Ludaversal has dropped y’all.
Fresh off the Roast of Justin Bieber, Ludacris is back with some new music. It’s his first album in 5 years, if you can believe that. I mean of course dude has been doing his acting shit, so it’s not like he’s been chilling or anything, but it’ll be interesting to see what he’s got after 5 years away from hip hop. Read on for the Ludaversal review.
After a few years of doing movies and shit that isn’t rapping, Luda is back with a full album with only a few features, so he’s not just mailing this one in. The beats are pretty solid but not incredible, and Luda goes hard most of the time and lays down some emotional shit the rest of the time. He can definitely still rap, and folks will be happy to hear that he’s still got it, and Ludaversal is definitely a good album to kick it to in the background. Even though he won’t win a Grammy or anything, dude’s showing he can still release some dope hip hop, and even throw in some more personal shit along the way.
For the general solidness of this album and Luda’s still-dope verses, I give Ludaversal a:
The album starts with a David Banner shoutout and Luda getting right to it. In case you were wondering if he could still spit, he gets that out of the way right away, spitting some quick shit over a beat that sounds pretty new. Luda intros himself and the album, and he says from the beginning he’s trynna get into your top 5. He’s still confident and still spits like he’s the shit, which is always good. He really does get right into it, spitting 2 verses about changing the game and telling you to turn ya stereo louder before the track fades away repeating “Luda not so hard.”
The second track is Grass Is Always Greener, which starts with a calm beat before Luda starts talking about the choices he has to make, from music to groupies. Whether it’s his level of fame, what he’s currently working on, the grass is always greener to Luda. This is a dope track, with Luda spitting some shit everyone can relate to about never being happy with what you got. It’s a pretty minimalistic beat, but it gives Luda the space to fuck around with the flow and show off.
Back from Hollywood
Then we got Call Ya Bluff, which starts with some classic rap skit shit. The beat’s pretty simple again but it goes hard and so does Luda. He’s spitting some more about taking years off from rap to collect Hollywood checks and how he has to come back to remind folks that he’s still the shit. Near the end he slows the flow down for some slow Atlanta shit, now that he’s proved anyone who was wondering that he can still rap as fast and dope as anyone in the game.
Lyrical Healing smooths out the album a bit, with Luda spitting some late night DJ shit before he slips into some lyrical healing. It’s just over a minute of Luda shit talking other rappers, but it’s a dope contribution to the album, including Luda talking about rappers kidnapping his flows without even leaving a ransom note. Then we got Beast Mode as the 5th track, with Luda saying he’s on some Hannibal Lecter shit cause he’s eating MCs for breakfast. Now that Luda’s proved he can still spit, Beast Mode shows that he’s still funny as shit too. This is a mad hot track, and the beat’s alright but Luda carries the whole thing, telling fans to inject red bull into their veins if they ever slept on him and how he can be seen in 30 rocks like Alec Baldwin. He kills this shit.
Skit and Get Lit
Then we got an actual skit with Viagra, and Luda’s gotta call 911 cause he’s got a hard problem and he’s knocking shit over. Then the operator heads over to his house to get some and it’s just some funny shit. This leads into Get Lit, which sounds like some straight old Luda shit, but I’m down. Luda spits even quicker than earlier, and shit it almost feels like 2001 or 2003 or some shit again. This is a grimy banger for late into the night, and it fucking bumps. Get Lit is one of the hardest tracks on the album, and one of the best.
An interlude breaks up the album with Come And See Me, which seems to flow into the second half of the album which has got a few features. Anyways, it’s pretty much another short track just over a minute, but it’s got a nice dream sequence luxurious ass beat for Luda to spit a quick verse over. Then we get the 9th track, Come And See Me (feat. Big K.R.I.T.) Luda’s saying that anything you need, no matter what it is, you gotta go and see him. Then Big K.R.I.T. comes in spitting some smooth shit about what he’s got in his whip before Luda comes back in. They’re just switching every 4 bars, and it’s fucking dope and more rappers nowadays should bring this shit back. The beat jumps around as the verses do, and Luda and K.R.I.T. make a dope duo. This is one of the best tracks on the album, and it’s because of the general fusion of both beat and spit they got going.
