en: Chicken-n-Beer [info]
Standing proud and looking down at all newcomers from the summit of Billboard's album chart is Atlanta rapper Ludacris. With two longer-players to his name and raking up combined sales in excess of seven million units, life couldn't be sweeter for the weed smoking, womanising, beer guzzling, fried chicken eating larger than life character.
His US chart-topping single, "Stand Up", featuring Shawnna's seductive vocal interplaying, is typical of what's on offer - lightning-quick phrasing, cutting wit and reference points a plenty. Skits bridge the sexual tension on x-rated jams like "Splash Waterfalls" and "P-Poppin".
In between albums an acting career (2 Fast & 2 Furious) and his starring role in a Pepsi ad campaign, his street integrity has been questioned. Ludacris' response to the doubters, comes early on the opening cut, "Blow It Out", proclaiming: 'If you mad Im on top, then wish me gone/If you mad Im on the road, then wish me home/And if you mad that Im right, punk, wish me wrong/But after your third wish, blow it out your ass'.
Hip hop vet Erick Sermon aids the microphone fiend on the surrealist "Hip Hop Quotables", while Snoop Dogg slides in on the languid "Hoes In My Room" - a hilarious tale of the night after the show and the women it attracts that contains the immortal line: "...a lot of y'all are more stuck up than tampons".
Lud's funk is chewier and more fun then most, employing tuneful and obscure samples to his audacious rhymes. His knack for crafting catchy hip pop hasnt gone unnoticed. In it's first week of release Chicken 'n' Beer sold close to half a million units in the US alone. Ludacris is a breath of fresh air in the hip hop game, refusing (unlike some) to wear his wealth of street experience like a pimp-bold badge of honour.