nice to be ludacris. Twenty years after the “Fast and the Furious” action-adventure series made his debut in 2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the Atlanta rapper and actor is poised to take on a stardom. Hollywood Walk of Fame same weekQuick X” premieres. Such attention is nothing new for Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. As an artist, he has sold over 24 million albums worldwide since he started making music with the independent “Incognegro” in 1999. From there, it’s a Def Jam contract and hits like “Act a Fool” and “Stand Up” as well as Usher’s “Yes!”
For a man who hasn’t made a new album since 2015, the “Dirty South” rapper is kicking off his schedule with newly booked music concerts in Miami Beach in May and Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Weekend at Resorts World Las Vegas is doing. July. spoken bridges Variation about starting the radio, how timbaland discovered him, and the way business school guided him through a long career in the hip-hop game.
Multiple hyphens bridging hip-hop and other media claim that hip-hop is part of everything they do, even when they’re not rapping. Is this true for you?
No way. That’s the point of trying to pretend. i take myself outside The person Ludacris is. Maybe during the transition period when I made my first “Fast and the Furious” movie, I had a bit of hip-hop in me because the role required it. But as the film progresses and evolves, my goal is to break up the hip-hop part.
Your name is Atlanta and is synonymous with “Dirty South”. Still, you’re from Champagne, Illinois, and you went to Georgia at age 8.
My father lived in Atlanta and as a kid I always wanted to be there for him. There was already a booming music scene in Atlanta and I already knew what I wanted to do at that young age. Labels like LaFace and SoSo Def were there. Atlanta was the Motown of the South. I wanted to hang out with my dad and be in this music paradise – the right place at the right time to follow my passion.
What do you remember about your first rap?
I made my debut when I was 9 years old. Still, I lied and told people I was 10 years old. The first rhyme I wrote was: “I’m good/I can be bad/10/But I can’t survive without my girlfriend.” I also knew I was talented because when I went to school [and rapped] they wanted more from me in front of my friends. The next day, there were even more people gathered. … I began to feel that I might be up to something. This gave me confidence to move forward.
You started your music business through radio, working at Atlanta’s Hot 97. How did that happen?
It’s been nine years since that first rap. [Laughs.] I’m 18, fresh out of high school, and I realized Hot 97 was the first person in the area to play hip-hop 24/7. I had a manager who was a rival to Hot 97 at the time, who only rapped at night but was an intern at a station that had been established for longer. I decided to intern at Hot 97 so each of us had a plan of attack, we took them from all sides. It was only a matter of time before one of the two biggest stations in Atlanta listened to my demo. Our plan of attack didn’t work right away: my internship turned into a job. But working at the station, making people realize that I didn’t want them to just portray me as a rapper, made me a local celebrity. While making money and hosting club concerts, he was in the vein of hip-hop and everything I love. I can invest in myself and make an independent album, “Incognegro”.
You met Timbaland on Hot 97. It became important to your career early on and continues to be collaborative. What kind of friendship is this?
I had just started doing ins and outs for station personalities with their own four-hour broadcast boosts on Hot 97. Timbaland heard about my promotions for one of our athletes who went to the station for an interview. Tim asked about me and we started this great relationship with tracks like “Fat Rabbit”. As for the on-air personality who introduced me to Timbaland, that person is one of my managers today. Everything comes full circle. All the jingles I’ve done and Timbaland asking me has brought me to where I am now.
When you finally started recording, you sold them out of your trunk. Is this experience linked to your study of music management at the State of Georgia?
One hundred percent. To have a long-term career in this industry, you must have a solid foundation. Mine was based on starting small, going my own way, independently and locally. My Disturbing Peace label. I started in Atlanta and branched out. It was a solid foundation. I teamed up with Southern Music Distribution, the team that worked with Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins at the time. When I was 21, I got $7 off each album, sold 50,000 records, and got a $350,000 check. This was great, but to progress you need to have negotiation skills while doing this on your own. A big company comes to you, offers you a contract, you should know that they can do for you what they cannot do for you. All of this came together when I went to Georgia State on a part-time basis while I was still working at the radio station as my music management minor and business major. I had a good head on my shoulders when it came to understanding business contracts.
Your stream is one of hip-hop’s most unique — like a slide trombone swallowing the oboe. How did you develop this tone?
It was the excitement of loving hip-hop, appreciating other artists, developing my own style, not just from rappers but also from comedians. When I was a kid I used to watch “Def Comedy Jam”, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence until late. Laughter is great for the soul. Combine that with hip-hop and you know where I come from. Also, working on the radio helped with diction and pronunciation. You are talking to a million or more people at the same time. This definitely played a role in my vocal development.
You were selling tons of records by yourself. What did they offer you beyond prestige when you switched to Def Jam?
Yes, we sold records in Atlanta, and that fame spread to other cities in the USA. But Def Jam took the world stage with their marketing dollars to keep me there. This growth has allowed other opportunities. Everything is a job. Sometimes if you play your cards right, you’ll sacrifice to get something bigger. Teamwork makes the dream come true.
Did working with Def Jam mean anything to you spiritually?
Definitely. I was the first artist they signed from the south. This was risky for us at first, as we didn’t know if Def Jam knew how to market a Southern artist. This was a New York label featuring New York artists like Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, LL Cool J. I would either be put in my own category or fly beyond any category to new heights.
Looking back, there were people on their and my side who worried that Def Jam wouldn’t know what to do with me. I’m proud of how everything works, how things are handled. I can’t appreciate Def Jam more. And they weren’t the only companies that wanted me back then. We did shopping. You name it – Atlantic, Elektra, Columbia – we were talking. Our choice was Def Jam. Their history and having Scarface as president of Def Jam South – I really admired him – made the difference. They weren’t even the ones who offered the most money. Def Jam had a better foundation, a better plan. They knew how to help the Ludacris brand reach its full potential.
What was the image you wanted to reveal, especially in your videos?
There were a lot of rappers back then who couldn’t show anything beyond this really serious, tough person. I wanted to be myself – to bring something fun to the table. The one I had wasn’t there to sell drugs – nothing against anyone who does. I continued to be witty, using clever metaphors and nursery rhymes that combined elements of theater and film so that I could be myself and set myself apart from others. I wanted to be versatile. If you’ve listened to my albums or watched my videos, I wanted to take you on a rollercoaster ride full of emotion and laughter.
If one Variation What would your radio personality say if he told Ludacris, who quit “Chris Lova Lova” or “Incognegro”, that he would get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
“Get the hell out of here.” Not because one star is not possible. I don’t think I can see that far. When it came to music, I wore blinders back then because I knew I had a lot to prove. Now, in film and music, I have a lot to prove – the two most sought after dreams in the world, rock stars and movie stars. I love him.
What: Ludacris starred on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
When: 11:30 am, May 18
Where: 6426 Hollywood Blvd.