Album Review
Ludacris - Theater of the Mind Album Cover

Ludacris - Theater of the Mind

Reviewed by
LudacrisTheater Of The Mind
Release Date: November 24, 2008
Record Label: Def Jam/DTP
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
It was only a matter time before Chris Bridges, a.k.a. Ludacris, combined his two loves – hip-hop and cinema – into one record. Taking the themes of the movie industry and fusing them into his sixth album is pretty interesting, with Ludacris’ concept being that each track is a portrayal of a different scene in a movie. The thing with concepts is that when executed poorly, they’ll come off cheesy and unbearable. But with his seventh studio album, Theater of the Mind, Ludacris avoids the box office disaster.

Ludacris has a rather impressive back catalog. His last five albums have all been certified platinum, while his acting career is carrying along just as well. He was a supporting actor in the Best Picture Crash, and has starred in critically acclaimed movies such as Hustle & Flow. Yes, Luda has had quite the career and it wouldn’t come as any surprise if he just mailed it in on the new album and collected his paycheck. Instead he brings the heat on Theater, attempting to remind those in love with T.I. and Lil Wayne that he is still the king of the South.

Lyrically speaking, Ludacris offers up the witty puns and clever metaphors we’ve come to expect. Latest single, “One More Drink,” which features R&B hook-maker T-Pain, is similar in vibe and content to “Hoes In My Room,” a track featured on 2004’s Chicken N Beer. He boasts about his rep on “Undisputed,” and brags about his money with T.I. on “Wish You Would,” which features a sly beat.

“Southern Gangsta” is a different take on “American Gangster” from Jay-Z. Luda and other Southern rappers, including The Boss Rick Ross, smoothly rap over the slow, smoky beat. “Everybody Hates Chris” is interesting, as Ludacris explains why everyone is jealous of him. It’s a neat play off of the TV show of the same name, and even features Chris Rock in the intro and outro. The catchiest song belongs to “What Them Girls Like,” as it features an infectious hook sung by the dreamy Chris Brown.

While the first nine or ten tracks of Theater are the Luda tracks we expected, the final few tracks really take the album from good to really good. “Last Of A Dying Breed” is straight fire and brimstone. Featuring Lil Wayne (seriously whose album has he NOT appeared on?), Ludacris brings some of his strongest verses to date, as his flow spits hot fire. The combo of the Wyldfyer beat and the flow bring crushing results. “MVP” has a classic feel to it (and is the only track Ludacris appears by himself on), as Luda effortlessly breezes over a delicious DJ Premier joint. “I Do It For Hip Hop” is slick, as Luda, Nas, and Jay-Z explain their passions and priorities within the genre over a sleepy tune. Album closer, “Do The Right Thang,” is an eye-opener, featuring great production from 9th Wonder and great cameos from Spike Lee and Common.

In my mind, Ludacris is one of the more underrated artists in hip-hop. He is consistent, his lyrics, while not the greatest, are always well constructed, and his albums are always good for a sure-fire hit or two. But when Luda brings it like he does on the final four tracks, he is one of the best. Featuring 12 producers and 18 guests for the 14 tracks, you might think Theater would have too many cooks in the kitchen, but it sets up a nice, diverse flow and vibe throughout. Thanks to his furious flow, some great verses from featured artists like Nas, Common, and Weezy, and a strong finish, Ludacris’ Theater has achieved another blockbuster. Now we'll just wait for the sequel to get the green light.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Intro
2. Undisputed ft. Floyd “Money” Mayweather
3. Wish You Would ft. T.I.
4. One More Drink ft. T-Pain
5. Call Up The Homies ft. The Game and Willy Northpole
6. Southern Gangsta ft. Rick Ross, Playaz Circle, and Ving Rhames
7. Everybody Hates Chris ft. Chris Rock
8. What Them Girls Like ft. Chris Brown and Sean Garrett
9. Nasty Girl ft. Plies
10. Contagious ft. Jamie Foxx
11. Last Of A Dying Breed ft. Lil Wayne
12. MVP
13. I Do It For Hip Hop ft. Nas and Jay-Z
14. Do The Right Thang ft. Common and Spike Lee
Produced by: The Runners, Don Cannon, Toomp and 8TRIX, Trackmasters, Clinton Sparks & Kamau Georges, StreetRunner, Darkchild, Swizz Beatz, Scott Storch, Wyldfyer, DJ Premier, 9th Wonder

Official Website; Official Myspace

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 51
11:49 PM on 11/30/08
The Protagonist of Loneliness
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billyboatkid's Avatar
I actually like this album a lot.

Would have given it a higher score on lyrics and creativity. Good review though.

Love MVP.
12:27 AM on 12/01/08
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WhoSaidThat?'s Avatar
Great review, man! Lovin' this album.
04:54 AM on 12/01/08
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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Klatzke's Avatar
I really love this album. "Last of a Dying Breed" is tight.
06:27 AM on 12/01/08
"No more half measures Walt"
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batmannj's Avatar
this is a lot better than that crap kanye is trying to peddle.
08:13 AM on 12/01/08
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ZeoVGM's Avatar
this is a lot better than that crap kanye is trying to peddle.
This album is fantastic, but calling Kanye's new album crap is absolutely insane. It's one of the years best.
08:13 AM on 12/01/08
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ZeoVGM's Avatar
Oh, and "I Do It For Hip Hop" fucking destroys. So good.
08:18 AM on 12/01/08
"No more half measures Walt"
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batmannj's Avatar
This album is fantastic, but calling Kanye's new album crap is absolutely insane. It's one of the years best.

well i will agree to disagree with you. i think part of my problem is that kanye is so full of himself and all the antics he pulls at awards shows, i just cant get into his music.
08:20 AM on 12/01/08
speaking hot fire
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Manbotisdead's Avatar
I feel like every major rap release this year, barring Q-Tip has been lacking. I need to listen to this though, just the same.
08:28 AM on 12/01/08
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
wow... so its better than 808s and heartbreak??????
08:48 AM on 12/01/08
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superBMRuth's Avatar
wow... so its better than 808s and heartbreak??????

you can't really compare the two, one's southern hip-hop with a bite and the other is "singing" about feelings.
09:00 AM on 12/01/08
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sweitz03's Avatar
ludacris has always been that fun, lite hearthearted rapper for me. his last album didnt do it for me, but this is right back to where it needs to be for me.

808's had it's songs, but idk, ever since i downloaded ive been force feeding it down my throat and i just cant get into it.
09:01 AM on 12/01/08
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
just because luda's gone platinum 5x doesnt mean all his albums are good. he hasnt done anything for me since word of mouf
09:23 AM on 12/01/08
The Swordsman
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Throwback's Avatar
I really like this record.
10:18 AM on 12/01/08
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"Youse A Ho" is his best song. Ever.

"Why you think you take a ho to a hotel?"

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