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The 2006 album "Release Therpay", is the sixth album (or fifth if you ignore "Incognegro" by the Atlanta rapper Ludacris. It marks a change for the rapper as he rejuvinates himslef by cutting off his cornrows in exchange for a fade. In doing this, he decided that it was time that he shoudl grow up, and turn himself away from the misogynous past.
Here is a big starter to really get you going, and make you ready for some music from Luda, just as other intros which he has performed in the past, he comes out to a big, high-energy beat, with some in-your-face rhymes to let you knwo that you are in for some music from Luda, who is just as he has always been, and not any different after getting his hair cut.
2. "Grew up A Screw Up"
This is a banger of a tune, and it it a great way to show that he has managed to bring in additional style of the Dirty South into his music, in order to make it work for himself. Here he uses the 'Screwed' technique in his speech to emphasise the way his life was as he grew up. Using this also manages to make sure that you are aware of the fact that he has gone away from the jovial rhymes, and is now getting serious with the listener for a change. It is one of the most effective tunes on the album, and show a shift in the direction of the rapper.
3. "Money Maker"
Here you get Luda and The Neptunes come together for a big collaboration, and as always, the signature Neptunes sound is given for this one, and has him performing a club-suited track, which matches the trends of 2006. The content of the track has Luda do some raps for the clubs too, but for once they are more radio-friendly.
4. "Girls Gone Wild"
Here is another track produced by Pharrell and Chad Hugo, as The Neptunes, however I found that it it was much less effective than before with "money Maker". Here Luda reverts to is old days of rapping, but not the classic times, the ones wher he would just rap abot silly things to get himself through a track, so i didn't really thing too highly in regards to this one.
5. "Ultimate Satisfaction"
I was extremely impressed by this tune as it has Luda use a remixed version of the Electro tune "Satisfaction", by Benny Benassi to his advantage, by having Rich Skillz switch this annoying beat into something which you could only describe as "Crunk". It is an incredible track as the production is so inventive, and Luda, with the DTP signees Field Mob come up with some great results.
6. "Mouths To Feed"
I liked the way that in this one, Luda manages to make everything come together to match in with the subject which his track focussed upon. Here you have him talk about how he hasn't got time to waste in regards to bringing out new material, and going on outside ventures in order to support his income, and therefore support the many people who depend upon him.
7. "End Of The Night"
On some Happy Perez production, Luda recruits the fellow ATL native, Bobby Valention on this album (as he collaborated on "Pimpin' All Over The World" on "Red Light District"), and here he comes to give Luda's work a little boost with his R&B vocals. Here he is neede as Luda goes for one directed towards the girls, and it makes it a lot more inviting to the listener.
To follow-on from the track which came before it, this one has Luda perform a sensual track for the girls, and here to replace Bobby V, he upgrades to R. Kelly, and you have a nice Luda/Kellz collab for the album, but it lacked the energy to be considered as strong as other material on "Release Therapy".
9. "Tell It Like It Is"
To add to the variety of production on this album, the producer, Omen, comes on this track to give Luda some deep beats, in order to bring down his rhymes and make them a lot more serious than he usually does. Here, on his fifth album, he decides to exlplain the journey whihc is expected if you are considering such a career as what he has undertaken.
10. "War With God"
Dre & Videl give the beat for this one as Luda gets into some rhymes whihc he hasn't really doen in the past. Although it's all over now, here you have Luda directly calling out fellow-Atlanta rapper T.I. in the tune and ripping into him, as their beef was only heard through the music, it was never stated that the words where to Tip, and no other, however, everything seems to poitn in that direction.
11. "Do Your Time"
I found this to be a strong track from Luda as it gives you sometihng very thought-provoking and differnet from the artit. You will probably notice the lack of associations which the featured rappers, Beanie Sigel, C-Murder and Pimp C have, but what brings them together is their individual experiences of beign incarcerated, and this one has the musicians talking about the various experiences which such people go through.
This is a fun track by Luda and has him rapping whilst in a mood where nothing is going right, and so he just comments on all the little things in life which annoy him, and make him what to just slap people around the face. Despite his state of mind, the rapper manages to keep you involved with all his little funny lines and references to popular culture.
