “Lucid Dreams.” Joe advises young artists not to sample famous songs without getting proper clearance. He also notes “Pump It Up” it built around a sample of Kool & The Gang’s “Soul Vibrations,” so they take a cut of the song’s royalties.
To this day, “Pump It Up” is Joe’s biggest hit. He didn’t score another charting Billboard song as a lead artist until 2012’s “She Don’t Put It Down,” which featured Lil Wayne and Tank. Despite the success of “Pump It Up,” Joe’s second album The Growth was shelved and he eventually left the label.
Read all the lyrics to Joe Budden’s “Pump It Up” on Genius now.