Chicken -N- Beer

Artist: LudacrisTitle: Chicken -N- BeerRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Quia Querisma

From that high-profile snafu with Pepsi and Bill O'Riley to his movie roles, Ludacris keeps busy. It's easy to think that he's not focusing on the rap game if he's into so much other stuff right? Wrong.

Chicken -N- Beer, the Atlanta-bred rapper’s third release on Def Jam is a 4-star effort, and by far his best album to date. Ludacris, relies heavily on his own talent and that of his crew, Disturbing Tha Peace (DTP). Of the 13 tracks, only four feature established artists. High-profile vocals include Snoop Dogg on “Hoes in My Room,” Chingy on “We Got,” 8 Ball & MJG and Carl Thomas on “Hard Times” and Houston’s Lil Flip on “Screwed Up.”

The production team for Chicken -N- Beer is an assorted order. Erick Sermon, Kanye West, DJ Paul and Juicy “J” share the roster with lesser-known beat masters Icedrake, Ruh Anubis, and Jook. Beats provided by this team are more than enough to hook the listener, but craftily they don’t overshadow Ludacris’s flow. The recipe for the album is similar to the rapper’s prior two: freestyle sessions, smoking and drinking, partying, sex, introspection and pimpin’. The ingredients are similar to other mainstream rap albums but Ludacris’s charismatic delivery and hilarious rhymes continue to make him stand out.

The lead single, “Stand Up” is the Kanye West-produced (and Ludacris co-produced) club banger. It has the right amount of energy and punch lines that makes it enjoyable in the club as well as in the car. Another standout track is “Splash Waterfalls.” The verses follow along the progression of a romantic relationship--one that’s full of kinky sex. But the verses aren’t what make this song great. Icedrake put together a track that’s mellow in the background but is laced with a fierce drum loop full of bounce. “Screwed Up” is Ludacris’s ode to the Houston style of “screwed” music. The beat sounds a bit like a slowed down circus ditty laced with a lot of bounce from the beat machine. Lil Flip lends his drawled vocals for a few verses as they flip about staying high off of weed and lean.

“Hip Hop Quotables” is version three of the freestyle track that always appeared on Ludacris albums with Erick Sermon’s minimalist head-bobbing production allowing listeners to pay attention to the lyrics. The punch lines come back to back to back on this track. Don’t laugh too much or you’ll miss the next joke.

Ludacris continues to improve as a lyricist despite keeping busy in the movies and his philanthropic efforts. Chicken -N- Beer is served up well and fans will want a large order.