* Born: 11 September 1977
* Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
* Best Known As: Rapper who did "Southern Hospitality"

Ludacris (born Christopher Bridges on September 11, 1977 in Champaign, Illinois; commonly referred to as Luda) is an American rapper and actor. He eventually moved to Atlanta, where he would go on to make a name for himself as one of the most prominent Dirty South rappers of the new millennium.

Early years

Ludacris began his music career as a radio DJ personality, Chris Lova Lova, on the V103 urban radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 released the album Incognegro independently in 1999. The album sold over 50,000 copies, most of them sold out of the trunk of Ludacris' car. Def Jam Records signed Ludacris in 2000, and created a new imprint, Def Jam South, around him.

Back for the First Time

Ludacris' major-label debut single was "What's Your Fantasy", from his Back For The First Time album, which was made up mostly of tracks from Incognegro. 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.

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 singer 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".

Word of Mouf

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.

O'Reilly controversy

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. On March 10, 2005, Ludacris announced on BET that he was participating a essay contest in which the contestant would win a free concert from Ludacris. The rapper will perform at high schools that are willing to participate in the contest. Although the contest had officially began, O'Reilly might protest and boycott the performance due his on-going campaign against gangsta rap. O'Reilly believes that Ludacris is involved in narcotics sells. On his show O'Reilly believes that Ludacris is the reason for violence and criminal activities in the music industry. There is no proven evidence that Ludacris was involved in any criminal activity.

Chicken & Beer

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. Chicken & Beer 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, hitting the top spot 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.

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.


Despite O'Reilly's rants on the rapper, he is also engaged in a beef with former protege Chingy. Chingy had since parted ways with Disturbing Tha Peace and the president Chaka Zulu. In a recent magazine, Chingy discussed the situation between him and Ludacris. The issue was brought to Ludacris' attention but he really didn't comment on the matter. But in few weeks he stated that all respect was lost during the time Chingy lashed out against him. Also a rival rapper by the name of T.I. also addressed Ludacris' name numerous times. He had retilated back through a on record verbal bashing through Young Buck 's Straight Outta Cashville album. And most recently a rap group known as I.O.F. (It's Only Family) has sued him and producer Kanye West for copyright infringement over the hit "Stand Up" off the Chicken & Beer album. Ludacris's final single from Chicken & Beer was "Diamond In The Back". On December 7, 2004, he released his fifth album, Red Light District.

The Red Light District

The fifth studio album from Ludacris. Although entirely different from the usual antics of the previous albums, Ludacris had taken a more mature approach to his album. Ludacris openly boasted that he may be the only rapper able to keep the Def Jam label afloat. Ludacris had recently filmed and recorded the single "Get Back" in which he was featured a muscle-bounded hulk who was being annoyed by the media and warned his critics to leave him alone. The follow-up single was "The Number One Spot". It was produced by Hot 97 personality DJ Green Lantern. It used the Quincy Jones sample of "Soul Bossa Nova" and sped it up to the tempo of Ludacris' rap flow. Ludacris also filmed the video in which he pokes fun at Bill O'Reilly's problems with Andrea Mackris. Production credits come also from veteran producer Timbaland, Lil' Jon, The Medicine Men and legendary rapper Doug E. Fresh. Featured on the album include rappers, Nas, DMX, Trick Daddy, and Disturbing Tha Peace newcomers Bobby Valentino (of Mista fame) and Dolla Boy and Small Wonder. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, a first for Ludacris. And most recently the rapper had used his opportunity to start his own foundation. The Ludacris Foundation started by Ludacris and Chaka Zulu is a organization that helps young middle school and high students motivate themselves in creative arts. Ludacris also has a daughter by the name of Karma. The mother of his child is unknown due to the high-profile life of Ludacris. Ludacris had also participated at The Superbowl and is the spokesman for the Boost Mobile Phone ad-campaign.

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