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INTERVIEW: Ludacris Spreads the Word With Dan Leroy (November 28, 2001)
His rhymes might have been dropped from the Missy Elliot hit “Get Ur Freak On.” But don't worry – Dirty South mouthpiece Ludacris will never have trouble getting his freak on, guest shots or not. The ribald rapper's sophomore album, Word of Mouf, features plenty of his trademark Southern-fried sex talk. From the hit “Area Codes,” about having "pros" in every city and state, to the self-explanatory “Freaky Thangs,” Ludacris says he's upped the libidinal ante from his debut:
“If they thought it was crazy when I made Back From the First Time, then just the last year, talkin' from those experiences, the sexual damn songs gonna be even more ridiculous,” Cris promises with a laugh.
Don't get it twisted, though – Ludacris says he's a funnyman, not a female basher. All that talk about hoes (or “pros”) is strictly tongue-in-cheek, the 25-year-old MC adds. “They gotta understand that I'm just desexualizing the word ‘ho'. And I always try to save somewhere in the song where women can definitely talk about the same thing about men,” he explains in his deep Southern drawl. “I mean, next album, I'm probably gonna have a song called ‘Hoesband.' Husbands are hoes, y'know,” he adds, chuckling. “So I'll redeem myself, if women are thinkin' I'm trippin'.”
While there's plenty of trippin' all over Word of Mouf, Ludacris might not have to wait until his next outing for redemption. The album goes beyond the skits and sex rhymes of his triple-platinum debut, Back for the First Time, offering a few cuts that show the serious side of rap's class clown.
In particular, “Cold Outside” focuses on his work ethic and determination to stay on top. “That's just basically talkin' about motivation. Nobody ever wants to go back to the lowest point of their life, and I'm the type of person that wants to keep bein' successful, so my motivation is that I'm never gonna have to go back and have people say, ‘Whatever happened to him?'” Ludacris's early success, including recent guest shots with Mariah Carey and Missy Elliot, makes that scenario seem pretty ludicrous. The Atlanta native, born Chris Bridges, caught the ear of some of hip-hop's heavy hitters while working in radio at 97.5, WHAT-FM. His promos and drops for the station's DJs got the attention of P. Diddy and Jermaine Dupri, and after selling 50,000 copies of his independent debut, Incognegro, he was the first signing of the Def Jam South label.
A revised version of the album, Back for the First Time, burned up radio over the last year with freaky tracks like “What's Your Fantasy.” And Ludacris says he's glad to have Def Jam's “powerful machine behind me. So now I can do the work that I do just as hard, and they work it, and it's like 100 percent comin' from both ends.
But he's still confident he could sell the new album, with nothing but word of mouth – hence the title.
“The big difference with a label is, I feel like everything I do now is more up-to-date. It's better,” he says. “And I feel like my best work is yet to come, so the latest project, of course, is gonna be better than anything I've ever done, just because it's the latest Ludacris you gonna hear.
The latest Ludacris you can see, meanwhile, is in the new movie The Wash. In a two-minute cameo, Cris plays a car wash customer who curses out Dr. Dre “for putting Windex on my tires.
“I liked doin' it. I like raisin' my voice and actin' ignorant sometimes,” he says with a laugh.
Meanwhile, Ludacris handles his own stable of artists through his own production company, Disturbing the Peace, which includes Chicago singer Shawna. And after “souping up” his new album with artists like Mystikal and Nate Dogg, and producers like Timbaland, Organized Noise and Swizz Beats, Cris says there aren't a lot of folks left he's itching to work with.
But one professional goal does remain. On his debut, Ludacris spun a fantasy about having sex at the 50-yard line of the Georgia Dome – a fantasy that so far, remains unfulfilled.
“Naw, I haven't done that yet,” he admits, laughing. “We wanted to shoot some of the new video in the Georgia Dome, but they wouldn't allow us to do it. But hopefully, one day I'll be able to make somethin' like that come true.
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This interview was written and conducted by Dan LeRoy. All Interviews are property of their respective owner(s), not us, unless otherwise stated!