Ludacris Biography

Christopher Brian Bridges Biography on Monsters and Critics

Summary

"Christopher Brian Bridges" (born September 11 1977), better known by his stage name "Ludacris", is an American rapper and actor. He is the co-founder, along with his manager, Chaka Zulu, of Disturbing tha Peace, an imprint distributed by Def Jam Recordings. Ludacris is tied with Nelly for the title of the hip-hop solo artist with the second most "Billboard" Hot 100 number-one hits (four each). He has sold more than thirteen million records in the U.S. alone. He is also the rapper with the most Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 Hits of all time

Early in his elementary years his family lived in Champaign, Illinois. He attended Emerson Middle School and eventually Oak Park and River Forest High School for his freshman year. His family then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Banneker High School. His father exposed him to a wide range of music in his earlier years. He is also a graduate of Georgia State University.

Early life

Ludacris was born "Christopher Brian Bridges" in Illinois, the son of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges. His family moved to live in Atlanta, Georgia during his adolescence, and in this time his father exposed him to all kinds of music ranging from Hip Hop to Rock. At nine years old, he started rapping, soon being influenced to pursue his own career as a rap musician.

Music career

Early career

Ludacris first revealed his personality to local media as the radio DJ Chris Lova Lova at Hot 97.5 (which later became Hot 107.9), an urban radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. He based his name on the word 'ludicrous' which means foolish or unreasonable. Ludacris had his opportunity to gain commercial exposure when hip hop producer/rapper Timbaland heard him on Atlanta radio. Timbaland contacted and offered Ludacris to work with him at the radio station. Timbaland then produced a beat for Ludacris in the radio station. The two worked together and made Ludacris' recorded debut on 'Phat Rabbit', a track from Timbaland's 1998 album Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment. He currently owns a house in Centerville, Virginia where his mother lives and he visits regularly along with a house in LA, California and his permanent resident in Atlanta, Georgia.

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 his car. Through Scarface, Def Jam Records signed Ludacris in 2000, and created a new imprint, Def Jam South, around him. Def Jam then re-released a newer version of Incognegro, titled 'Back for the First Time'. The album launched Ludacris' career as a Southern rapper. Ludacris had more of a comedic rapping style earlier in his career also.

Back for the First Time

Ludacris released his major label debut, "Back for the First Time," in November 2000. This album, which was actually a modified re-release of the album "Incognegro", was produced with the help of the underground producer Sessy Melia, whom he also dated for a short while. The album reached as high as #4 on the charts, and was a major success. Ludacris made his mark on the industry with singles such as 'Southern Hospitality' and 'What's Your Fantasy,' which was heavily inspired by rapper Too $hort, along with his first ever single 'Phat Rabbit', from two years prior. Guest appearances included I-20, Lil Fate, Shawnna, Pastor Troy, Timbaland, Trina, Foxy Brown, UGK, and others.

Word of Mouf

Ludacris promptly completed his next album, "Word of Mouf" and released it at the end of 2001. The video for the lead single, 'Rollout (My Business)' was nominated for a 2002 VMA, and Ludacris performed it live at the awards' pre-show. He also released singles 'Saturday (Oooh Oooh)' with Sleepy Brown, 'Move Bitch' with Mystikal & I-20, & 'Area Codes' with Nate Dogg. "Word of Mouf" became Ludacris' best selling album to date. Guest appearances included Nate Dogg, Mystikal, I-20, Shawnna, Lil Fate, Three 6 Mafia, Twista, & Jagged Edge

Chicken-N-Beer

During the spring of 2003, Ludacris returned to the music scene after a brief hiatus with a new single, 'Act A Fool,' from the "2 Fast 2 Furious" soundtrack. At around the same time, he released the lead single from his upcoming album, "Chicken-N-Beer", called 'P-Poppin' (short for 'Pussy Poppin"). Neither of his new singles were 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-N-Beer" opened strongly, but without a popular single, the album fell quickly. Guest appearances include Playaz Circle, Chingy, Snoop Dogg, Eightball & MJG, Lil' Flip, I-20, Lil Fate, & Shawnna.

"Stand Up"

In the fall of 2003, Ludacris rebounded with his next single, 'Stand Up', which appeared on both "Chicken-N-Beer" as well as the soundtrack for the teen hip-hop/dance movie, "Honey". Produced by Kanye West, 'Stand Up' went on to become one of Ludacris' biggest mainstream hits to date, hitting the top spot on the "Billboard Hot 100" garnering heavy airplay on mainstream pop, rhythmic, and urban radio stations, as well as on MTV, MTV2, and BET. Ludacris was sued by a New Jersey group called I.O.F. who claimed that 'Stand Up' used a hook from one of their songs, but in June of 2006, a jury found that the song did not violate copyrights. 'I hope the plaintiffs enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame,' Ludacris said after the verdict.

