Ludacris Proves ‘Ludaversal’ Is the Real Deal at New York Listening Session
Ludacris may be making more headlines from his appearances in movies like the upcoming Furious 7, but don't take that as the rapper abandoning the rap game. While it's been five years since we've heard an album from the Atlanta-based rapper, he seems focused and ready to reaffirm his position as one of the top spitters in rap. And he proves just that with his upcoming eight opus, titled Ludaversal, due out on March 31.
On Wednesday (March 25), Ludacris held a private listening session at Jay Z's 40/40 Club in New York, which we had the pleasure to attend. Held inside of what we believe to be one of the club's private lounges, the room was nearing capacity and the mood was very festive. Waitresses weaved in-and-out of groups of people while taking drink orders. Other guests was feasting on the complimentary chicken wings while nodding their heads to the tunes being played by the DJ.
Ludacris was already in attendance and in full politician mode, taking pictures with fans and press, hobnobbing with industry people, and working the crowd with the charm of a tired and true veteran. About an hour and a half into the party, Ludacris took the mic and thanked everyone for coming out in addition to other pleasantries before instructing the DJ to launch into a David Banner-produced song. The track instantly got the approval of attendees with its southern sound and Luda dropping a litany of rewind-worthy bars.
Ludacris then took time to pay homage to his New York roots, throwing a shout out to his Mt. Vernon family and explaining the significance behind a song titled "Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side."
"'Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side' is my favorite record on the album for many reasons and for personal reasons," he said. "Everybody can relate to this because any and everything we do, we're conditioned to think that somebody else got something [that's] better than what we have, or just because we doing one thing, somebody's doing something better. But it's probably the most personal record in terms of everything I'm saying on this record is true with what's going on in my mind at the current time."
Afterward, the "Southern Hospitality" rhymer asked if the room digged the song to which an extra-exuberant fan confirmed. Luda then jokingly asked the person, "You been drinking? I need what the f--- you've been drinking."
He then introduced the next song called "Beast Mode," which he explained is about those naysayers who think that big-money checks from Hollywood have made him musically complacent.
"Of course, I'm definitely one of those artists that's blessed to have been able to kinda transition into movies and acting and all that," he stated. "But when you're hearing these records, it is a point to prove I never forgot where I came from, one. And two, that stereotype that just because somebody's acting that they don't give a damn about the music anymore."
"Beast Mode is just straight three minutes of rapping, it ain't no hook, ain't nothing, it's just metaphors," he continued. "I just did the video with Marshawn Lynch because it was inspired by him, the same way he runs people down on the damn field, I feel like I'm running through motherf---ers in the industry and I'll still slaughter your favorite rapper."
Ludacris then gives insight behind his mindstate while making the aggressive buzz-worthy track "Call Ya Bluff," which has been making the rounds around on the Internet.
"I'm tired of people in rap music - and it's nobody in particular - it's just [that] I've been in my share of industry beefs and things of that nature. But it's still people that talk s---, whether it's subliminal or not," he says. "It's like... I just hate when they say something behind the microphone and then you see them in person and then they're like, "uhh...nah, you know it wasn't nothing,' I never claim to be the hardest dude in the life, but you f--- with my liveliehood, my family and my kids and it's gonna be some problems, ya hear."
Luda then gives props to Mississippi native Big K.R.I.T. while speaking on their collaborative song "Come and See Me," which was produced by Mike WiLL Made It. "The next record is featuring my man Big K.R.I.T. I didn't really have too many features on this album and he's one of the guys in the south I feel that's actually talking about something," he explains. "He's kind of a one-man-army, he's produced a lot of his [own] records. And he's kind of an underdog, like myself. So I'm like, let's get the underdog of the new generation and the underdog in this legendary status right here and put this s--- together."
Before playing a track called "Get Lit," which was produced by The Internz," Luda again references his newfound motivation and acknowledges the lengthy hiatus between Ludaversal and his previous 2010 album, Battle of the Sexes. "This is album number eight, it's like a rebirth to me. but it's album number one to me and I'll never wait four years to drop another album again," he said.
Between giving a spin of the Just Blaze-produced outro, which samples Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," and closing out the listening session by playing his Miguel-assisted single, "Good Lovin'," Ludacris again explained his musical direction and state-of-mind while recording Ludaversal.
"It's a nice little array of good versatility of production, versatility of flows, versatility of subject matter and a little bit of everything," he told the crowd. "So this is an album I set out [for you] to listen from the very beginning all the way to the end. I think that it's not enough albums out these days where you can do that, so that's exactly what Ludaversal is all about."
"This is the turn up" he adds. "This is the 100 percent, all the way Ludacris going the f--- in, listening to what everybody's been asking me to do and just beast out, so it's like the old Luda mixed with the new Luda."
After listening to the album that night, we have to say that Ludacris's execution was flawless and that Ludaversal should definitely prove that the rambunctious ATL legend has delivered a solid album.