LUDACRIS LIFE BIOGRAPHY:
Ludacris is the stage name of Chris Bridges, born on 11 September 1977, in Champaign, Illinois, USA. During his early years he moved to Atlanta, which is where he would go on to make a name for himself as one of the most prominent Dirty South rappers of the new millennium.
Ludacris' musical career goes back to childhood. To infancy, in fact. Born while his parents were still in college he found himself at many house partys, soaking in the music at an age most kids are still teething.
"They were always jamming to the old school stuff, like Frankie Beverly and Maze, Cameo, all that kind of music," said Ludacris. "They used to take me to college parties and let me get out in the middle of the floor and dance for all the other students."
His love affair with music continued into his pre-teen years. At age 12 he joined a Chicago based hip-hop outfit called the Loudmouth Hooligans. Moving to Atlanta the same year, he pursued his goal with a vengeance. During his time at College Park's Banneker High School, he started battling in the lunch room, often getting so involved in the verbal contests that he would forget to eat. Later he started performing, showing up at talent shows, and at clubs.
"I would show up at any venue that had an open mic" he said.
Ludacris began his music career as a radio DJ personality, Chris Lova Lova, on the V103 urban radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. He eventually landed a gig on Atlanta's then-new hip-hop station Hot 97.5 gaining a job producing the night show. It was here that Ludacris worked his rhymes on the mic, got the 411 on the music industry and became known throughout the Atlanta area. Eventually, Ludacris leaned toward a career as an MC rather than as a radio disc jockey. Ludacris made his mark rapping on voice over promos. He ended up being as recognizable as some of the deejays.
"I started rapping on the station promos. We did them over all of the top hits, so people got to hear me rap over tight beats."
He made his recorded debut on "Phat Rabbit", a track from Timbaland's 1998 album 'Tim's Bio: Life from the Bassment'. Although both Timbaland and Jermaine Dupri showed interest in signing Ludacris, he decided to take matters into his own hands, and Ludacris released the album 'Incognegro' independently on hiw own 'Disturbing The Peace Entertainment', in 1999. Fueled by the single "What's Your Fantasy," which got as many as 500 spins a week on radio in some southern markets, and went to no.1 on a local radio station, the album sold over 50,000 copies, most of them sold out of the trunk of Ludacris' car. That success caught the eye of many major labels including Def Jam and president Scarface. After a long courtship by several labels, Ludacris decided to go with Def Jam South. Def Jam Records signed Ludacris in 2000, and created a new imprint, Def Jam South, totally around him.
Ludacris' major-label debut single was "What's Your Fantasy", from Ludacris' "Back For The First Time" album, which was made up mostly of tracks from his 'Incognegro' album. In addition to introducing Ludacris, his first single and music video, which became an MTV2 hit, gave America its first glimpse of his fellow Disturbing Tha Peace member Shawnna, a female rapper who has just recently begun to achieve some success of her own. In addition to singing the chorus on "What's Your Fantasy" and appearing in its video, Shawnna, along with Trina and Foxy Brown, contributed original verses to a remix of the track that featured Ludacris himself on the chorus.
A wide range of influences show up on "Back For The First Time". The hard hitting "U Got A Problem", displays a braggadocious verbal performance that demonstrates Ludacris' way with the metaphor. On the Organized Noize produced "The Game Got Switched" he raises the bar on weak MCs ("too many rookies/not enough pros"). Most of the album is produced by Ludacris' in-house producer Shondre. He's responsible for the first single, the hiccuping "What's your fantasy" in which Ludacris flips rapid fire sex rhymes over Shondre's ATL bass-inlfluenced track (at one point he imagines getting his freak on in the Georgia Dome during a Falcoms game).
In 2001, "Southern Hospitality" became an even bigger urban radio and video hit, achieving heavy MTV2 airplay and moderate MTV airplay. Back For The First Time's third single was the controversial "Ho", which, due to lyrics, was banned or restricted on many radio stations and whose video was not played by MTV, MTV2, or even BET, although it was available online at Launch for some time.
During the summer of 2001, Ludacris, with the help of Nate Dogg, released a single off of the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack called "Area Codes". A continuation of the lyrical themes started with "Ho", the song and video were only played in an edited version in which all uses of the word "ho" were replaced with the word "pro". Despite this the song is now a classic, and it achieved great success for Luda And Nate, and also the movie. To this day the song is still one of which Luda will always be remebered for.