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. It was Ludacris' most sexual video yet and an R&B remix that featured Raphael Saadiq and sampled Tony! Toni! Tone!'s 'Whatever You Want'. Ludacris also received his first Grammy Award with Usher and Lil Jon for their hit single 'Yeah'. Ludacris next released 'Blow It Out', a gritty song with an urban, low-budget music video. A departure from the R&B leanings of 'Splash Waterfalls', 'Blow It Out' acted both as a response to the criticism levied by Bill O'Reilly and an attack on Pepsi's role in the affair.

The Red Light District

The fourth studio album from Ludacris. Although not 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 on the opening track. Ludacris filmed and recorded the single 'Get Back' in he which was featured as a muscle-bound hulk who was being annoyed by the media and warned critics to leave him alone. He first appeared on the long-running sketch show "Saturday Night Live" as a special guest performing with musical guest Sum 41 on a season 30 episode hosted by Paul Giamatti. He then rerecorded Get Back with Sum 41 to make a rock crossover single. The follow-up single was the Austin Powers-inspired 'The Number One Spot'. It was produced by New York City's 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 O'Reilly's problems with Andrea Mackris ("Hi Mr. O'Reilly / Hope all is well kiss the plaintiff and the wifey"). Production credits come also from veteran producers Timbaland, Lil' Jon, The Medicine Men. Featured artists on the album include Nas, DJ Quik, DMX, Trick Daddy, Sleepy Brown, and Disturbing tha Peace newcomers Bobby Valentino (of Mista fame) and Dolla Boi and Small World. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.

After the success of The Red Light District, Ludacris then used his opportunity to start his own foundation. The Ludacris Foundation, started by Ludacris and Chaka Zulu, is an organization that helps young middle and high school students motivate themselves in creative arts.

Release Therapy

In an issue of XXL, a hip-hop based magazine, Ludacris was placed in the number nine spot for the most anticipated albums of 2006, for "Release Therapy". The album "Release Therapy" was released on September 26, 2006. Ludacris formatted the CD to have two sides: a "Release" side and a "Therapy" side on one CD. With the "Release" side having songs that allow him to get everything off his chest and the "Therapy" side being just feel-good music, on the flip side it's extremely dark in mood. Guest appearances include Pharrell, R. Kelly, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Field Mob, Bobby Valentino, Pimp C, C-Murder, & Beanie Sigel. The first single, 'Money Maker', which features Pharrell, was released to U.S. radio outlets on July 17, 2006. 'Money Maker' reached number one on the BET 106 & Park. It then went to become Ludacris' second number one single after 6 years. His second single, 'Runaway Love', soon peaked at number one on the U.S. Rap Billboard and won Best Collaboration in the 2007 BET Awards. His album then reached number one on the Billboard 200 album charts with sales of more than 300,000 in its first week. This album as well as the lead single 'Money Maker' were also awarded Rap Album of the year and song, respectively during the 2007 Grammy Awards. With the release of this album, Ludacris marked a change in style in his career with his musical style. The new album itself features a departure of the light-hearted mood of previous Ludacris's albums, and introduces a darker image of Ludacris's music. A change of hair accompanied this as he cut off his trademark braids for a more conventional 'fade' cut. This was done to project a new image for the album.

To promote the album, Ludacris returned to "Saturday Night Live" (as both host and musical guest) on November 18, 2006.

Other work

On July 7, 2007, Ludacris performed at the American leg of Live Earth. Ludacris made a verse for 50 Cent's 'I Get Money' remix. He also appeared on the four hundredth episode of "The Simpsons", 'You Kent Always Say What You Want'. Ludacris has also recorded a verse for DJ Khaled's 'I'm So Hood Remix.'

Disputes

Bill O'Reilly

Furthering the Pepsi controversy, in response to the signing of the Osbourne family, popular hip-hop music mogul Russell Simmons organized a boycott against the company. Simmons demanded an apology from Pepsi to Ludacris and a 5 million dollar donation to one of Ludacris' charities. Eventually Simmons and Pepsi settled on an agreement to stop the boycott, right before it was to officially begin. While Pepsi did not formally apologize to Ludacris, they did agree to donate millions of dollars over several years to Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Ludacris' song 'Blow It Out' (from the Chicken & Beer album) acted as a scathing response to his critics, namely Bill O'Reilly.