13. "Runaway Love"
Here is a highly emotive piece from Ludacris, and it has him performing in a new way to suit the fact that he has matured as an artist and as a man. Here he utilises a sample of "La Di Da Di", and uses this Slick Rick backdrop to give us a story, which Slick Rick was known for most. The collaboration with Mary J. Blige, is something new from 'Cris and it appears to be highly effective as she is able to create such an eerie atmosphere with her voice.
14. "Freedom Of Preach"
To suit the fact that Luda has 'grown up' by this point, and turned 28 when he released this album, he gets into some raps which have him reflecting over his journey in his career, and also giving words of advice to those who he doesn't expect to pln for the future.
15. "We Ain't Worried Bout U"
Here you have Luda in a decent track, I wouldn't say that it is as strong as some of the material off this release, but it is far from being near to the weaker end of it. As with a lot of his popular releases, it works with some repetition, but unlike most wher he does it, it brings down the standard of the tune. The themes of this are rather average too, and doesn't really offer anything new from him.
I would have to say that this was a rather disappointing album from Ludacris, and possibly marking out the poitn where the downfall begins, however with a track such as "War With God", you et to realise that more potential as come out, since he has closed off other paths by claiming that he has grown up (thus preventing him from doing something like "The Red Light District" again, which is a shame as it was my favourite album from him.
As Ludacris' most recent release, this is a good CD on which to judge his current standard. In my opinion, this album has its moments, but like all Ludacris albums, it is prone to some weak tracks. Plenty in fact in the case of this album. Fans of his previous albums may find themselves slightly gutted.
The few opening tracks all have a fair amount of charm.
1. Warning (Intro): What more can I say about this than, its an intro. Ludacris tends to have fairly long intro's. Nothing different here.
2. Grew Up A Screw Up: One of the stronger starts of the album with a decent verse by Luda, but then its destroyed by some poor southern rap, guest stars. I would be surprised if you skip the rest of the track after Luda's verse.
3: Money Maker: Not a bad club tune, should have girls dancing in true crunk fashion. Used as a single so it appeals to the mainstream. Not too bad
4: Girls Gone Wild: The only track on the CD that lives up to expectations. Ludacris really does rap well throughout with a skillful flow and some decent punchlines. BEST TRACK. (I'd suggets just downloading this on its own.)
From here, the tracks really become difficult to listen and very few of them warrant any further comment. Track 9 (Tell It Like It Is) is a fairly decent tirade against the music industry but the aggressive style of the track means that only committed hip-hop fans will truly enjoy it.
Track 11 (Do Your Time) is another fair track but once again, I would not rate it very highly. This track deals with the issue of imprisonment but again will only appeal to certain types of listener.
Track 13 (Runaway Love) features Mary J. Blige and was another single. It has a reasonable rhythm and hook but falls into the trap of being a little too cheesy and cliché when dealing with touchy subjects.
The final track (14) (Freedom of Preach) Is not without its charm but in all honesty it is difficult to explain. It has a kind of Gospel Church Sermon vibe.
Any tracks I haven't mentioned by name are so bad they were not worthy of review. Most of them tend to feature some Southern guests who rap like a bunch of infants.
This album is fairly disappointing overall and most people except the hardcore will struggle to find more than one or two tracks they enjoy.
The album lacks real substance and doesn't say very much that will make an impact. My advice is to buy another Ludacris album. There are far better releases from him, or if you own them all, maybe search for another artist. There are much much better Hip-Hop releases available. Sorry Luda.
Also posted on ciao.co.uk
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Warning (Intro)
2 Grew Up a Screw Up - Ludacris, Young Jeezy
3 Money Maker - Ludacris, Pharrell
4 Girls Gone Wild
5 Ultimate Satisfaction - Field Mob, Ludacris
6 Mouths to Feed
7 End of the Night - Ludacris, Bobby Valentino, Bobby Valentino
9 Tell It Like It Is
10 War with God
11 Do Your Time - Ludacris, , Beanie Sigel
13 Runaway Love - Mary J. Blige, Ludacris
14 Freedom of Preach