American rapper Ludacris, born Chris Bridges, first hit the music industry with
his major label debut album Back For The First Time (2000), which became a
multi-platinum and the No.4 album in the U.S. Next, the seven-time Grammy
nominee stroke the music community endlessly with his recordings Word Of Mouf
(2001), Chicken & Beer (2003) and The Red Light District (2004). His
collaboration with Usher and ‘Lil John in the international hit “Yeah” (2004)
reinforced his musical gift by nabbing a Grammy Award, while his single “Number
One Spot” (2004) netted an MTV Video Music Award. Branching out into acting, the
multi-platinum-selling artist was seen in films like The Wash (2001) and Crash
Off screen, one of the biggest names in hip-hop’s Dirty South movement, Ludacris
founded The Ludacare Foundation, with Chaka Zulu. The organization helps young
students motivate themselves in creative arts. He was also a spokesman for Boost
Mobile Phone and Pepsi. However, in August 28, 2002, Pepsi-Cola of North America
stated that its 30-second television spot featuring rapper Ludacris was cut off
due to consumer complaints about his sexually explicit lyrics. This decision
came after talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, who had been mentioned in a Ludacris
song, criticized the company for picking a “thug rapper” to represent them.
Recently, Ludacris and Kanye West were accused of stealing the essence of a
little known song for their 2003 hit, “Stand Up,” by a New Jersey rap group
called It’s Our Family (IOF). On Thursday, May 25, 2006, Ludacris gave testimony
at a copyright infringement trial that he had never heard the expression
“straight like that,” which he allegedly swiped to create his 2003 hit. He also
denied receiving copies of a disk containing the track “Straight Like That” by
IOF. In addition, he is one of the black rappers who criticized the talk show
queen Oprah Winfrey for never inviting them to her show.
Childhood and Family:
In 1979, Christopher Bridges, who would later be famous as Ludacris, was born in
Atlanta, Georgia. Chris is sometimes also called C. Bridges, Chris ‘Ludacris’
Bridges, Chris Bridges, or simply Luda. Influenced by the early stars of
hip-hop, teenaged Chris began to rap competitively. He attended Benjamin
Banneker High in Atlanta, where he battled other students in the lunchroom. He
later took a music management program at Georgia State University. The cousin of
R & B singer Monica, Chris has a daughter named Karma.
Back For The First Time
“I started rapping on the station promos. We did them over all of the top hits,
so people got to hear me rap over tight beats.” Ludacris
After finishing his education, Ludacris came into show business as DJ Chris Lova
Lova on the Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9 FM. There, he produced a night show
before rapping for the radio station promos. Ludacris’ first public gigs
apparently grabbed the attention of Jermaine DuPri and Timbaland, who put him on
a record debut with “Phat Rabbit,” a track from Timbaland’s 1998 album Tim’s
Bio: Life from the Bassment. The single was also placed in Ludacris’
self-produced, self-marketed and self-distributed first album Incognegro (1999).
The independent recording sold over 50,000 copies in two months and broke the
record of radio airtime in southern markets. Starting to get some attention, he
recorded the theme for the video game Madden NFL 2000 in the same year.
In 2000, Scarface, a member of the Ghetto Boys, signed Ludacris to Def Jam
Recordings. Before long, he issued the first major label album Back For The
First Time (2000), spawning the singles “What’s Your Fantasy” and “Southern
Hospitality.” Achieving success, the album reached the 4th position on the U.S.
chart and received 3 platinum certifications. In addition, it was also nominated
for a Grammy for Best Rap Album, while its singles became U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop top
ten hits. Ludacris gained even more recognition with his second album, Word Of
Mouf (2001). The multi-platinum recording went to third place on U.S. charts and
received another Grammy nomination, whereas the track “Move Bitch” (featuring
Mystikal and I-20) climbed to the top three position on U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop charts.
The sophomore album also tossed out such tracks as the Grammy-nominated “Area
Codes” and “Roll Out (My Business),” as well as “Saturday (Oooh Oooh)”
(featuring Sleepy Brown). Still in 2001, Ludacris broke into acting when he
appeared as a customer in DJ Pooh’s big screen comedy The Wash.
“For me, it’s not just about being the best. I also want people to realize I’m
The multi-talented rapper set up a recording company called Disturbing Tha Peace
Records, where Lil Fate, I-20, Tity Boi, Shawnna and the platinum selling Chingy
are among its artists. Under the independent label, he released Golden Grain
(2002) with the single “Growing Pains.” Returning to acting, Ludacris co-starred
as Tej, alongside Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson, in the fast-pace action movie 2
Fast 2 Furious (2003). In the motion picture, he also provided the
Grammy-nominated soundtrack titled “Act a Fool.” He also performed in the
musical TV series “Hard Rock Live” (2003), “Fuse 100%” (2004) and in an episode
of the musical comedy “Chappelle’s Show” (2004).
On October 25, 2003, Ludacris released his third album under the Def Jam label,
Chicken & Beer, and stepped further into fame. The double-platinum recording was
a No.1 album in the U.S. and the single “Stand Up” (featuring Shawnna) topped
the U.S. Hot 100 for a full week. The hit track also brought him a Grammy
nomination for Best Male Rap Solo Performance. His next No.1 album, The Red
Light District, also received double-platinum certification, while the hit
single “Number One Spot” stayed on the top ten of the U.S. Rap charts. Aside
from the commercial success, “Number One Spot” also won an MTV Video Music for
Best Rap Video and earned a Grammy nomination.
The rapper solidified his popularity after R & B singer Usher took him into a
popular collaboration with ‘Lil John for the widely-known single “Yeah” (2004).
The song spent 12 weeks on the top of the U.S. Hot 100, received heavy play all
over the world and won a Grammy for Best R&B Song. Following his musical
progress, he went to the silver screen with a turn as Anthony in the
Oscar-winning movie Crash (2004), for director/screenwriter Paul Haggis.
Under his own recording label, the skilled performer launched Ludacris Presents:
Disturbing tha Peace (2005). Tossing out singles “Georgia” (featuring Field Mob
& Jamie Foxx) and “Getting’ Some,” the album managed to become the11th album on
the U.S. charts and received gold certification. As an actor, Ludacris undertook
the role of Skinny Black in the Craig Brewer-directed movie Hustle & Flow (2005)
before guest starring in the series “Eve” (2005) and “Driven” (2005). Recently,
he appeared as Darius Parker in the 7th season of the TV series “Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit” (2006).
Grammy: Best R&B Song, “Yeah!,” shared with Usher and ‘Lil John, 2005
MTV Video Music: Best Rap Video, “Number One Spot,” 2005