Due to his recent successes Ludacris promptly completed his next album, 'Word Of Mouf' and released it at the end of 2001. Its lead single, "Rollout (My Business)", was produced by Timbaland and gave Ludacris his first taste at a minor mainstream crossover, and the song was enormous on urban radio. Its next two singles, "Saturday (Oooh, Oooh)" and "Move Bitch", performed similarly during 2002, and all three songs' videos enjoyed MTV, BET, and MTV2 support. However, "Move Bitch" was commonly referred to as simply "Move" by radio DJ's and the word "bitch" was just muted out wherever it occurred. The title of the video also appeared as just "Move" when played on American video stations. Despite the controversy, the video was nominated for a 2003 VMA, and Luda performed it live at the awards' pre-show. Ludacris also toured with Papa Roach in 2002 after the release of their sophomore album 'Lovehatetragedy'.
In 2003, after music from the controversial "Move Bitch" had been used in a Pepsi commercial in which Ludacris also appeared drinking the soda, Pepsi came under fire from Bill O'Reilly for supporting Ludacris. O'Reilly believed that it was wrong for an international corporation like Pepsi to target the American teen audience by glamorizing a person like Ludacris, a "gangsta rapper" who had admitted having been in gangs and whose lyrics contained profanity, violence, and overt sexuality. O'Reilly urged his viewers to complain to and boycott Pepsi for its affiliation with Ludacris. Eventually, Pepsi gave in to O'Reilly and dropped Ludacris. However, this created more controversy than it ended, as Russell Simmons pointed out Pepsi's hypocrisy and what he considered even to be racism: Simmons argued that Pepsi could not legitimately fire Ludacris for being a presumed violent and profane role model while also employing the Osbournes, who are also known for being violent, vulgar, and profane. Simmons himself, along with Ludacris, then called for a black Pepsi boycott. In the end, Pepsi settled with Simmons by agreeing to help fund black causes, even though the Osbournes were permitted to keep their advertising contracts with the corporation. Ludacris, though annoyed about the situation itself, was happy that he got to keep the money that Pepsi had paid him for the ads. O'Reilly later protested Budweiser's deal with Ludacris.
Luda also landed a major film role in the very successfull '2 Fast 2 Furious' movie. Ludacris recieved great praise for his first major Hollywoodrole. Luda had made a previous appearance in movie 'The Wash' the previous year, which also starred fellow rappers Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, but that movie was nowhere near as succesfull to '2 Fast 2 Furious'. During the spring of 2003, Ludacris returned to the music scene after a brief hiatus with a new single, "Act A Fool" off the '2 Fast 2 Furious' soundtrack. At around the same time, he released the lead single from his upcoming album, 'Chicken & Beer', called "P-Poppin'". Neither of his new singles was as well-received by either the urban or pop audiences as his previous songs had been, and both music videos received only limited airplay. Ludacris' "Chicken & Beer" album opened strongly, but without a popular single, the album fell quickly.
However, in the fall of 2003, Ludacris rebounded with his next single, "Stand Up", which appeared on both 'Chicken & Beer' as well as the soundtrack for the teen hip-hop/dance movie, 'Honey'. "Stand Up" went on to become Ludacris' biggest mainstream hit to date, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnering heavy airplay on mainstream pop, rhythmic, and urban radio stations, as well as on MTV, MTV2, and BET. However a rap group known as I.O.F. (It's Only Family) launched a lawsuit on Ludacris and producer Kanye West for copyright infringement over the hit "Stand Up".
The album's next single, "Splash Waterfalls", was released in early 2004. Though not a pop hit, it became a success at urban radio and BET, thanks to its being Ludacris' most sexual video yet and an R&B; remix that featured Raphael Saadiq and sampled Tony! Toni! Tone!'s "Whatever You Want". Luda next released "Blow It Out", a gritty song that had a heavily low-budget, gritty, and urban-looking music video, which was a huge departure from the colorful, sensual, R&B; leanings depicted in "Splash Waterfalls". "Blow It Out" acted as a scathing response to Ludacris' critics, namely Bill O'Reilly, who is mentioned by name.
