Who Is Ludacris?
Rapper and actor Ludacris hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and is well-known for his raucous lyrics and “Dirty South” sound. Back for the First Time, his second album, gave him his big break into the public eye in 2000. Since then, he has continued to release music while also running a record label, opening restaurants, and giving back to the community. He frequently appears in the Fast and the Furious movie series. His humorous flow, which is laced with punchlines and distinguishes Ludacris as an inventor, is a style that perfectly matches his chosen stage name.
Christopher Brian Bridges, the sole child of college students Roberta and Wayne, was born Ludacris on September 11, 1977 in Champaign, Illinois. He went to Atlanta with his mother when he was about 12 years old after his parents divorced while he was young, though they stayed close. He started rapping when he was nine years old and was a member of the Loudmouth Hooligans before relocating to Atlanta. Even though the teenage Bridges’ mother was rigorous with him to make sure he attended school and worked hard, times were difficult for them both.
In 1998, Ludacris saw his first taste of fame when he contributed a guest verse and rhymed on the song “Phat Rabbit” off Timbaland’s debut album, Tim’s Bio: Life from Da Bassment. He had already begun work on his debut album, Incognegro, which he independently released in May 2000 on his own Disturbing Tha Peace label with production from Jermaine Dupri, Bangladesh, and Organized Noize.
Breakthrough With ‘Back for the First Time’
After being signed to Def Jam South in 2000, much of the content on the album, including the breakthrough single “What’s Your Fantasy,” would be repackaged for his big label debut, Back for the First Time. Trina and Foxy Brown contributed additional guest verses to the song’s remix for the album, while the second single, “Southern Hospitality,” which was produced by the Neptunes and features Pharrell, was another fresh addition. The album eventually sold over 3 million copies and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. The energetic rhyming style of Ludacris caught the attention of Rolling Stone, which referred to him as “that unique type of rapper who shows you his skills as much as he tells you about them.”
‘Word of Mouf’ Spreads, Pepsi Controversy
With his subsequent album, Word of Mouf, in 2001, Ludacris continued the momentum. Three further singles were released after “Rollout (My Business),” the album’s opening song, which received a Grammy nomination. The album was a colorful event that sold more than 3 million copies just in the United States thanks to collaborations with Twista and Nate Dogg. The Los Angeles Times praised Ludacris for “keeping the jokes coming, injecting some type of humor into practically every word of the 19 tracks,” highlighting the rapper’s verbal skill.
On his 2002 collection Golden Grain, Ludacris featured the musicians signed to his DTP label, including a then-unknown MC by the name of Tity Boi who would later become famous as 2 Chainz. Around this time, Ludacris signed an advertising contract with Pepsi, which turned into a minor scandal when Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly called for a boycott of the beverage because it had chosen someone who sang profane lyrics. After Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network took action, Pepsi eventually decided to provide $3 million to urban nonprofits despite having previously dumped Ludacris.
Acting in the ‘Fast & the Furious’ Franchise
In the follow-up to The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ludacris played Tej Parker. The film’s director, John Singleton, claims that rapper Ludacris was chosen for the role in 2002 when Ja Rule, who had previously been in the film, “became too big for himself” and declined. Ludacris would go on to make appearances in the series’ fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth episodes.
In addition to his roles as a rapper (2005’s Hustle & Flow) and a thief (2005’s Crash), Ludacris has a long list of other cinematic credits, including supporting turns in comedies like 2011’s No Strings Attached and a pivotal voice role in 2018’s Show Dogs.
‘The Red Light District,’ ‘Release Therapy’ and Grammys
On The Red Light District, another No. 1 album released in 2004, guests included Nas and DMX. After being nominated more than a dozen times, Ludacris won his first Grammy in 2005 for the song “Yeah!” he wrote with Usher. In 2007, Ludacris won two additional Grammys for his album Release Therapy and the tune “Money Maker.” His debut concept album blended upbeat dance music with slower, more contemplative, and political pieces while still displaying, as The New Yorker put it, “a concise presentation of his midnight-blue comedy and bumptious oratory,” according to the magazine.
More Albums, Restaurant and Foundation
Although the sales and productivity of his latter albums—Theater of the Mind in 2008, Battle of the Sexes in 2010, and Ludaversal in 2015—show a dip, much of this is attributable to Ludacris’ focus on other areas of his career, such as acting and philanthropy. At the end of 2016, he built a Chicken-n-Beer restaurant in the Atlanta airport. He also has a share of Conjure Cognac. His Ludacris Foundation was established in 2001 with a focus on youth outreach.
Cadence Gaelle is the daughter of Ludacris and Gabonese model Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, whom he wed in 2014. Cai Bella Bridges, Karma Bridges, and Shaila Scott are his other three daughters from past relationships.