Ludacris jumps back in the fire with his new album, Ludaversal, and fire is what he brings. Hip-hop has been missing that heat for quite some time. Ludacris teased fans with "Burning Bridges" some weeks ago, and now Ludaversal provides us with the full arsenal.
He goes hard right out the gate with the David Banner-produced "Ludaversal Intro", spitting:
... "ain't nobody f**kin with me when it come to gettin' lyrical, murderin' a rapper and killin' beats n***a, I'm cinematic makin' everybody panic, I be bustin' like a semi-automatic, feel the heat n***a, we can battle in the Phantom in Atlanta, the Rover in Minnesota, or the Arizona streets n***a, they sayin' all these offensive lines, I snap back, this the quarterback sneak n***a..."
He shows right away that not only is he still a master at his craft, but he's stepped his game up in terms of wordplay and how he maneuvers over the beat. Ludacris has always been a master at his delivery and the way he bounces over the beat. As an intro, it should be a glimpse into what can be expected throughout the entire album, so to speak. While that isn't the case for many, ok - most albums, it actually rings true here. It's truly an uphill climb as the album progresses, from "Grass is Always Greener" and the #SykSense-produced "Call Ya Bluff", to the Big K.R.I.T. assisted "Come and See Me", and "Get Lit", which was produced by Da Internz. Monica appears on "Ocean Skies", on which Luda pays tribute to his father. That track is produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. I highlight the producers because Ludacris enlists some of hip-hop's best storytellers in terms of production. Others providing that backdrop include DJ Toomp, Mike Will Made It, Just Blaze, and Illmind. Other artists appearing throughout the album include Usher ("Not Long"), and Miguel ("Good Lovin'"). The albums deluxe edition includes "Money", "Problems", "In My Life", and "Burning Bridges" which respectively feature Rick Ross, Ceelo Green, John Legend, and Jason Aldean. "Money" and "Problems" are probably two of the most introspective tracks offered on Ludaversal, with lyrics on "Money" like:
"Mo money mo problems, tell me what's worse, gettin' audited by the government, givin' up millions to the IRS or havin' to take a paternity test from a b***h I never met .... I'm gettin' sued by my own family member, all 'cause my dog but her, and she was the one who walked up and put her hand out, and now she got her hand out, it's driving me crazy, almost as if the s**t was planned out..."
On "Problems", which features Ceelo Green, Luda raps:
"...and people know me on a first name basis, but all they ever really want it my cash, let me borrow just a couple hundred dollars and you know that I'm a pay you back my a**..."
Overall, Ludaversal is a win for Ludacris. Ludacris stands as his 9th album (if you include his independent released Incognegro). Reality is, rappers, and artists in general, have an expiration date, and that usually arrives fairly quickly. Ludacris has stood the test of the industry's ups and downs, remaining relevant along the way. He's been with Def Jam the entire distance, which in reality is against the norm. Most artist change labels, at least once throughout their career for whatever the reason may be. Ludacris has defied the odds in so many ways.
Ludaversal is definitely an album you'll want to have in your collection. Look for the album in stores, and with online retailers Tuesday, March 31!