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Greatest Southern Artists of all Time


Words Jessica Koslow / Photo Julia Beverly



Ludacris f/ Shawnna “What’s Your Fantasy” Incognegro 2000 This humorous fuckfest with labelmate Shawnna helped earn Luda his Def Jam deal. Ludacris f/ Pharrell “Southern Hospitality” Back For the First Time 2000 Luda turned “throw dem bows” into a catchphrase with this club favorite. Ludacris f/ Nate Dogg “Area Codes” Word of Mouf 2001 Along with hip-hop’s favorite hooker Nate Dogg, Ludacris’ catchy wordplay had everyone singing along with their ode to “hoes in different area codes.” Nas f/ Ludacris & Jadakiss “Made U Look (remix)” God’s Son 2002 Luda’s verse on Nas’ remix remains one of his best with classic punchlines like “You never stood half a chance like Siamese Twins,” and “It’s ‘Cris the menace / With mo’ shit out on the streets than evicted tenants.” Ludacris “Stand Up” Chicken & Beer 2003 Luda’s couplet is as hilarious as the video: “Watch out for my medallion, my dia-


hristopher Bridges was born on September 11th. What was once a historic day for hip-hip is now a disastrous date etched in the memory of mankind. Yet Ludacris has a history of turning tragedy into triumph. For example, think of his Bill O’Reilly/Pepsi endorsement deal debacle. In the end, who was acting a fool?

careers of Chingy and DTP members Shawnna and I-20.

Not only is Luda one of the hottest mouths of the South, but it could be argued that he’s one of the greatest MCs to ever touch the mic. It’s not because he breaks new lyrical ground, or touches topics deeper than your average MC. It’s that Ludacris says the same ol’ thing with his own clever twist.

Four albums in the can and I’m still in the game (What up?) And last album, they don’t like me to tell this Debuted at #1 and sold more records than Elvis (Shut up!) Still you lookin’ at a man that’s financially stable Only nigga gettin’ checks cut from four different labels I’m over ten million sold, every album is crack And for now I’m ‘bout to carry Def Jam on my back

Hear how Luda spins the ordinary: “Our bullets give you a deep tissue massage.” He’s also known for poking fun at everyone from Chi-Ali (“I’m young, wild, and strapped like Chi-Ali”) to white women (“I’m the new phenomenon like white women with ass”). Many can relate when he spoofs John Witherspoon’s “cooooordinate” or references pop culture (“I’ve been saved by mo’ bells than Lark Voorhies”). It’s not just his lyrics. It’s his hypnotic, rhythmic, in-your-face delivery that marks Luda as a master MC. Plus - and I’m speaking to the ladies now - his voice is straight sexy. Luda started as a radio DJ in Atlanta, known as Chris Luva Luva. His is the story of a rookie who studied the rap game extensively before entering the ring. This is not the tale of a gangsta who, two years ago, wen tout and bought every classic ever recorded, listened to them thoroughly, and became an overnight hip-hop pop sensation. Luda’s story began with hard work and dedication, and is powered by persistence. Since Scarface handpicked Luda as the first artist on Def Jam South in 2000, Luda has executive-produced his four solo multiplatinum albums. His Disturbing Tha Peace label, which was responsible for selling 61,000 copies of his first indie CD Incognegro, has launched the

These days, success is measured in units sold and Billboard spots held. Ludacris sells units and holds spots on the Billboard charts, and brags about it on the intro to his album Red Light District:

Luda is not only a pro at making hits for himself (“What’s Your Fantasy?”, “Southern Hospitality,” “Area Codes,” “Move Bitch,” “Stand Up,” “Get Back,” “Number One Spot”) but his 16s push other artists’ songs up the charts. Just ask Missy Elliott (“One Minute Man”), Jermaine Dupri (“Welcome to Atlanta”), and Usher (“Yeah!”), just to name a few. Luda has the Midas tongue. His joints light up the club, compliment car cruising, and most importantly, guarantee a smile on your face. In addition to Luda the hitmaker, record breaker, and hip-hopreneur, he’s also creeping on the silver screen. He starred in 2 Fast 2 Furious, had a cameo in Honey, and has two movies scheduled to be released in 2005. Luda knows how to diversify. He is one of the faces of Boost Mobile and once endorsed Pepsi. Along with his label co-owners and management team of brothers Chaka Zulu and Jeff Dixon, we can only expect more big money moves from Luda and DTP in the future. Luda’s two most recent videos only reinforced his rank as one of rap’s most creative artists. With “Number One Spot/Potion,” Chris gives Austin Powers a Ludacris makeover. He even

enlisted the movie’s mini-me actor Verne Troyer and legends Slick Rick and Quincy Jones, who produced “Soul Bossa Nova,” the sample in Powers’ theme song. Not too many rappers can claim a Quincy Jones cosign. Jones has often been heard proclaiming, “I’m a big fan of Ludacris.” The way Luda uses Austin Powers imagery throughout “Number One Spot,” from his most recent album Red Light District, is pure genius: Causin’ lyrical disasters, it’s the master Make music for mini-me’s, models and fat bastards Stay on the track, hit the ground runnin’ like Flo Jo Sent back in time and I’ve never lost my mojo While Lil Fip and T.I. battle for the King of the South title, Ludacris prefers the title “King of the Kings.” He’s not looking to dominate just below the Mason-Dixon. Christopher Bridges considers himself an international P.I.M.P., rhyming, “Please tell your bitch, stop playing with my zipper / Or I’ll brrrr, stick her, hahaha stick her!” He’s looking beyond his backyard. That’s what makes Ludacris one of the best. While broadcasting on the Atlanta airwaves, he saw the big picture way before anyone else. He was at the forefront of the Southern explosion, and will remain at the top of the rap heap even if the fire ever fades. Ludacris appeals to everyone on every coast. As he so eloquently puts it on Red Light District’s “Large Amounts”: So if I choose before I’m 30 I can lay in the sun My dividends can show and prove the real meaning of fun That’s why I live by the sword but you can die by my gun The IRS will never sweat me or even put up a fight Cause I’m sure I pay more in taxes than you made in your life OZONE APR 2005


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