Despite a very loud single, Ludacris has had a rather quiet 2005. But dont for a minute think it wasnt planned that way. Luda worked his executive game by branding Bobby Valentino and signing Field Mob. He also impressed people outside the realm of Hip-Hop with two major acting roles. But if you thought Rap was peaceful without Luda and DTP, hes preparing to lead-off 2006 with a smash for him and his team.
AllHipHop.com and Ludacris discussed the year, looking at movie tickets and record sales, and you may be surprised at Ludacris take on either. Conversely, youll get a good sense what this ATLien thinks about the rise of H-Town. Get ready, cause we gave Ludacris the red flair pen, and hes grading Hip-Hop with no curve
AllHipHop.com: Youre getting like real serious props for being a real actor. Is this something that youre taking serious in terms of propelling your career?
Ludacris: I take everything I do seriously, but it's hard. The acting thing I definitely do take it seriously. Crash and Hustle & Flow which where two of the most critically acclaimed movies projects of this year. I see where future projects that I'll do I'm going to have to really be specific and choosy about what I'm going to do. A lot of actors have come to me and they have accepted me and it definitely feel good, and I think "Crash" helped that a lot.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think about people like Terrence Howard or Sam Jackson who've had comments about rappers that act?
Ludacris: I agree and disagree with him. A lot of rappers and a lot of entertainers get the opportunity to act just because of who they are. So I would say for those people who get the opportunity to act and don't take it seriously, I agree with that comment. Cause it's just like any other actor could have taken their place and been really serious about the role. But the roles people take it to heart...but the roles people get and are serious
about it, like myself, or people like Will Smith and Ice Cube and Queen Latifah, then I disagree with what their saying. Cause the are trying to stereotype all rappers and I don't agree with that.
AllHipHop.com: Will Smith received media heat cause he refused to kiss a man on camera. Or 50 Cent or Terrence Howard being nude. Do things like that make you uncomfortable in acting?
Ludacris: Yeah, I could honestly say that would make me a little uncomfortable too. I wouldn't say that there are things that I would or would not do. But specifically I would feel uncomfortable doing something like that. Kissing another man for sure, I don't think I would do that.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people either hated or loved Hustle & Flow. What was your take on it? Did you think it was stereotypical, or an accurate depiction of life in Memphis?
Ludacris: Whenever people try to say it was stereotypical you just have to realize - I loved the movie actually, because I feel that there are so many different walks of life, and we just exposed one of them. And the one that we did expose was extremely realistic from me living my life and what I've witnessed. And with that being said, it wasn't what people walked away with. But the people that criticized it, it wasn't just about pimps and hoes, it was about struggle and a man that everyone can relate to cause he's trying to get out there and hustle and live out his dream. Those people that said it was stereotypical they didn't really get it. It's almost like how people criticize Hip-Hop and they don't really listen to what the f**k we are saying.
AllHipHop.com: Some of the albums that Disturbing Tha Peace has released haven't exactly blown the charts away. Why do you feel that's happened? Like I-20 or Shawna
Ludacris: Its about certain peoples timing. I just feel like both of their albums where solid albums. But with so many different elements from the way record companies my try to spin off...it's just about timing. Me and you know both about certain artists, that are extremely successful now, but their first albums...they didn't do anything. And that being said, sometimes I feel like about artist and records it's all about timing. I feel that a second album is like a second chance. And as long as they had a solid album and those hundred or two hundred thousand people that went to go get it, and as long as they where satisfied and not disappointed, that's what most important.
AllHipHop.com: Is that why you brought in guests to do this compilation album coming out?
Ludacris: I never necessarily felt that I needed to bring [anybody], but it's one of situation where we had records lingering and we wanted to put them out. Whether it was stuff that didn't make one of my albums. I felt that is adds to the whole element of surprise. Whenever you think of an record as an event it's just kind of crazy-ish. With just by me saying that there's a song with me, Trick Daddy, and Luke, and will make some people be like, Damn, what's that about? It's just like the element of surprise.
AllHipHop.com: Atlanta has always been hot. But recently is seems like Houston is catching up to you a little bit. Do you feel any pressure as far as that's concerned? You know a shift might be going towards another city.
