Ludacris
Theater of the Mind


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
January 8th, 2009 | 40 replies | 6,195 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Luda mixes the silver screen with his somewhat comedic brand of Dirty South and creates the ultimate tie-in product.

Ludacris loves movies. He loves movies so much he made an entire album around them. Luda has always been one of the most entertaining rappers to watch and listen to, more for his ridiculous lines and outrageous, sharp humor than any redeeming social qualities. And as most rappers tend to do, he as parlayed his musical success into other ventures: in his case a blossoming film career, making Theater of the Mind the logical progression to his career. The three-time Grammy award winner has always been the class clown of the Dirty South scene, and Theater of the Mind is nothing if not an absolute embrace of this image. Crass and vulgar, with beats that slam and bounce with no respect for dynamics or subtlety, Ludacris’ latest is popcorn entertainment at its finest.

Beginning with the intro, a “please-quiet-down-the-movie-is-about-to-begin” skit that sounds like a mixture between Pirates of the Caribbean and Atlanta’s hottest club cinema, Theater of the Mind pounds home its loose concept by calling each guest rapper a “co-star” with each song supposedly corresponding to a specific scene from a movie. The production is self-assured and more of what one has come to expect from a Ludacris record: thumping bass ‘n drums, an active horn section, and vintage R&B samples to complement the synths and occasional sound effects.

The lyrical content is exactly what you would expect from Ludacris. Second single “One More Drink” co-starring T-Pain (a man who never ceases in buying you another drank), is a fairly hilarious tale of Luda’s drunken adventures with less-than-attractive women combined with Pain’s lovely observation that “if I take one more drink / I’m gonna end up ***in’ youuuuuu.” The lyrical genius continues on “MVP,” with the rapper bragging that “women say I talk more game than John Madden” and advising that “she should blow me like candles on your b-day / ‘cuz I signed more lines than she’s passed on the freeway.” Deep he is not.

The “co-stars” are what you would expect from an artist of Ludacris’ caliber, ranging from T.I.’s fierce verse on “Wish You Would” to Chris Brown’s charm on the repetitive, formulaic club jam “What Them Girls Like.” The best spots, however, are those that you don’t see coming but fit perfectly into Ludacris’ hip-hop theater. Boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the epic “Undisputed” is spot-on, and when Ving Rhames announces that Ludacris is a “true entrepre-negro” and has “expanded his empire into multiple profitable businesses, including his Thai food restaurant,” you can’t help but admit that Luda is, indeed, a born entertainer.

Theater of the Mind, however, has some slow spots you’d just rather skip through like in every DVD. “Nasty Girl” is an increasingly outrageous sequence of working ladies who (surprise!) turn into freaks when the lights go out that is as tired a cliché as any on this record without an interesting beat to back it up. “Call Up Your Homies” is your typical “gather up the crew” anthem that you’ve probably heard a dozen times before. “Contagious,” co-starring Jamie Foxx, however, is the worst offender here; the kind of slow-jam ballad that you cringe upon hearing; it’s the awkward sex scene spliced into the middle of an otherwise great motion picture.

The highlight of the record, however, is the optimistic “Do The Right Thang” co-starring Common and Spike Lee. The exact opposite of much of the rest of the album, it’s a plea urging urban youth to stop and “use your brain,” making for one of Luda’s most immediate and meaningful songs, a sharp contrast to the other tracks. When the track blows up into a horn-laden ‘70s funk jam and Luda proclaims “I see the sunshine gazing through window pane / blazing like indo flame, it’s time to wake up,” it’s a heartfelt closer to a record that, while it does have its missteps, remains a guaranteed chart-topping hit.

Ludacris may not be the most socially conscious rapper. He prefers rapping about geographically diverse hoes and the size of his bank account to the plights of urban decay and drugs. He has starred in such cinematic achievements as Max Payne and Rocknrolla. Theater of the Mind is, in essence, exactly what you would expect from the purveyor of such hits as “Move Bitch” and “Pimpin’ All Over The World,” but much like Ludacris’ stint in Crash, Theater of the Mind shows a Luda who can be mature, intelligent, and surprising as well as wildly entertaining.



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 8th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

finally
i'd say this is a 3. your review is okay, but revolves more around content... pretty unecessary, no one listening to ludacris cares. i was looking for laughs and something to dance drunk to, tbh.
you pretty much skipped the production side of the album... pretty important facet to at least note.
solid review, although i did notice you had a harder time writing about something you weren't terribly enamored with. it reads a bit more mechanically. your last sentence is awkward as well.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

bastard
January 8th 2009



3435 Comments


this is pretty good album.

nice review.

withintention
January 8th 2009



297 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this album is alright

dub sean
January 8th 2009



979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Last of a Dying Breed is so sick

st4ytrue
January 8th 2009



279 Comments


NO ONE who listens to Ludacris cares about content, NO ONE.

cbmartinez
January 8th 2009



2525 Comments


i do it for hip hop is so good

withintention
January 8th 2009



297 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Last of a Dying Breed and I Do it For Hip-Hop are the best, def.

Phantom
January 8th 2009



8930 Comments


Last Luda album I heard was Word Of Mouf. I think I might check this out, it sounds fun.

Good review.This Message Edited On 01.08.09

AtavanHalen
January 8th 2009



17927 Comments


LUDA!
Werd to this review's mother.

dub sean
January 9th 2009



979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

NO ONE who listens to Ludacris cares about content, NO ONE.


I do.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 9th 2009



4830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i care about his punchlines and humour, not social consciousness.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2009



9996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kings speaks the truth

bastard
January 9th 2009



3435 Comments



NO ONE who listens to Ludacris cares about content, NO ONE.


Immortal Technique

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2009



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Everybody Hates Chris is an awesome song

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

bastard
January 9th 2009



3435 Comments


That and Do It For Hip Hop are my favorite songs off this album.

illmitch
January 10th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol

st4ytrue
January 10th 2009



279 Comments


Not necessarily, see: entire underground hip-hop scene.

illmitch
January 10th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2009



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do quite enjoy underground hip hop like Nas and Chamillionaire

illmitch
January 10th 2009



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol



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