This fall Ludacris is going to be all about "Chicken and
Beer." "We're going to sell a million copies just based
off the title alone," the southern rapper exclaimed when
talking about his upcoming album. He continued "I feel that
as the older I get, the more I rap, the better I get, practice
makes perfect, so I'm just basically sayin' every album I come
up with, as long as it's the latest album, it's gonna be the best
album from me. It just keeps getting better and better so 'Chicken
and Beer' will be the best LP I've ever put out." Luda describes
the album, saying "it's the same Ludacris that the core audience
loves but then always tryina take things to the next level and
do some different stuff that no one would expect me to do, just
to take it to the next level. Versatility is important."
isn't the only thing important to the Atlanta native, Ludacris
is also serious when it comes to charity. Launched two years ago,
The Ludacris Foundation is an Atlanta based charity that Luda
puts his whole heart into. "My foundation is geared towards
helping kids help themselves doing a number of projects, not necessarily
just one thing, but like feeding the homeless, going to rehabilitation
centers for kids and visitin them, givin out free stuff, sponsoring
boys and girls clubs, sponsoring trophies and uniforms, givin
out turkeys at Thanksgiving, sponsoring families at Christmas."
Foundation was supposed to receive a hefty gift from Pepsi after
the whole ad situation, but apparently no check has been made
out yet. According to Luda, "we still never came to an agreement
with the foundation when people and Russell Simmons stepped in
and people thought that we did, we never did." When asked
to play a little word association with the words "Pepsi,"
and "Bill O'Reilly," the normally humorous MC takes
on a very serious tone. "Hypocrite, Racist. Both are hypocrites
and you can say they're both racists. Pepsi doesn't value the
black dollar, I feel, and that all comes from, using me as an
example, it wasn't just about Ludacris it's bigger than me, but
they insulted Hip-Hop music as a whole by saying that, by putting
the Osbournes on that basically makes me believe that they're
saying that I am worse than the Osbournes. Who can say I'm worse
than the Osbournes? Man that's crazy." Despite this situation
Ludacris still has a positive attitude toward the ad world, saying
"like I tell people I'm glad that happened, it was a big
learnin experience for me, as a matter of fact we're in negotiations
to do a lot more endorsements so it didn't hurt me in that aspect."
incident Luda can add corporate to the other forms of shadiness
he already knows about. When it comes to the music industry, Luda
laughs at the concept of trying to put into words how shady the
game can get. "There's no way to measure it, it gets ridiculously
corrupt and shady, man. Everybody's always lookin out for their
own ass, especially in record companies. No one wants to get fired.
They'll do or say anything not to get themselves in trouble. Egos
play a big part when it comes to artists, and when it comes to
producers. It's a political game, man, it's almost like the music
industry is it's own separate kind of government and you gotta
try and play the game the right way." Paying that game is
something Luda's done as a radio station DJ, an independent artist,
and now as a superstar.
there's one other kind of shadiness Luda's familiar with, Slim
Shady. Luda and his DTP click were on last year's Anger Management
tour along with Eminem, Xzibit, and Papa Roach. Luda loved the
experience, saying "me bein in front of Eminem's audience,
he has a like a 10 million and over audience, so just bein in
front of him was great because, of course, that made awareness
for myself, and some people that maybe necessarily didn't listen
to my music were listenin then, especially since we had Papa Roach
also groupies there, and when groupies get crazy they turn into
stalkers. Luda had one stalker story from the Anger Management
Tour, and it happened when they were in the NC/VA area. "One
time, you always have your general stalkers, but it was like a
whole family that was stalkin me man and I was scared to death
because it was the mother the father and like two kids. It was
that Ludacris got when he hit the stage in Atlanta was ridiculous,
too, ridiculously huge. "Home is like the best place to perform,"
he explains, continuing "there's other records that not necessarily
everyone else across the country knows but (in) Atlanta they know
even more records than what is national, so I do a show in Atlanta
and I have even three or four more songs than the world knows."
Always showing support for his home state, Luda recently bought
a new house there, in College Park. He jokingly says he'll answer
the door if MTV Cribs comes knocking on one condition, "maybe,
eventually, if they give me the whole half an hour."