In another song, 'Hoes in My Room', he tells a story about anonymous prostitutes being left in his room, and at the end of the last verse says:

Then, in 2004, in 'Number 1 Spot'

When Ludacris hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 2006, a sketch involved O'Reilly telling a Def Jam executive that he will boycott Def Jam if Ludacris isn't fired. O'Reilly, played by Darrell Hammond, says that although his boycotts have had the opposite effect of his intention, Def Jam's sales will decrease dramatically.

Upon winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album on February 11 2007, Ludacris included in his thank-yous a 'special shout-out to Bill O'Reilly'.

The following day Bill O'Reilly responded on his show with a less than enthusiastic response. He soon began criticizing Ludacris' Grammy win.

Oprah Winfrey

In a 2006 interview with "GQ" magazine, Ludacris criticized Oprah Winfrey about his appearance on her show with the cast of the film "Crash". During the interview, the conversation veered from the movie and Winfrey chose to speak on Ludacris' lyrical content, which he felt was unfair as he was visiting her show in the capacity of an actor and not a rapper. Also, Ludacris was upset that some of his responses were later edited from the show's airing. He was later joined by other rappers such as 50 Cent, Ice Cube and Killer Mike who argued that Winfrey has an anti-hip hop bias.

Winfrey responded by saying that she's opposed to rap lyrics that 'marginalize women,' but enjoys some artists, including Jay-Z and Kanye West, who appeared on her show. She said she spoke with Ludacris backstage after his appearance to explain her position and said she understood that his music was for entertainment purposes, but that some of his listeners might take it literally. Ludacris later said the media had blown his comments out of proportion and said he respects Winfrey and considers her 'a great individual'. At the 2007 Grammy awards, Ludacris gave a special shout-out to Oprah Winfrey and on 'Freedom of Preach' a song on 'Release Therapy' he said 'Forgive Oprah for editing most my comments out of her show'.

T.I.

In 2004, before releasing his debut album' Red Light District' Young Buck released "Straight Outta Ca$hville", a Nashville native would enlist the services of fellow Atlanta M.C. T.I., also known as T.I.P. in his native Bankhead neighborhood of west side Atlanta. They would create a track entitled 'Stomp' amid growing tension between Buck's good friend Ludacris and T.I. On the track, T.I. takes subliminal shots at Ludacris including the line 'me gettin' beat down, that's ludicrous.' Buck, immediately sensing the tension, decided before releasing the track to notify Ludacris that T.I. had mentioned him since he didn't want to position himself as encouraging T.I.'s actions. Ludacris heard the track and asked Buck if he could add his own verse; to which Buck agreed. The results end up being costly for T.I., as he is berated throughout Ludacris' verse and called out by name in his last line. Representatives from T.I. notified Buck that T.I.'s vocals would not be cleared for the album unless T.I. is allowed to change his verse, and also have Ludacris change his. Buck refused this offer and T.I. prohibited his vocals from being used. Buck had Hypeman and fellow rapper D-Tay replace T.I. on the song; D-Tay himself was eventually replaced by Compton rapper The Game on the official release.

In 2006, however, T.I. would release his highly anticipated fourth solo album entitled "KING". In his Just Blaze produced track titled 'I'm Talkin To You,' T.I. lyrically attacks one or more unknown targets who have widely been speculated to be either New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne, or Houston rapper Lil' Flip (whom T.I. also had 'beef' with but has since ended their animosity behind closed doors) or a combination of all three. It is still unknown whether or not T.I. was in fact battling Ludacris again or anyone else for that matter at all. A closer listen to the song, however proves that T.I. isn't dissing Ludacris. In one of T.I.s lines he quotes 'had it out with 'Cris, but he still my nigga...sat down civilized talked about it like niggas', alluding to the sit down that he and Ludacris had to end their dispute. As a matter of fact during the taping of MTV's My Block 'Atlanta', T.I. and Ludacris are shown greeting each other respectfully. Also, one of Ludacris' songs, 'Georgia', appears in T.I.'s movie ATL.

Ludacris won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2007, beating T.I's "King" album. To this T.I. has stated 'I had the album of the year whether I won a grammy for it or not. I think numbers show that. I think that if you go out to anybody on the streets and ask them, they'll tell you.

'I think that it's a no-brainer. You ask him (Ludacris), he'll probably tell you the same thing. Come on, man, who in hip-hop doesn't know that?

'If you a supporter of hip-hop, who doesn't know that King is the only platinum album that dropped last year... that was platinum by the time the new-year's bell rung? At 12:01, January 1, 2007, who had the hottest album of the year? I think it's unanimous.'

