EXCLUSIVE: Ludacris Shoots Down Retirement Reports

A recent Los Angeles Times article has created widespread talk of Ludacris’ impending retirement from Hip-Hop in pursuit of Hollywood.However, in an exclusive statement to AllHipHop.com, the Atlanta-based rapper says the rumors are exaggerated.“I never said I was retiring from Hip-Hop today,” Ludacris who celebrates his 33rd birthday today. “Music is my first love and I’m just as hungry as the day I began. The Theater of the Mind album will prove that on November 11 when it drops.”In the LA Times article, which first appeared on Sunday (September 7), Ludacris discussed his decision to use his given name, Christopher Bridges.He explained that he made the choice in order to be taken more seriously in the acting world, which has embraced him since his appearance in 2004’s critically acclaimed Crash.Since then, the former radio personality has proven his mettle as an actor with stellar performances in two episodes during the 2006-2007 season of the long running NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.He is listed in the majority of his acting credits as Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.“I can see a point where acting is my full-time job, really,” he told the Times. “I will always be involved in music, but it may be more behind the scenes, as a producer. I will always do that. But when I look at 10 years from now, I don’t think rapping is necessarily what I want to do when I’m in my 40s.”Ludacris is set to appear in two high-profile films next month.He will first appear alongside fellow rapper-turned-serious actor Mark Wahlberg in the movie version of the popular video Max Payne, which hits theaters on October 17.He also has a starring role in director Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla which opens in the US on October 31, co-starring Idris Elba, Gerard Butler, Jeremy Piven and Luda’s Crash co-star Thandie Newton.RocknRolla already opened at number one in the U.K. over the weekend, taking in $2.9 million.