Christopher Brian Bridges (born September 11, 1977 in Champaign, Illinois), better known by his stage name Ludacris, is a Grammy award winning American rapper, SAG award winning actor and co-founder of the label Disturbing Tha Peace. He is the highest selling Southern hip hop solo artist of all time with over 15 million units sold in the United States and around 20 million records sold worldwide. He released his debut album Incognegro in 1999 and has since released a further seven albums. His ninth studio album, Ludaversal, will be released sometime in 2012.
Bridges began his music career as a radio personality and DJ as Chris Lova Lova on Hot 97, an urban radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. He made his recorded debut on "Phat Rabbit," a track from Timbaland's 1998 album Tim's Bio: Life from the Basement. Although both Timbaland and Jermaine Dupri showed interest in signing Ludacris, he decided to release the album "Incognegro" independently in 1999. The album sold over 50,000 copies through the Atlanta based independent music distributor, Southern Music Distribution. The same year, he recorded the theme to the video game Madden NFL 2000. Scarface, an original member of the Geto Boys, signed Ludacris in 2000 to Def Jam Recordings, and created a new imprint, Def Jam South, around him.
Back for the First Time
Ludacris released his major label debut, Back for the First Time, in October 2000. 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", along with his first ever single "Phat Rabbit", from 2 years prior. Back for the First Time was the beginning of Ludacris's explosion to the top of the rap world.
Word of Mouf
Ludacris promptly completed his next album, Word Of Mouf and released it at the end of 2001. Its lead single, "Rollout (My Business)" was boycotted in many American video stations. Despite the controversy, the video was nominated for a 2003 VMA, and Luda performed it live at the awards' pre-show. Ludacris also toured with Papa Roach in 2002 after the release of their sophomore album lovehatetragedy. Ludacris reached a new level of notoriety when TV's Bill O'Reilly expressed outrage that Pepsi had hired Ludacris as a spokesman. O'Reilly repeatedly attacked Ludacris's foul language and called for a nation-wide boycott of Pepsi, who then fired Ludacris and hired Ozzy Osbourne's family instead.
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 & 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 & Beer opened strongly, but without a popular single, the album fell quickly.
However, in the fall of 2003, Ludacris rebounded with his next single, "Stand Up", which appeared on both Chicken & Beer as well as the soundtrack for the teen hip-hop/dance movie, Honey. Produced by Kanye West, "Stand Up" went on to become Ludacris' biggest mainstream hit to date, hitting the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnering heavy airplay on mainstream pop, rhythmic, and urban radio stations, as well as on MTV, MTV2, and BET.
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". Luda next released "Blow It Out", a gritty song that had a heavily low-budget, gritty, and urban-looking music video, which was a huge departure from the colorful, sensual, R&B leanings depicted in "Splash Waterfalls". "Blow It Out" acted both as a scathing response to the aforementioned criticism levied by Bill O'Reilly and an expression of disgust at Pepsi's cowardice in the affair:
Shout out to Bill O'Reilly, I'm'a throw you a curve
You mad cause I'm a thief and got away with words
I'm'a start my own beverage, it'll calm your nerves
Pepsi's the New Generation?—Blow it out cha ass!
* On 1 June 2006, a federal jury found that "Stand Up" did not infringe on the copyright of a song called "Straight Like That" by a New Jersey group known as I.O.F. "I hope the plaintiffs enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame," Ludacris said after the verdict. "This whole experience is proof to me of why I will always fight for what I believe in."
The Red Light District
The fourth studio album from Ludacris. Although 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. Ludacris had recently filmed and recorded the single "Get Back" in which he was featured a muscle-bounded hulk who was being annoyed by the media and warned his critics to leave him alone. He also was featured on Saturday Night Live playing his song Get Back with Sum 41. 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 and legendary rapper Doug E. Fresh. Featured artists on the album include Nas, DJ Quik, DMX, Trick Daddy, 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. And most recently the rapper had 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. Ludacris also has a daughter by the name of Karma. Ludacris had also participated at the Super Bowl and is the spokesman for the Boost Mobile Phone ad-campaign. Ludacris also received his first Grammy Award with Usher and Lil Jon for their hit single "Yeah"
In a recent 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 is going to format the cd to have two sides, a Release side and a Therapy side. With the Release side having songs that allow him to get everything off his chest and the Therapy side being just feel-good music. A song titled "War With God" is one of the confirmed tracks from the upcoming album. The first single, "Money Maker", which features Pharrell, was released to U.S. radio outlets on July 17. Others songs will be : "Tell It Like It Is" (Produced by Elaborate Musik Workshop), "Runaway Love" (Feat. Mary J. Blige) and Woozy (Feat. R. Kelly) "Money Maker" reached number one on the BET 106 & Park Countdown for the first time on September 15, 2006. The album recently reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts with sales of more than 300,000 in its first week.