When it comes
to how many women will be getting in those doors, the man who
once said he had hoes in different area codes says he's calming
down a bit, but no he's not married. "I'm not married. There's
always this rumor flyin around that I'm married. I used to have
a lot of different pros in different area codes but now I've kinda
narrowed it down, let's just say that."
number of "pros" he has may be shrinking, the number
of remixes he's featured on is growing by leaps and bounds. Luda
is the unofficial king of the remix, appearing with everyone from
Cam'Ron to Usher, and expect to hear him keep popping up on other
people's songs as he explains "a lotta people just say they
wanna work with me and I think that's great man." He continued,
"I feel like working with different artists, it keeps me
balanced, it keeps me working with different styles and I learn
from every artist I work with, so it's almost like I think that's
the greatest thing in the world." Though he doesn't like
to play favorites, Ludacris did say who he felt he's learned the
most from, "out of all the collaborations I would have to
say R. Kelly, to be real with you, just because dude is like a
studio junkie man he's like a lab rat and he's so focused when
it comes to his music." He also cited Kelly, and Missy Elliott
as two of his favorite people to work with. In the end the learning
experience is always a good thing, but Luda adds that there is
another reason to continue to do remixes, "(I'm) lettin different
people's audiences hear me on different records. It's all about
doin the unexpected, man."
some things that fall into the category of "expected"
for Luda, however, including a few release dates. The soundtrack
to The Fast and the Furious 2 is set to drop May 27th, the movie,
which Luda has a role in, is due out June 6th, and Luda's third
solo effort, "Chicken and Beer" will be dropping in
early fall. Luda calls his role in The Fast and the Furious 2,
"like a medium role, it's not too big, it's not too small,
it's a pretty good role. I'll see where it takes me." Fans
of his music need not worry, Luda's not about to become a full
time actor. He is quick to say "music will always be (my)
number one love," and that's news that should keep plenty
of people happy, and plenty of remixes hot.
Ludacris: I-ight, what's up man!?
Editor-in-Chief, IGN Music: Not much, how're things with you?
Cool. So I was looking at your upcoming film projects and unless
things have changed you're working on a movie called Hustle and
I see that Isaac Hayes is in that, too.
Yeah he is!
Have you met him yet and gotten a chance to hang out with him?
I forgot about that [laughs] ISAAC HAYES! Naw, you know I was
on set with him. I didn't get a chance to "hang out"
with him, 'cause I don't know where the hell we'd be hanging out
at, to be real. But he was a real cool guy, man. I was definitely
kinda star struck myself, to be real.
Music: You're also in the new Def Jam Fight For New York video
Yeah man and to be real with you, I don't even get to play video
games as much as I would like to. I used to be a video game freak,
but I've kind of like eased back. I played Def Jam Vendetta a
couple of times, but this one I haven't even really gotten a chance
to break into yet.
Damn. But you were involved in the production of the game in terms
of your character, right?
What actually did you do? Did you specify what special moves you
wanted your character to have? When they approached you to be
in the sequel did you have some ideas of how you wanted your character
to be improved?
Yeah, I had input as far as what I wanted to wear and my moves
and what I wanted to call them. So with that being said, I was
very happy about that, 'cause you know having creative input on
something being animated is definitely [cool]. I mean it's like
how many people can say that they've been turned into a video
game character? That's grateful all within itself.
No doubt. I mean once you've had a video game character and an
action figure modeled after you, you're all set, you know?
[sneezes] Yeah, that's what I'm saying.
When you went in for Def Jam Fight For New York what were the
new special moves you wanted added to your character that weren't
Like the Ludacrucification [laughs].
The Ludacrucification is where I hold them up in the air to where
they almost look like a cross and then I just drop them on my
knee or something.
How did you come up with that move?
Well, I mean, you know, it was just trying to be clever with the
name, working in the Ludacris thing, "Ludacrucification."
I don't even know how I came up with the name. I mean I don't
even know how I come up with my lyrics, man. It just comes from
somewhere. I'm just trying to be creative.
Speaking of which, I was listening to your jump off single "Get
Back" and me and some of the guys got to talking about your
albums and more specifically your musical style and we couldn't
really pinpoint or pigeonhole you into one particular style. I
mean if you listen to your records sometimes you're a little bit
crunk and other times you're a little bit bling, then a little
bit comedic, a little bit party oriented, a little bit Old School,
you don't really have one singular style.
I'm glad you said that. I've been trying to nail it into everyone's
heads that I feel like I am the most versatile rapper. So if you
wanted to pin something on me, you can definitely pin that on
me! I'm a little bit of everything, man and I'm happy to say that.
With that being said I think that means that I'll be around for
a long time. SO whatever's hot, I'm gonna have a piece of it [laughs].
Right on. But on the same token sometimes being so diverse and
so versatile and people can't pigeonhole you, it's almost tougher
to be successful than if you fit nicely into one style or niche.
You know, being all over the map can make it tougher to be successful
because of the fact that people can't pin you down, you know?
But you seem to have broken that mold in a manner of speaking
and become a master of many styles.
Exactly! And that's how I like to think of it. I'm very happy
that you said that.
Since I haven't peeped the entire album yet, I know you've got
a ton of guests on the various tracks like DMX, Nate Dogg, DJ
Quik. Who are some of the guest producers you enlisted for the
Lil' Jon, Timbaland, Organized Noize, new producers like Ice Drake,
LC, Craig King, just to name a few.
