Ludacris was obviously frustrated with the state of the music industry prior to returning for his eight album, Ludaversal. It’s safe to assume he felt like he had a point to prove because whatever the mission, he goes above and beyond to prove that he is still one of the greatest at this music stuff. Right off the top he destroys the David Banner produced “Ludaversal Intro,” reminiscent to what he’s done in the past on the Chicken and Beer Intro and Word of Mouf. He doesn’t take his foot off the peddle keeping it lyrical on “Beastmode” a few tracks later.
One of the reasons Ludacris has been so successful over the course of his career is his ability to make a complete song. Not just a a song filled with punchlines and word play or a song where he does just enough to ride the beat, but ones where his hook is just as important as his first bar and his concept is easy to fall in love with. Even when he’s talking shit it’s skillfully crafted. Such mastery is evident in the single, “Call Your Bluff” as well as tracks like “Come and See Me” and “Charge It To The Rap Game.”
Ludaversal comes complete with a few records that you’d imagine are pretty heartfelt for Luda as well. “Good Lovin,” which was originally released last year, touches on relationship issues and the need for a woman. You get the feeling Luda was really going through what he’s talking about and you get an idea where his head was with his now wife, Eudoxie. “Ocean Skies,” is a dedication to his deceased father, Wayne Bridges, and features his real life cousin, songstress, Monica. The track takes a hard look at alcoholism and losing someone you love, to their love of the bottle.
Growth is clear for Ludacris. He spends a lot of time reflecting on the latter tracks of Ludaversal and not just rapping to entertain, although he does do that early on in the album. From the problems that “Money” brings, to reflecting on the problems that the music industry has brought and even the issues that having a wife in the spotlight can bring to a fan base, Ludacris touches on it all.
The album reminds me of his Best Rap Album Grammy Award winning, Release Therapy. The difference is how personal the album is and that it’s much more well thought out. This time around Ludacris has nothing to prove, his peers already hold him in high esteem and the newer generation of rappers (besides Big K.R.I.T. who does appear on the project) have seemed to deny his existence/relevance. But I think he’s fine with that as long as the fans know where he stands [he says Top Five!]… and more importantly, as long as these movie checks keep coming in.
You can file Ludaversal under albums that I never expected to see the light of day. I especially didn’t expect it to be released via Def Jam after hearing Ludacris talk about it for at least 5 years. But now that it’s out, it’s as good as he advertised it to be. Hopefully we don’t have to wait as long for another Ludacris album.