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Ludacris has become something of a legend in modern rap, a combination of his exuberant personality, his excellent sped up flow, his former hair styles and the inflection he puts in his voice.
So here we are in 2010 and Ludacris is now releasing his 7th studio album and after consistently selling the question is what substance does this album have?
Well at first I was intrigued by the album title and was perhaps optimistic about some kind of concept album. Well after hearing this album, the hopes of a concept album were certainly left wanting.
This album utilises thick heavy southern club beats which dominate the music and are definitely aimed at appealing to females. The lyrics are innuendos or just blatantly sexual with a large number of guest appearances to provide the vocals.
This album has me shaking my head in absolute disbelief, firstly the positive, Ludacris has fantastic delivery which is impeccable over these southern fried beats. However this album is so cynical and such an incredible dilution of genuine rap that I struggle to fully articulate how puerile this is.
There is no depth to the lyrics, a handful of punch lines is the deepest this goes. All of the songs are just driven by the topic of females, but they are not interesting, they are simply boastful or alluding to sex. Every one of these songs has very much a club feel to them and it's like he has now completely turned his back on his male fan base as I can't see many guys liking this.
Not taking "Incognegro" into account, "Battle Of The Sexes" came as Ludacris' seventh solo record in 2010. A concept album, it finds him bringing a release which finds him rapping on all subjects relating to women and is being given immediate response on the female side with guest appearances from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Lil' Kim and Trina. The Atlanta rapper initially hoped for this to be a duet album with him and Shawnna before she left his Disturbing Tha Peace label, but it appears that it has done nothing but help as it has allowed many more of the best in female Rap talent come show what they have to offer here alongside him.
2. "How Low"
He kicks the album off in the best way possible as we see that he comes in with the lead single to the record. A straight killer of a tune, it has him showing that in spite of being ten years in the game, he's still fully-capable of hitting listeners with a good-quality club banger for all to get down with. It was great to see him kick the thing off in such a way to give us a strong impression of the potential to come as we progress through the album.
3. "My Chick Bad"
After one directed towards the girls to get them dancing, we find that we have the first of many collaborative recordings on the thing. Here we find that we have Luda performing alongside Young Money's Nicki Minaj. On it, the two of them go hard and make for another great single that would see a fair bit of success and act as a strong promotional tool on the way towards him putting this record out.
4. "Everybody Drunk"
A track that was originally recorded with Shawnna on it, here we find that things have been alteraed significantly as she is replaced by Lil' Scrappy. The two of them go for a raw track that shows that the raw end of Atlanta are still able to come up with heavy Crunk material (in spite of the fact that the height of its popularity has passed). Here they go for the kind of thing that came about in Memphis before making its way towards Georgia and makes for a straight killer.
5. "I Do It All Night"
We see that Shawnna's contributions to this album weren't completely forgotten about as here we get one where she comes to rap with Luda. Somehow we get another banger of a tune that I really can't see people having any problems with as its nothing but more of that rough club stuff that you tend to get out of Dirty South performers such as these. It fits right in here and forces similarities with his breakthrough years.
6. "Sex Room"
With a title such as the one that we get her, we see that here Luda excites us by providing a key artist who you would expect to get with a track that is predictably sexually-explicit as Trey Songz gets to do his thing here. I thought that it was a nice change to all of the heavy club-suited tracks thusfar and reminds you of Luda's "Splash Waterfalls" and shows you how he's matured over the years to come with such sensual stuff by this point.
7. "I Know You Got A Man"
Here he opens things back up towards the more lively material and the kind of thing that you could expect to here in a club. We see that here he recruits Flo-Rida to do his thing with. Although I really can't say that I like the work of the guest rapper, he seems to suit the way that things are done here and so it makes for a pretty heavy tune that is bound to surprise those who typical discount his work with having another quality come along with it.
