Review : Ludacris - Theater Of The Mind
BostonWhen folks consider the best MCs, Ludacris usually isn't in the mix, but Chris Bridges has been one of the most prolific and consistent rappers of our era and deserves to be on the tip of tongues. He overreaches thematically on this disc, as he conceives it as a cinematic piece with dramatic production on some tracks ("Southern Gangsta") and narration from film stars (Ving Rhames) and Chris Rock on the hilariously titled and executed "Everybody Hates Chris" (with a chorus that will be a raucous live-set piece). Even Spike Lee appears to show he got game. All this would be distracting if the 14 tracks weren't so darn good. Luda's lyrics are so sharp and supremely witty throughout. No one provides more quotable lines and pungent punch lines. His sex talk is good-natured and slyly insightful about love ("What Them Girls Like"), but he will always have love for the freak ("Nasty Girl" with his best unprintable metaphors). Many of the guests just pick up paychecks, but some - including Lil Wayne and Common - come up in big ways. When Luda says in "I Do It for Hip-Hop," a collaboration with Nas and Jay-Z, despite his smirking persona, you believe him. That's the ultimate compliment. (Out today)...full text
EwConsummate rapper-actor that he is, Ludacris is calling his latest project a Theater of the Mind and billing his guest vocalists as ''co-stars.'' Of course, Luda himself is still cast in his signature role, the same affably ribald player with the unflappable flow whom audiences will recall from five previous features. What with all the A-listers who roll through — T.I.! Jay-Z! Ving Rhames? — Theater feels a bit like yet another Ocean's Eleven sequel. We've watched this movie more than a few times, but it's always fun to see this many talented pals cutting loose together. B...full text
RollingstonesThough he's acting more than rapping, Luda wants to prove Hollywood hasn't softened his skills. Amid booming tracks from producers like Scott Storch, he boasts, "I'm still the champion of the South," which is probably news to T.I. But if the cred-grabbing lyrics feel rote alongside guests like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, Luda's thundering cadence and pop-wise club jams are strong on "One More Drink," where he raps that Hennessy plus Buddha "equals you mixed with ... Luda." Dude's still a fine horn-dog comedian....full text
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