House of Hawthorne


Posted on: January 11, 2012

I was listening to “Yeah” by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris recently, like we all like to do at night times sometimes, and I was struck, for some reason, by Ludacris’ verse on it. It’s lyrically, maybe, a couple notches above a Pitbull moment, if that. Perhaps the standout line is “Ludacris fill cups like double Ds.” But in some ways it’s a perfect verse in the context of the song. It actually makes sense with the actual plotline of “Yeah,” the delicious tension of freak dancing with your girl’s best friend. Ludacris isn’t in the same exact situation, but he’s definitely in the club, wingmanning for Usher. This goes to what I believe is Luda’s true legacy in hip-hop: capitalizing on his opportunities.

Have you ever been blown away by a Ludacris rhyme? Amused and entertained, definitely. But blown away? Doubtful. For example, one of my favorite Ludacris songs is “Roll Out (My Business).” I am listening to it now and just cracked up anew when he says, “What in the world is in that bag/ what you got in that bag?

” It doesn’t make any sense why that sentence makes me smile every time I hear it, as a more than casual hip-hop listener. But Ludacris, especially on those first two albums, has this way of joke rhyming without ever having become a joke, really.

The story of his career, to me, is remarkable. Reading about how it took working with Timbaland of all people to get him serious about his rapping career is insane. That doesn’t happen to real people. Scarface scouts you to be the face of Def Jam South and you have the Neptunes and Timbaland on your first album? Think about that in the context of your own career and what that would mean. Talk about being put on the fast track. I’m not saying he wasn’t hustling, but that’s pretty incredible.

I need to talk about the Neptunes and “Southern Hospitality.” I cannot overstate how much I love this song. It’s everything you and I love about the Neptunes, that future bounce music. (If you love the Neptunes, check out Beat Drop’s guide to the Neptunes.) It’s just amazing to me that Ludacris got this beat for his major label debut in the first place, but he did kill it. You know what? I far prefer “Southern Hospitality” to Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love You (Give It To Me).” I said it.

What’s this all add up to? Is Ludacris a good rapper or was he extraordinarily lucky? Has any other rapper so enjoyed the art of video editing one’s head onto different bodies? Would we all want to live on Ludacris’s Chicken and Beer planet? His next album, reportedly coming out sometime this spring, is going to mean a lot to his legacy, because “How Low” was seriously a musical abomination. In the end, I like Luda, I just don’t love him.


6 Responses to "Ludathoughts"

He’s fun, and thats all i think he is. I don’t think anyone would disagree that his lyricism is average, its really more about the way he says things then what he’s actually saying. He certainly got lucky, be he’s also undeniably entertaining and is charismatic.

Also should be mentioned that he bit Busta’s style pretty hard.

Yeah the Busta point is completely valid. What do you think about this Big Sean/Drake beef? Ridiculous right?

sorry for the late reply, i just knew of the common vs. drake one, and too was totally idiotic.

You wouldn’t believe how often this topic of conversation comes up for me. I’ve never been able to put my finger on the magic of Luda, because like you I also think the man has a way with punchlines and hooks. But I’d never put him on any top 10 or even top 20 list of favorite MC’s. He’s fun, he’s clever, and I can think of a bunch of his songs I love. But mostly I would say he’s….reliable. Altho I do blame him for unleashing Chingy on the world so there’s that. Oh, lemme float this idea by you…Fabolous is the more “hood” version of Luda.

I definitely thought about Fabolous while writing this. I am glad you mentioned him, Kristina. And I have been thinking about that top 10 or top 20 list too and I really think he might squeeze in on the list if I were to, what, not count the Wu Tang Clan as separate rappers? Which wouldn’t be fair to them or to this fictional and inconsequential list.

wow id love to see both of your top 10 or top 20 rappers lists..luda might-might make my top 50..

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