It's been five years since Ludacris released a full-length album. Since that 7th album, 2010's Battle of the Sexes, he only released an EP titled Burning Bridges last year. According to Luda, he's been taking some time to enjoy the fruits of labor, travel the world, and film the last two movies of the Fast & Furious franchise. Now he's back with Ludaversal, his most personal album to date.
The recording process started in 2011. In the following year, the Disturbing tha Peace boss announced that the album would be released on September 11th, 2012, which is his birthday. It was initially pushed back for an early 2013 release but the fans had to wait another 2 years to hear the finished project. This is the second to last album he owes on his contract to Def Jam Records.
In an interview with HipHollywood, Luda explained the title of this album. He stated, "I definitely talk about family a lot and life experiences, that's why it's called Ludaversal - it's like inviting everybody to my world."
Luda spoke about the album's introspection in an interview with Power 105.1's The Cruz Show, "This is my most personal album to date. I never really get personal on albums, I'm talking about my father who passed away, I talk about different issues that I've gone through."
Most of his fans have been yearning for the old Ludacris. The A-Town rapper claimed that this album gives the fans a merge between the old and new Ludacris. The cover of the album reflects that claim and also defines the testament of what the album is all about. The cover art features his first car, an Acura Legend, and his own private jet to show how far he has come. He still drives that car to this day which shows his humility.
The first single for the album was "Good Lovin" featuring Miguel. It was featured on the Burning Bridges EP and was released in December of last year. The second single was an ode to classic, luxury cars titled "Come And See Me," which features fellow southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. "Call Ya Bluff" and "Beast Mode" were released as pre-order tracks from the album. The visuals for "Beast Mode" featured the Seattle Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch.
The production of the album was handled by an array of different producers. Just Blaze, Mike WiLL Made It, David Banner, !llmind, 1500 or Nothin', DJ Toomp, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, and other beat-makers have contributed their distinctive styles to give the album that modern southern sound.
Ludaversal draws strong comparisons to his fifth album Release Therapy in regards to its personal nature. He took a more serious approach to the Grammy-awarded winning album. Release Therapy features conceptual songs such as "Runaway Love," "War With God," "Freedom of Preach," and "Tell It Like It Is." However, the album still featured commercial songs, while Ludaversal dives a bit deeper into his soul as he shies away from his comedic nature and gives his fans a mature Ludacris.
The album's intro is reminiscent of the "Southern Fried Intro" for his third album Chicken-n-Beer in which he delivers boastful, punch-line filled, rapid-fire lyrics. Maybe Luda doesn't get enough respect as one of the fastest rappers in hip hop. He is currently hosting a "Ludaversal Intro" rap contest in which his fans must upload a video of themselves accurately rapping the intro. The winner gets a special gift from the rapper.
Songs such as "Grass Is Always Greener," "Good Lovin," "This Has Been My World," "Charge It To The Rap Game," "Lyrical Healing," and the emotional "Ocean Skies" show us that Luda has grown in his music. He indulges in topics such as failed relationships, the stress of the music industry, his long load to success, and the passing of his father Wayne Bridges.
"Ocean Skies," which features ATL-born R&B singer Monica, is the deepest song on the album as Ludacris speaks about his father's long battle with alcoholism. The track initially featured Anita Baker. "Ocean Skies" was briefly previewed in his Behind The Music segment in 2013. The beginning of the song features an audio clip of the 2007 Grammy Awards in which Kanye West announced Ludacris as the winner of the Best Rap Album for Release Therapy. He dedicated the award to his father who passed shortly after the ceremony. He rapped in the first verse:
Look, I lost my father to the bottle
I'd hug him everyday like I might not see him tomorrow
Got a enough sorrow for a lifetime
Cause when he was living I'm thinking how do I get him to listen
When he was seldom in his right mind
All you day one Ludacris fans should be impressed with this body of work. Even though he's strayed from his comedic and raunchy style, his growth, lyricism, and subject matter is strong enough to keep his longtime fans as well as obtain some new ones. With a 15-year career in the rap game, his longevity is not at all in question. His witty, unpredictable, humerous, quick-paced flow is undeniable and has made him a staple figure in Southern hip hop.
For more music, news, videos, and tour dates from Ludacris, visit his Zumic artist page.