March 15, 2007

Reinventing a Southern Flow

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On his fifth effort since signing with Def Jam in 2000, Ludacris spits nothing but heat. Release Therapy comes equipped with the same quality that hip hop fans have come to expect from one of ATL’s most recognizable MCs. Luda keeps listeners on their toes, seamlessly moving from rapid fire, to a slow flow — all in the same phrase. And the entire album is filled to the brim with witty metaphors: “catch me on more 24s than Kiefer Sutherland” and, “ I stay in heavy rotation like a washing machine.”

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges touches on a number of topics throughout the tracks laced for this album. The face of Disturbing The Peace Records delivers a shout out to the clubs with “Money Maker”, and the lesser known “Girls Gone Wild.”

A veteran who’s never afraid of change, Luda also addresses some heavier themes in “War with God,” about being real and honest in your music; “Do Your Time,” a pledge of support to friends and family locked away in prison; “Slap” and “Runaway Love.” The album’s outro, “Freedom of Preach,” is an introspective plea for forgiveness for all the wrongs he has committed. As is the standard for a hip hop album, Ludacris declares his love for the ladies with “End of the Night” and “Woozy.”

Always creative, Ludacris loads the album with special features. The guest list includes Young Jeezy, Pharell, R. Kelly, Beanie Sigel, Pimp C, and C Murder. The DTP general also makes room for his own squad, as Bobby Valentino and Field Mob each make appearances on Release Therapy. Additionally, Luda grabs vocal samples from the Notorious B.I.G. and Slick Rick to add to the mix.

One of the Dirty South’s premier lyricists, ‘Cris is a master with both the mic and the pencil. Spitting tongue twisters such as, “Gone for a minute, now I’m back again/ Back to back, back to break backs again/ Put ’em in the back seat of the ’Llac again,” he gets his listeners to think, and never ceases to impress. He is also a craftsman using his voice as an element of the music. In “Ultimate Satisfaction,” Luda drops some extra fast lyrical work over a relatively slow paced beat. This juxtaposition of contrasting tempos emphasizes each element — vocals and beats — an effect that pleases the ears.

But Bridges also has an uncanny ability to match his voice to the music, bringing a hard flow to mirror the hard, crisp drums in “Mouths to Feed.” Ludacris shows his affinity for switching up his flow on “Money Maker” — as he stretches the ends of certain phrases, pauses for effect, repeats certain words, and then shouts some lines while whispering others, listeners can almost feel the movement of Luda’s pencil across the pad as he writes his lyrics.

‘Cris truly reinvents himself with his latest album, pleasing loyal fans and first time listeners alike. His dexterous and indelible flow thrust him into the limelight. Whether you know Ludacris’s work or not, it’s like he’s back for the first time.