Ludacris: No, I don't really feel like that. I see myself as an artist that is from the Dirty South, but I've been a fan of Houston music ever sense I first got started. You can listen to my albums and see exactly what I'm talking about. Like with Screwed Up, with Lil' Flip, and this is on Chicken and Beer so this is like two years ago. And I'm one of those individuals that I don't necessarily look at is as competition I look at it as the South as a whole. So it's just great. I'm so happy right now that Screwed music is getting its due and the world is catching on. Cause I've been on it for six or seven years. I look at it as the South as one.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you think that the South is so popular right now? Paul Wall, Young Jeezy, these dudes are huge figures in the Northern market
Ludacris: Yeah, I attribute that 100% to how Southern artist, more then any other region in the world have come out with so many independent albums before they get signed into a major contract. A lot of people don't take this into consideration. Even myself, and Lil Jon, and Ying Yang all started on a local level, so to speak, selling albums. So with that being said, I think that's an easy way for a lot of record companies to monitor what the independent's got going on and then they start signing everybody. Cause if we are already selling music on our own, they are just giving us the opportunity to sell music beyond where we are already selling it. So that's why I feel the South has been so dominant for so long.
AllHipHop.com: That said, what do you perceive as the biggest criticism of the South right now?
Ludacris: I don't really think I have one. Like the first thing that will come to mind is that, if anyone was to say that people from the South don't get along, or don't get together, we're the reason that folks are together. It's that Southern hospitality. You see how many n***as are getting on records together as opposed to 50 and all these other people in New York [who] don't support each other, it's kind of hard. And with that being said I can't think of no criticism for the South, I love the South. If I think of one, I'll let you know.
AllHipHop.com: What made you sign Field Mob? Theyve made great records, but never really gotten the numbers. What, as a businessman, attracted you?
Ludacris: I feel that Field Mob is one of those groups, if people don't want to listen and they don't necessarily want to listen now, then they are going to listen soon, because they put out good music. I feel like they are Southern MCs and lyricists, and I respect what they do. And I'm a big fan of what they do. And automatically, if I'm sitting here
thinking that if they haven't sold as many as they should, I feel like I can do something to help them out with that. And even if it doesn't work out the first time, I feel that it will eventually work out. Because what I'm trying to do is to make a change for what I feel music needs. Sometimes people talk about selling out to a certain degree but I'm one of those people that wants to change music.
AllHipHop.com: Along the lines of changing music, who do you like right now. Who are you feeling right now that we may need to check for?
Ludacris: Field Mob. I'm not even trying to promote my artist. [Im] looking for Jay to come out with another album especially with the way that he keeps teasing people. And I'm really respecting Lil Wayne. I'm really f**kin with Lil' Wayne right now, and I even told him that. That n***a is on his s**t right now, he's in the zone. And Bun B, like a mothaf**ka. That n***a's album is ridiculous.
AllHipHop.com: Its not a focal point, but do you have anything to say to Chingy?
Ludacris: I have nothing to say to that guy. That's how you get back at somebody is to ignore they ass. So I don't even say s**t, I don't even have to get back at him. He's getting back at himself.
AllHipHop.com: What's the biggest misconception about you? What would people ...what about you would people not know?
Ludacris: The biggest misconception about me ...I would say that...I don't know man. People sometimes act as if I wasn't on for a long ass time, people know. Cause, whereas me being funny when I'm rhyming, some people might not take me all the way serious. Someone told me that I'm such a visual artist that I never really until recently get the props that I deserve as far as being a lyricist is concerned. Cause I'd put myself in the top right now. And eventually, Im trying to get to that #1 spot. I don't feel like I'm at the #1 spot, that's why I made that song. Cause you know with my time and competing against other people I just feel like my time is coming.
AllHipHop.com: That song, with the Austin Powers accents took risks. It actually reminded me of Redman, in a way. Why arent you scared to take those risks?
Ludacris: Redmans one of my favorites. I've always been a Redman fan that why I did [Future Thugs] with him. I feel like Hip-Hop needs something different. And all I'm doing is being myself. And I'm not trying to be anything that Im not. And so with that being said, you can't be afraid to take risks. That's why I do try to go left while everyone is trying to go right.
AllHipHop.com: You said Hip-Hop needs something different. Hypothetically, give Hip-Hop a grade right now
Ludacris: See when you ask a question like that, I wouldn't necessarily give Hip-Hop a bad grade, cause it's a new generation. Like they are a little kid and what's going on is Hip-Hop right now is what's it's suppose to be because this is what they know. They my not have known about the Run-DMC's and the LL Cool J's and things of that nature so it's all an opinion of what people think Hip-Hop is. So with that being said...
AllHipHop.com: I wasn't trying to give you a loaded question like "yo it's not good no more."
Ludacris: Well if I had to give it a grade, I would give it about a s**t...I've give Hip-Hop about a C. And I say that only because I feel that some n***as ain't trying hard enough. They are not really putting their heart into it like they should.