On December 7th 2004, Ludacris released his fifth album, 'Red Light District', which went straight to No.1 on the USA Billboard charts with 322,000 copies sold in its first week, and was eventually certified double platinum by the RIAA. Although 'Red Light District' was not entirely different from Luda's usual antics of his previous albums, he had taken a slightly more mature approach to this album. Sohail Khalid helped produce this album along with the lieks of DJ Green Lantern and Timbaland, and various high profile rap artists such as DMX, Nate Dogg, Nas, Trick Daddy, Scraface and Doug E. Fresh featured on the album.
Red Light District's lead single, "Number One Spot", was released on February 15, 2005 through Luda's on DTP label with help from Def Jam. The song samples "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones, which was used as the theme in the Austin Powers film series; Austin Powers references play major parts in "Number One Spot" and its video. A controversial line is used in the song as an answer to commentator Bill O'Reilly's accusations that Ludacris is helping ruin America, also pointing out O'Reilly's sexual harassment problems. In the song, in the first verse, he says "Respected highly, HIIII MR. O'REILLY/Hope all is well, kiss the plantiff and the wifey." The song reached #19 on the US Hot 100 chart and #30 in UK. "Number One Spot" was nominated at for Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards of 2006, but it lost to Kanye West's "Gold Digger". The music video features spoofs of scenes from the Austin Powers films, with Ludacris taking the roles of Austin Powers, Fat Bastard, Goldmember and Dr. Evil. The video also features Verne Troyer, who plays Mini-Me in the film franchise. Quincy Jones also makes an appearance on the music video. The video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video in 2005.
On June 14th, 2005 Luda then dropped his second single from the Red Light District album, "Pimpin' All Over the World". The track featured singer Bobby Valentino and was produced by Polow da Don and Donnie Scantz. The song eventually became the most successful single from The Red Light District ablum. The song features Ludacris rapping the verses throughout the song, and then accompanying Valentino on the chorus. The video of the song features them on islands drinking, watching women, and dancing with women. "Pimpin' All Over the World" was well received on the Billboard charts, reaching #9 on the Hot 100 singles chart, but achieved its highest spot on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, reaching #2. "Pimpin' All Over the World" stayed on the charts from August 4, 2005 through October 29, 2005, a total of 86 days. An edited version of the song clocking in at 3 minutes and 58 seconds appears on the compilation album Now That's What I Call Music! 20 (U.S. series). "The Potion" was the third and least successful single from Ludacris' The Red Light District, peaking at just number 65 on the Hot R&B;/Hip-Hop Songs singles chart. The beat was originally intended to appear on Jay-Z's The Black Album.
After the success of his The Red Light District album, Ludacris used his opportunity to start his own foundation. The Ludacris Foundation, started by Ludacris and Chaka Zulu, an organization that helps young middle and high school students motivate themselves in creative arts.
In an issue of hip-hop based magazine "XXL", Ludacris was placed in the 9th spot for the most anticipated albums of 2006, for Ludacris' "Release Therapy" album. Release Therapy was released on September 26, 2006 and the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart selling 309,800 copies in the first week making it Ludacris' third number one album in a row. As of now, the album has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Unlike the previous albums released by Ludacris, Release Therapy has a more mature and serious approach to the music (e.g. the 2nd single Runaway Love is Ludacris's first stab at socially concerned music). It is also Ludacris's darkest album to date, both in mood and subject matter. The different approach Ludacris took with Release Therapy has caused many listeners and fans to debate on whether the album is Ludacris's best, or his worst. Ludacris formatted the CD to have two sides: a Release side and a Therapy side on a single CD. With the Release side having songs that allow him to get everything off his chest and the Therapy side being just feel-good music, on the flip side it's extremely dark in mood. Luda also shaved his cornrows off for now a "fade" haircut. He said with a new album that was different than his other five albums, there would be a new haircut to go with it, similar to what Busta Rhymes did his The Big Bang album.
Ludacris also stated that his new album will be somewhat like a tape on CD. "The way we're going to try to format the record is you have your Release side and your Therapy side," he said. "Everybody knows the Release side would be 'War With God,' 'Tell It Like It Is.' I have a record called 'Slap.' Just getting everything off my chest. The Therapy side would be feel-good — a song like 'Woozy' with R. Kelly on it is therapeutic. Even 'Money Maker.' Some women's therapy is getting out, going to the club and shaking they ass. It's therapeutic to them."