T.I. further expressed his feelings on this matter his song 'You Know What It Is', featuring Wyclef Jean, which is the second single off of his album "T.I. vs T.I.P.": 'The women sweatin' when they see me, I'm apparently hot; had the album of the year nigga, Grammy or not.' On a remix to 50 Cent's 'I Get Money', Ludacris raps 'Let's get one thing clear, the South's right here; still got the Grammy for the album of the year!'

Also, it has been reported that there was an altercation between T.I. and Ludacris' manager, Chaka Zulu, at the Make It Happen Visionary Leadership Awards Brunch on June 24, 2007. T.I. has since apologized at the 2007 BET Awards during his thank you speech after winning the best hip-hop artist of the year. Ludacris responded to T.I's apology and comments on his grammy loss in a verse over 50 Cents 'I Get Money' beat.

Others

In July 2006, a track entitled 'War with God' would see Ludacris, Big D, Hassle, F.P.S return after some time off in movies. In the track, Ludacris goes on the offensive against an unknown rapper who has sold drugs, and makes repeated references to shooting guns in his songs, isn't as rich as he (Ludacris) and likes to give himself titles - all very well known characteristics and facts directly relating to T.I and Chingy (or countless other less popular rappers) or the new coming rappers Yung Joc and Young Dro. In this instance it is unknown whether or not Ludacris is indeed aiming his offences at Chingy, T.I. or if the track is even a song recorded recently. Ludacris recently stated that the song was deeper than just an offence, and the song is more about him than anyone else, it's showing that he isn't just the 'cartoon entertainer' type rapper that he has always been portrayed as, when asked about who specific rhymes were aimed at he said 'The guilty will speak'. The track was confirmed as a selection from Ludacris' album "Release Therapy".

It is believed that he's referencing the song 'The Mobb' by Lil' Wayne. He also mentions Tha Carter III and the label disputes that he and other former Cash Money Records artists had involving royalty money. He also mentions that his resume isn't limited to mixtapes.

'War with God' uses a beat written by Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry. He states his relationship with Chingy in his song 'Tell It Like it Is'.

In SOHH.com's pre-VMA Interview, Ludacris responded to an interview question, 'Man we heard, 'War With God' and when we heard it, (they said that you said) it was about you'. Ludacris replied, 'Man, somebody misquoted me talking about...they misquoted me saying it was about me. What I was telling them was that I devote a lot of information about myself, and I think they're taking that in. I'm not battling myself on the record, that's ridiculous. What happens is you got a lot of people taking subliminal shots, but nobody ever says my name. I'm not for sure, so that record is like my way of taking subliminal shots right back. Don't get it misquoted, don't get it messed up. That's basically what it is man. It's like, you know, like I said I do devote a lot of information about myself on there. I started to wreck it up by saying I'm the best, and there's nothing you could do about it. (They say) I've never done this I've never done that, so you know when you look into it, it's a lot more records where it comes from on the album, September 26, Release Therapy, where it's the most personal album I've done. It's nothing but honesty so you can criticize it all you want to but at the end of the day you got to respect it cause I'm coming straight from the heart. I'm just telling the truth, and that's all you gotta know.'

In September 2007, Ludacris was scheduled to appear in concert at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in West Springfield, Massachusetts. However, many involved with the Big E expressed concerns about how family oriented Ludacris' concert would be. His concert ended up not selling enough tickets anyway and he will not perform at the Big E.

Discography

2000: "Incognegro" (300,000 Units)

2000: "Back for the First Time" (3xPlatinum)

2001: "Word of Mouf" (3xPlatinum)

2003: "Chicken and Beer" (2xPlatinum)

2004: "The Red Light District" (2xPlatinum)

2006: "Release Therapy" (1x platinum)

2008: "Theater of the Mind"

Filmography

2001: "The Wash"

2003: "2 Fast 2 Furious"

2003: "Lil' Pimp"

2004: "Eve (TV series)" (Cab Driver)

2005: "Crash"

2005: "Hustle & Flow"

2006: "The Heart of the Game" (Narrator)

2006: "Law and Order: SVU" (Darius Parker)

2007: "Law and Order: SVU" (Darius Parker)

2007: "The Simpsons" (Ludacrest)

2007: "Fred Claus"

2008: "Ballers"

2008: "Balfield mobs"

2008: "RocknRolla"

2008: "Luda Camp"

2009: "Courtney and Me"

External links

(Official website)

(Disturbing tha Peace Records) Recording Label

(The Ludacris Foundation)

(Ludacris) at MySpace

(Ludacris News)

(Ludacris Fansite)

(Ludacris' Profile on VH1)

(CNN interview with Ludacris)

(Live Earth Performance Footage)

(Ludacris Fan Site)

Credit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Ludacris.