Born Chris Bridges, Ludacris is an American rapper, actor, and pop culture icon, with over two decades of creative portfolio to unpack and dissect. With multiple chart-topping albums and singles, as well as many a Grammy Award nomination and win, Ludacris is a globally recognised superstar, carrying a reputation few can rival.
Chris’ formative years were spent in Atlanta, where he studied at Georgia State while working on a local radio station as a DJ – it was here that he met legendary producer Timbaland, and was given his big break on Fat Rabbit in 1998, which was also his rap debut. Incognegro, his debut independent album, released in 2000 and just about reached into the back end of the Billboard 200 charts through nothing but word of mouth; when signed later that year by Def Jam South, the album was repackaged as Back for the First Time, which was sent to number 4 in the Billboard 200 and subsequently shot Luda and his profanity-laden, southern take on hip-hop, to superstardom.
Follow-up records came by way of Word of Mouf and Chicken-N-Beer, with both going high into the charts and the latter getting number one in ‘03, the same year that Luda took a shot at transcending musical stardom and tried his hand at acting. Featuring alongside legends Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes and Vin Diesel in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ludacris has since appeared in five other instalments in the iconic movie franchise, playing Tej Parker, a friend of Brian O’Connor’s that helps him out in street races through technical expertise. Tej’s first appearance in the series is in a Kangol bucket, wife beater and chains, as he hosts a massive party outside his garage.
In 2021, with the rap and film game arrows in his quiver, Ludacris is the embodiment of an entire era of hip-hop and pop culture, and still hops onto the mic from time to time to release new tunes. Leaving Luda out of any noughties rap conversation is absolutely criminal, hence the importance of knowing his history.