Guest appearances on the album include Pharrell, R. Kelly, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Field Mob, Bobby Valentino, Pimp C, C-Murder, & Beanie Sigel. The first single, "Money Maker", which features Pharrell Williams, was released to U.S. radio outlets on July 17th, 2006. The single became the number 1 single on radio in the United States on October 19th, 2006, and it went to become the rapper's third number one single making number 1 on various charts through the U.S., including the Billboard Hot 100, the Hot R&B;/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Tracks and the Hot 100 Airplay. Ludacris shot a video for the first single, "Money Maker" which premiered on MTV's show Making the Video, on August 17, 2006. The music video managed to enter BET's 106 & Park and peak at number 1, where it remained for several days. The song was performed on the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, and "Money Maker" also won Ludacris a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song in 2007.
"Grew Up a Screw Up" is the second single off of Ludacris' Release Therapy. The song features Young Jeezy, who Ludacris was previously thought to have beef with and a sample of the late The Notorious B.I.G. who raps the hook "I grew up a fucking screw up," taken from Biggie's verse on Tupac's 1995 song, "Runnin' (From tha Police)" (itself sampled and released as "Runnin' (Dying to Live)" on the 2003 album Tupac Resurrection). Ludacris does the first and third verse with Young Jeezy on the second verse where he also raps about how he grew up and how he dropped out of school at grade 8. Curiously, in the video, Young Jeezy raps a verse different from the one which appeared on the Release Therapy Disc and references songs and artists from Disturbing tha Peace, Ludacris' record label. The song describes how Ludacris grew up in a bad environment. He says that he knew he had to do something in his life to be successful. The video for the single premiered on BET's 106 & Park as a New Joint on Friday October 13, 2006. The video has already been released on MTV Jams. The video was produced by DJ Nasty & LVM, and was directed by Chaka Zulu.
His third single was in the form of "Runaway Love" which features Mary J. Blige on the vocals, was produced by Polow da Don. The track soon peaked at #1 on the U.S. Rap Billboard, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and won Best Collaboration in the 2007 BET Awards. The song was performed at the 2007 Grammy Awards show by Ludacris, Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind & Fire. In the UK "Runaway Love" was the first single from Release Therapy and was released as a double A-side with "Girls Gone Wild" included. Each one of the three verses of the song are a fictional account telling the troubles in the lives of three runaway female adolescents; a nine-year-old named Lisa, a ten-year-old named Nicole, and an eleven-year-old named Erica each ending up running away to escape each of her own problems.
"Slap" was the albums forth single, released in April 2007. The song is an account of poverty on Bush America. Its narrator explains that he is feeling tired about working a lot on a low wage, and because of this, he has thoughts about beating his boss. His frustration is then explained to be bigger than that: his best friend was murdered just a day before. He also explains that he has thoughts about robbing a bank to have enough money to feed his newborn baby. Later, at the end of the song, his car is robbed and he expresses an ever bigger disappointment at the government. The music video was released early in 2007 and is based on Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, with many references to the movie, including Ludacris kicking over his TV while watching President Bush and doing the iconic "You talkin' to me?". "Slap" first gained media attention after Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly criticized the lyrics of the song (which uses the word "nigga" forty times, and also has anti-Bush lyrical content) in his TV program. He stated that Ludacris should have not won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in the 49th ceremony that had took place a day earlier, because of this song.
The Preview, a "Gangsta Grillz" mixtape with DJ Drama, to preview the release of Ludacris' sixth studio album, Theater of the Mind, was released on the 28th of July 2008. Theater of the Mind was slated for release on October 21st, but was pushed back a month later and was finally released on November 24th, 2008. The album features production from the likes of Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, Clinton Sparks, Darkchild, and Scott Storch.
Ludacris said the album is theatrical, conceptual-wise, and every song you hear sounds like a scene from a movie, hence the reason why feature artists on the album are stated as been "co-stars". These co-stars (featured guest appearances) include, which hip hop artists Lil Wayne, The Game, T.I., Nas, Jay-Z, Common, T-Pain, Plies, and Rick Ross, aswell as boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr., comedian Chris Rock, and R&B; signers Chris Brown and Jamie Foxx.
The first single from Theater of the Mind was "What Them Girls Like", which was released on August 7, 2008. The single features Chris Brown and Sean Garrett and is produced by Darkchild. The song was available on iTunes Store on August 7, 2008., but was leaked to the internet on August 1, 2008. The music video premiered on Yahoo! Music on September 11th, and takes cues from the Mel Gibson movie "What Women Want". Tyrese Gibson, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kristia Krueger made cameo appearances in the video.
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