The juxtaposition of established producers like Lil' Jon and Timbaland
with new cats like the ones you just mentioned, what was the decision
It goes back right to what we were talking about: versatility
man! I wanted different styles with the beats, with everything.
I don't want to just have one thing.
IGN Music: How did you stumble upon some of these new cats? Are
they guys from around Atlanta that have come to your attention
or did some of them send you tapes?
It's a mixture of people in Atlanta, people who have sent me tapes,
people that I've worked with, everything. It's just a mixture
of all of that.
Tying into that versatility thing, I imagine that when you go
into the studio you're not trying to just come up with one set
sound, especially if you are working with so many different producers.
That said, what do you look for in a beat? Does it have to hit
you intellectually or emotionally? What is it that you look for
when a producer steps to you and says "I think I have a joint
What do I look for in a producer?
Yeah or what do you look for in a beat, you know?
I never really know until I hear it, man. It's just something
that sparks me and I don't even know what sparks me until I hear
it. It's almost like when I go to the mall and I don't know what
I'm looking for until I see it. That's just how I am.
It sounds like it's almost more of a sub-conscious thing, eh?
Yeah. It's crazy.
Don't take this question the wrong way, but do you think you will
ever reach a point of being over-exposed? I mean you guest like
crazy on other people's albums. You pop up all around on recent
releases from Lil' Jon, Young Buck, plus you have your own career
both in music and film and in TV commercials. Do you think there's
such a thing as being too over-exposed?
Yeah, that's why I try to do everything I do really strategically.
I don't want to be too over-exposed, but then at the same time
I don't want to be too out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
Then it's just all about trying to find that balance between the
Exactly! Right. And that's what I always continuously try to do.
Now with the video of "Get Back" I read that you were
gunning to have Spike Jonze to direct it, but he was unable to
take the project on, so who have you chosen as a replacement?
We're deciding over the next couple of days, as a matter of fact.
So I wouldn't really talk about that until we know for sure right
Well, when it comes down to making the video, how involved do
you get? Do you come up with the initial story and then work hand-in-hand
with the director or do you let them take control of the whole
thing? I mean do you pick out a director and then tell them what
your idea is or do let them say "This is what the song means
to me, so let's do this." Or does it depend?
It's both. It's one of those situations where it's both. It's
kind of like I'll give them ideas and the director will give me
ideas and then we gel, just trying to match the song so that we
take the visuals and merge them perfectly with the song. That's
what we do.
That Boost Mobile commercial is kinda hot right now, the one you
did with Kanye and The Game. Have you ever recorded a song over
Like lyrics? No, no, no, I've never done that.
Where do you see rap being today? I feel that we're at a crossroads
in terms of the creation of new genres. We've gone through the
Old School, the New School, the True School, Gangsta, Bling, but
it seems like we're at a period where the medium is trying to
redefine itself. What are your thoughts on this?
Yeah, I think history repeats itself, but in different ways. Kind
of like how Crunk music, I think it's the New School Bass music.
So I just see hip-hop, you know kind of like there are new styles
and it's just getting' bigger and bigger. You know, you see it
in commercials…I wouldn't even call the Boost Mobile commercial,
definition-wise a commercial because they let us do the hell what
we wanted to do. It was just like real. With that being said,
I'm very happy with kind of where hip-hop is going. As long as
no one forgets where it came from, you know what I'm sayin'?
IGN Music: That's one of the things that gets tougher with each
new generation, though. I got into rap back in the mid-'80s, so
I remember the advent of the New School. But then I work with
cats in their twenty's who don't remember that era. It's like
with each successive generation an older one seems to get forgotten.
Yeah, well you know, sometimes that is what happens. But to each
his own, man. Right now I'm kind of concentrating on how I feel
about it and I will always keep with me how [I remember getting
into it]. Like the first record I bought was UTFO, man. And I
was always kind of a Run DMC and LL Cool J fan. So with that being
said I'll always keep that with me, but life is all about change,
so I just continue to change with the times as long as I stay
Do you at all feel the need to bestow some knowledge upon younger
cats? You know, teach them about UTFO and such or only if they
want to be taught about that?
I mean yes and no because they have people before my time that
I may or may not want to necessarily hear about because I feel
like LL Cool J is my time. So, you know, it's important to let
them know where it comes from, but you don't have to drill it
into their head because every generation has somebody that they
kind of started with and look up to at the same time, so you have
to respect that.
You do realize that somewhere in the world you are that guy that
somebody started listening to hip-hop music because of and they
look up to you, right? Like you are to some kids like LL Cool
J was to you.
How does that make you feel?
That makes me feel great and it also keeps me on my toes.
Okay, since your new album is titled Red Light District, have
you ever been to the true red light district in Amsterdam?
Yeah! I was young at the time so, you know, I didn't really experience
that much. I just saw [what goes on there] [laughs].
-- Spence D.
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