Ludacris

Beat Box

Phases and Stages

Ludacris

Chicken-N-Beer (Def Jam South) Ludacris offers hip-hop something all too rare in these feud-ridden times: a sense of humor. Granted, it's the type of humor that believes a 6-year-old saying, "We about to let our nuts hang," is inherently hilarious (which it is), but it also proves to be a most effective weapon against haters. Set against a backdrop of dissonant horror-movie strings, "Blow It Out" (..."ya ass") is a deliciously over-the-top riposte in which Luda announces, "I'm the new phenomenon, like white women with ass." On his third outing, the charismatic former DJ remains devoted to hanging with his boys, detailing how he came to be on top of the game, and pulling as much tail as humanly possible. "Splash Waterfalls," "P-Poppin'," and "Teamwork" are as lewd as a Players magazine pictorial, and "Hoes in My Room," an easygoing slice of G-funk featuring Snoop Dogg, is a sidesplitting account of groupies gone wild. Elsewhere, Eightball & MJG show up to reminisce about "Hard Times," Houston underground phenom Lil' Flip introduces 'Cris to the joys of syrup on "Screwed Up," and the entire Disturbing the Peace crew -- including rookie of the year Chingy and the excellently named Tity Boi -- shows up to act menacing on "We Got." Throughout, Ludacris' wordplay is sharp, tight, and filthy, filthy, filthy. He's still Bill O'Reilly's worst nightmare, because his idea of Fox News is a closed-circuit camera in a strip club dressing room. And God bless him for it.

***.5

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