The Year In Review: Rap Comeback of The Year

 ludacris cd

Ludaversal (2015)

One of the comeback artists of the year has to be Ludacris. Ludaversal, his first release since 2010's Battle of The Sexes, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Rap/R&B charts, and #3 in the Top 200, which is pretty good for a man coming back to the rap game after a long film sabbatical.


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What's striking about this album is that, while a throwback to a raw, stripped down, early rap sound at times, it also reflected a much more cynical man of rapidly accumulated life experience. Songs about the problems which come with wealth and fame are nothing new for Luda. They are in fact a staple of his brilliant and somewhat conceptual albums over the years. This time, though, one can tell that the gold has indeed finally lost some of its luster, fo real. There's weariness here, but as usual he keeps the listener from getting too dragged down into the morass with catchy hooks and samples, and a rich musical sound which never gets too raw.

Particularly moving was "Ocean Skies", at once a tribute to Luda's father and all the real love felt and a recrimination of the drinking problem which ultimately took him from this world. It also addresses the sometimes detrimental effect having a wealthy, famous son can cause in this regard, and the resulting guilt. In addition to his always convincing delivery of verse, it's richly accented with string sections, soulful vocals and a catchy folk-rock guitar riff.

Of course, Luda is nothing if not fun, and this is no exception. It has the usual funnies, such as the raunchy humor of “Viagra Skit” which leads into “Get Lit” with the closing line, “Nigga, where da drinks at?” But even here, there is a nod to mid-life crisis, and the crazy shit men will do when they realize they still have some time left.

Experience. The Luda experience continues to show that, while he may not be quite as good as he once was, he’ll always be good once as he ever was.

- J

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Category: Soundcheck