8. "Hey Ho"
We see that things stay strong, and although it isn't quite as hardcore as the sort of thing that we've heard up to this point, we still get some quality material here. On it, we find that he is joined by both Lil' Fate and Lil' Kim for a tune that has them speaking on the viewpoints of men and women when it comes to people who sleep around for an interesting tune. It's the sort of thing that you expect to get on the record, but it uncovered the fact that Lil' Kim has gone on to attempt Nicki Minaj's style of rapping.
9. "Party No Mo'"
Here we get more of that Crunk stuff as we see that he's joined by another Atlanta name. For this one Ludacris teams-up with Gucci Mane and together they go out for a tune that has them going off about just how wasted they are getting through the night as they just get lost under the influence of everything that they're getting up to here. It brings the standards back up and forces you to liven back up.
10. "B.O.T.S. Radio"
Here we get an interesting tune and a little something that has Luda coming out with a track that has him setting up a radio hotline where the people are able to call in and speak on their relationship issues. 'Phoning-in' here we have Luda, I-20 and Shawnna here as they go off on some beats from The Runners and make for a nice one where they do a great job at showing what this album was intended for.
11. "Can't Live With You"
Here we see that we get a bit of a change in direction as here Luda isn't joined by another rapper and instead gets the aid of a local R&B singer in Monica. The two Atlanta musicians make for a heavy one on Khao's production as they go out to make a tune that sounds as though it would have done well as a single as we have Luda speaking directly upon standard relationship issues that often come up.
12. "Feelin' So Sexy"
After a rather intense piece where Luda's gets really hyped-up, we see that he lets it all loose for this one. Here we have Shawnna ringing Luda up and letting him know just how she's feeling and why exactly she wants him to hurry himself up and get around to her house to do what they speak of during the phonecall. It's a straight killer track and they way that their lines bounce off each other make it stand right out here.
13. "Tell Me A Secret"
Moving things on here, we see that for this one we get another where h gets a little help from a prominent name in the R&B world. Here he gets help from Ne-Yo on the song's hook and it seems to do a great job of completing the tune. I thought that it was a nice inclusion to the album and one that seems to calm things down a little when you consider just how many heavy tunes that we get here.
14. "My Chick Bad" (Remix)
A remix to a track found earlier on the album, here we see that Nicki Minaj is replaced by an all-star line-up of female rappers as we see that we go from A-Town with Diamond (formerly of Crime Mob), from there we move on towards Miami and we find that there Trina comes out with her raw self and ensures that she's heard. Finally it moves on towards the East Coast as we make it to Philadelphia and Eve completes another killer on the album.
This is a great way to end the album and one that you're bound to enjoy. Starting off with an interlude where he mocks the Tiger Woods situation, we see that here he gets the help of The Neptunes to come out with a track that has him rhyming about how he's getting detoxed for his sex addiction after having text messages read by his partner. It makes for a heavy track to end a killer record.
This is a killer album from Luda and in spite of being just a concept album, finds him still able to come up with the same levels of quality that you expect of his more general ones. There's a lot to like about it and I'm sure that if you like one tune on it then you'll feel the same towards many more of them.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro (Ludacris/Battle Of The Sexes) - Ludacris
2 How Low - Ludacris
3 My Chick Bad - Ludacris, Nicki Minaj
4 Everybody Drunk - Ludacris, Lil Scrappy
5 I Do It All Night - Ludacris
6 Sex Room - Ludacris, Trey Songz
7 I Know You Got A Man - Ludacris, Flo Rida
8 Hey Ho - Ludacris, Lil' Kim, Lil Fate
9 Party No Mo' - Ludacris, Gucci Mane
10 B.O.T.S. Radio - Ludacris, I-20
11 Can't Live With You - Ludacris, Monica
12 Feelin' So Sexy - Ludacris
13 Tell Me A Secret - Ludacris, Ne-Yo
14 My Chick Bad Remix - Ludacris, Diamond, Trina, Eve
15 Sexting - Ludacris