To promote the album, Ludacris will be hosting and performing on Saturday Night Live 18 November. Ludacris is the second and only rapper to host and perform on the same episode (MC Hammer hosted and performed in 1991, on different episodes ).
Theater of the Mind
Ludacris's 6th album, Theater of the Mind was released on November 24, 2008 it includes the singles "What them Girls Like" Co-Starring Chris Brown and Sean Garrett , "One More Drink" Co-Starring T-Pain, and "Nasty Girl" Co-Starring Piles. The New album peaked at 1 on U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums and peaked at 5 on U.S. Billboard 200.
Ludacris has been acting in film since The Wash in 2001, but his big break came in 2005, where he received critical praise for his roles in the Oscar-winning films Hustle & Flow and Crash. Crash includes an ironic sequence where Ludacris's character is dismissive of hip-hop music. Interestingly, in both films, he is physically beaten by characters played by Terrence Howard. He is occasionally credited as "Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges".
On January 29, 2006 he was awarded with a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture for his work in the film Crash. Ludacris also starred in 2 Fast 2 Furious.Ludacris narrated the 2006 Ward Serrill basketball documentary "Heart of the Game." Ludacris recently cut his trademark braids off to project a new image for his upcoming album, Release Therapy.
He recently appeared in the 28 March 2006 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Ludacris portrayed Darius Randall, the nephew of Detective Fin Tutuola, portrayed by Ice T.
Furthering the controversy, in response to the signing of the Osbourne family, popular music hip-hop 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 years to Russel Simmon Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.
Ludacris' song "Blow It Out" (from the Chicken & Beer album), acted as a scathing response to his critics, namely 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 he says:
Then it got to my head and Somethin' remind me
I know who let 'em in, it was Bill O'Reilly.
Then, in 2004, in "Number 1 Spot"
Respected highly, Hi Mr. O'Reilly.
Hope all is well, kiss the plaintiff and the wifey.
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 had an anti-hip hop bias.
Winfrey responded by saying that she's opposed to rap lyrics that "marginalize women," but enjoys some artists, including 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."
In 2004, before the release of his debut album Straight Outta Ca$hville, Nashville, Tennessee native and G-Unit member Young Buck would enlist the services of fellow Atlanta emcee T.I., also known as T.I.P. in his native Bankhead neighborhood of westside 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 hears the track and asks Buck if he can add his own verse to which Buck agrees. 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. notify Buck that T.I.'s vocals will not be cleared for the album unless T.I. is allowed to change his verse, and also have Ludacris change his. Buck refuses this offer and T.I. prohibits his vocals from being used. Buck has hypeman and fellow rapper D-Tay replace T.I. on the song and D-Tay himself is eventually replaced by The Game on the official release.
Although T.I. was removed, the street cut featuring him and Ludacris had already been leaked to DJs in Atlanta and New York. T.I. was unable to stop the track's distribution throughout the streets of the nation at this point. It is widely accepted that T.I. "lost" this battle with Ludacris easily being the victor. The beef between Ludacris and T.I. was then put to an end behind closed doors as T.I. said that the problems between them have ceased.
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 Ludacris, New Orleans emcee 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. isnt 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 beef. As a matter of fact during the taping of MTV's My Block 'Atlanta', T.I. and Ludacris are shown greeting each other respectfully.
In July of 2006, a track entitled "War with God" would see Ludacris 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 Young Jeezy (or countless other less popular rappers) or the newcoming rappers Yung Joc and Young Dro. In this instance it also unknown whether or not Ludacris is indeed aiming his disses at Young Jeezy, T.I. or if the track is even a song recorded recently. Ludacris recently stated that the song was deeper than just a diss, 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 has been confirmed to be a selection from Ludacris' upcoming album Release Therapy this September. The song is not aimed at Young Jeezy as he features on the latest album. "War with God" uses a beat written by Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry. Hardship took over ludacris and he was under alot of stress by the end of that album.