Almost from the moment Ludacris released his debut album almost four years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, the rapper has delivered
one of the most arresting sounds in rap music. Combining irresistible charm with an unmistakable delivery has made Ludacris
one of the most popular MCs on the hip-hop landscape.
With the release of his third album Chicken-N-Beer, 26-year old Ludacris has crafted one of the most expressive rap records
in years. From the hot buttered opening of “Southern Fried Intro,” with its gutbucket rock guitars and fiery fem
background vocals, Ludacris is on a mission to dispel any preconceived notions of what it means to be a southern rapper. As
he declares on the opening verse, “Better turn up your stereo louder/Listen up and let me preach.”
As the pivotal member, both behind the scenes and in front of the mic, of Disturbing Tha Peace — which includes Lil
Fate, I-20, Tity Boi, Shawnna and platinum selling Chingy — Ludacris has come a long way since his days of doing talent
shows. And, having sold over seven million copies of his first two discs, (Back for The First Time and Word Of Mouf), Ludacris
is one of the top-sellers of the new generation. “For me, it’s not just about being the best, I also want people
to realize I’m versatile.”
Propelled by the smoking single “Stand Up,” a song Luda co-produced with Kanye West, the crafty rapper has
created a track that is as soulful as it is infectious. “For all of my songs I have worked closely with the producers,”
Ludacris informs. “But this is the first time I’ve gotten credit on the record.”
Knocking hip-hop convention on its booty, “Stand Up” crosses the border that usually divides club anthems and
radio appeal. Over crunked-up drums and various rhythms in the background, Ludacris takes the listener on a wild ride through
southern club culture. “What’s up, the club and the moon are full,” Ludacris bellows.
“Down south, we judge music by how good it sounds in the club,” Ludacris says. “I am not necessarily
considered a crunk artist, but I like that flavor in some of my songs.” In addition, the imaginative Dave Meyers video
for “Stand Up” harks back to a time when videos were about more than girls and jewels.
While Ludacris has been embraced by music fans as well as film followers (his role in 2 Fast, 2 Furious won him kudos),
he has also had to deal with opposition. “I talk about Bill O’Reilly on the track ‘Hoes in My Room,’”
Ludacris says of the conservative broadcaster. “The experience didn’t sour me to sponsorship, it just made me
realize that some companies have no respect for the black dollar.”
While Chicken-N-Beer overflows with funky music and creative lyrics, it’s the booming “Hip Hop Quotables”
that sticks in the membrane. Produced with gritty allure by beatmaster Erick Sermon (EPMD, Redman), “Hip Hop Quotables”
is bound to capture folks from coast to coast.
Indeed, what would a Ludacris disc be if it didn’t have a bouncy soundtrack for the strippers of the world. Produced
by newcomer Zukhan Bey, the gyrating grooves of “P-Poppin’” is as seductive as it is nasty. “I like
a girl who makes her own dough, don’t need a lot of help/but your heart will melt if I put a thousand in your garter
belt,” Ludacris says. Featuring the vocalizing prowess of Shawnna, “P-Poppin’” is bound to become
the latest anthem for the brass pole coalition of stage dancing divas.
On Chicken-N-Beer, Ludacris embraces his fans while simultaneously silencing the naysayers. From his own southern roads
to the streets of the South Bronx to the highways of southern California, this seasoned entertainer has delivered a winner.
“I wanted Chicken-N-Beer to be about me taking chances with the music,” Ludacris says. Filled with funked-up
grooves, provocative storytelling and b-boy swagger, Chicken-N-Beer is the soulful sound of rap music surviving. Hot sauce