When Joe Budden didn’t report for his duties as co-host of Complex’s Everyday Struggle webcast this week, folks assumed that he was fulfilling his paternal duties, since he had a son with fellow Love & Hip Hop alum Cyn Santana this past weekend. It turns out, however, that Budden has left the show for good after almost nine months.
As of press time, we don’t know if Budden quit, got fired or some mixture of the two—though his Twitter activity would have us believe that he bailed because Complex got funny with the money. What I do know is that, with his absence, Everyday Struggle will likely fall from my very short list of daily must-watch shows.
The show thrived on the chemistry of Budden, YouTube personality DJ Akademiks and host Nadeska Alexis. But the “retired” Slaughterhouse rapper was undoubtedly the anchor; I mostly ignored every Friday episode in which he took off and was replaced by a guest host.
Truth is, no one chimed into Everyday Struggle to hear Akademiks heap encomium on these pink-tip-dreaded, face-tatted, drug-addicted mumble-rap niggas. And while Alexis is my second wife in my head, I have zero confidence that the two of them can carry the show with a rotating list of guest hosts (exhibit A: This week’s guest host, Shadyville Entertainment’s DJ Whoo Kid, inelegantly danced around how much of a flaming dumpster-chemical-fire shit show his boss Eminem’s new album is).
The show’s fans are justifiably unhappy with the news of Budden’s departure; perhaps the best tweet on the issue evoked a clip of Leon’s indelible portrayal of David Ruffin in The Temptations TV movie:
It’s true: Akademiks is Otis Williams here, and two bits to a bottle of piss says the show completely falls apart without Budden’s Ruffin. The whole thing got me to thinking about other instances of good things that became trash when someone important departed.
1. LeBron James leaving Cleveland.
I’ll freely admit that I’m not the biggest NBA fan to ever walk the earth. But I was utterly amused at how openly butt-hurt the entire city of Cleveland was when James decided to leave the Cavaliers to win some rings with the Miami Heat, only for them to welcome him back with open arms when he decided to return. Surprising no one, the Cavs didn’t get within spitting distance of a ring without James. It’s like James was Jabba the Hutt and Dan Gilbert was Princess Leia in the slave outfit, having his ass dragged along against his will.
2. Your mom’s favorite ’70s group.
Lionel Richie and Diana Ross are living R&B legends, but they were once members of bands whose other members you couldn’t name if someone offered to pay off your car note to do so. No one cared about the Supremes after Ross left; and “Nightshift” is my jam, but it doesn’t ride like “Zoom.” Also, the erstwhile Jackson 5 released a 1989 album without Michael that I literally didn’t know existed until four minutes ago; that group was especially doomed because everyone aside from Michael sang like Drake with tinnitus.
3. Martin when the goodwill left.
For my bread, Martin is probably, pound for pound, the funniest sitcom of all time. But the show totally lost its air during season 5, when Tisha Campbell sued Martin Lawrence for sexual harassment and assault of the verbal and physical variety (come to think of it, is any dude associated with Def Comedy Jam worth a damn when it comes to women?). Campbell agreed to finish the show as long as their characters, Martin and Gina, didn’t share any scenes together. The results were horrible, and the show was put out of its misery after season 5.
4. New York Undercover without Eddie Torres.
New York Undercover was revolutionary television precisely because it was the first show ever to have black and Puerto Rican men as the leads (not to mention the dopest soundtrack for a television show ever). J.C. Williams and Torres’ partnership was the heart of the show, but when contract squabbles led to Michael DeLorenzo’s Torres being killed off, we were forced to endure a fourth season helmed by Malik Yoba (Williams) and Tommy Ford (RIP) that was the equivalent of what Power would look like if there was a Ghost with no Tommy.
5. Good Times without James.
I grew up watching Good Times in syndication in the 1980s. Even as a child, I recognized that the show was not the same after they killed James off—in part because actor John Amos was frustrated with co-star Jimmie Walker’s shuck-and-jive act (how prescient). Florida Evans as a single mother making a way for her kids mirrored many black families, but the beauty of the original lineup was a full black family making their way in a chow line.
6. McDonald’s without the McRib.
Bottom line: Grown-ups with means should not be consuming McDonald’s on an even semiregular basis, for a litany of reasons. But the fast-food behemoth likes to play with our emotions and mess with the only thing it has between two buns that’s worth a goddamn for (admittedly genius) marketing reasons. People care so much about what’s really an OK-ass sandwich at the end of the day, there’s a McRib Locator. Because you can get good french fries anywhere, and chicken nuggets do not a whole chain carry.
7. Destiny’s Child without Beyoncé.
I mean, this isn’t even a thing. And it never could be. Kelly, Michelle, LaTavia, LeToya, Donner, Dasher and Blitzen couldn’t book a Motel 6 in Deer Lodge, Mont., without y’all’s queen at the helm. Can’t have mac and cheese without the mac.