Then we got Good Lovin (feat. Miguel), which definitely slows shit down but it’s so smooth that you really can’t complain. This is a sad breakup track, and Luda’s getting pretty introspective and personal on this album. He’s a hopeless romantic, talking about the hole in his chest that’s left now. I usually like Luda to go hard, but he can do this loverboy R&B shit alright too, with a big assist from Miguel.
Some real shit.
The 11th track comes with Ocean Skies, starting with Luda winning a Grammy for best rap album and a bit of his speech, saying I love you to his pops. Then the beat comes in with Luda saying rest in peace Wayne Bridges and that he still lives through Luda. Then Ludacris starts talking about how he lost his father to the bottle and how his pops wasn’t usually in his right mind. This is some personal shit and Luda finishes his first verse with “the beat goes on but the drinking’s gotta stop.” Monica comes in with a sad but strong hook before Luda goes back to how through the drinks and the sadness he still taught Luda how to be a man and everyone still loved him. This is some sad shit, but he’s trynna make the best of it, and this is a great fucking emotional track, with Ludacris telling folks to tell their parents they love them cause they might not see them tomorrow.
Usher finishes off the feature parade with Not Long, and he kicks it off with some smooth singing about realizing you’re not so far from the stars. It’s another track about Luda coming up, but through the lens of his music rather than this relationship with his pops. Luda says he’s on fire and all these other rappers is burnt up before Usher comes in again. He’s trying to switch from bummed about his pops to happy with how far he’s come and trynna pass that hope on to other folks. The beat on this one is dope, with just a little more flavor than you might expect from a track that dips a bit more into R&B like this one does. Luda finishes with “if it hasn’t been done then I’ma do it first, cause I’m the master of the Ludaverse.” This is a hot track, and you gotta agree with him, cause no one does it quite like Luda does.
Fame ain’t exactly what you think it is
Charge It To The Rap Game comes in with a clapping beat with a nice little whistle to it and Luda saying sometimes you gotta charge it to the rap game. He’s spitting about how shady the music industry is and the bogus contracts he’s had to deal with and how rappers gotta talk a little shit. Even when Ludacris is saying that the life ain’t as dope as it looks from the outside (remember, The Grass Is Always Greener), he’s still funny and he’s still killing it, whether he’s shit talking label executives, the media or protestors outside his concerts. This is some real shit about the complexities rappers gotta deal with.
Luda finishes off the album with This Has Been My World, and a quick, ’80s electro-sounding beat. It’s 6 and a half minutes of Luda talking about how dope his life is now that he’s made it. He’s not just talking shit though, cause he makes it pretty clear that he had to go through a lot to get there and to stay there. Through it all though he still runs this shit so he’s happy, saying it’s more good than bad but you gotta appreciate what you got too if you want anything more. Luda’s going inspirational here, but keeping the beat just a little grimy. He spits a good amount of reasons why his life is so dope, even with all the problems that come with being an entertainer.
Halfway through the album slips into some spoken word about surviving. It’s some deep shit, and a hell of a way to finish off the album. Luda would prefer to be a maverick than someone who strives to be average, and the outro reminds folks that, “in any existence, it’s the destination, not the journey. Live your life.” The album fades out with a minute and a half of synth for you to think on that and for Just Blaze to let you know he did this shit.
It’s definitely not the dopest album I’ve ever heard or anything, but I don’t think that’s what Luda was trying to do. He was trying to reassert himself as a force in the game after these years away, and he did that pretty well. He might not be on top of the game anymore, but he can still bring it and he can definitely still make dope albums that you can listen to all the way through.