[The one and only Joe Budden recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular “The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems Joe dropped during the Q&A.]

On his growth as a rapper:

“Listening back, I can hear the different advancements made in cadence and flow and delivery and breath control. I can hear the progression in the music.”

On first getting signed to Def Jam:

“Now we were in a new league. And not only were we in a new league, we were competing with the field. I was competing with my label mates.”

On emcees forcing punchlines:

“I think that’s horrible when emcees try to reach for the punch, because we can hear it. We can hear when you’re reaching for the punch.”

On writing “Send Him Our Love,” Joe’s tribute to his murdered friend, the rapper Stack Bundles:

“That was how I dealt. It was such a shocking blow to all that knew him back then. It was very sudden, and sudden death is always really difficult to deal with. I didn’t know anything to do but write.”

On using the Internet to communicate with fans at the beginning of his career:

“Back then, it was my only means to get information or challenge someone else’s. That was the time where I had just gotten my record deal, and I was being told so many things from so many different people. I went to the Internet to get information and get other peoples’ opinions and perspectives.”