Review Summary: With quality production, careless lyrics and a new flow, Ludacris makes a pretty damn good mixtape.
#IDGAF (I Don't Give a ***), is a reminder to professional critics and regular audiences alike that Ludacris, despite his new-found stardom in the Fast and the Furious film series, is still a rapper. Although this isn't a full release, I doubt while being knee deep in promoting his latest film that Luda's had the time or energy to work on a project of that magnitude. Unlike a mixtape, an album requires having to deal with record labels, which he has had many troubles with in the past. Self-released material, although it lacks expensive production and promotion, gives the artist a great amount of creative control, which is a huge benefit for Ludacris. This mixtape is sort of like a trailer for what's to come, and should have any diehard/casual Ludacris fan waiting patiently for his promised next album. The production bangs incredibly hard, Ludacris is fully capable of flowing naturally to suit the beats, and his hooks are well-constructed. While this mixtape more like Battle of the Sexes than anything else he's put out, the good news is that #IDGAF is in the vein of "How Low" and "Everybody Drunk" and not the horrifically bad filler tracks. It isn't perfect, as most tapes can be rough around the edges, but for the most part, it's worth the download.
The production for #IDGAF is phenomenal, especially for a mixtape. There's a great deal of beats here that wouldn't appear out of place on a studio release. A few tracks stand out in particular, such as "Hell of a Night" and "IDGAF". Hard-hitting drums, creative placement of vocal samples/ad-libs, and sub-testing bass give the entire tape an aesthetic as if this was meant to be played front to back in a club atmosphere. A couple of tracks have a less professional sound such as "Speak Into The Mic", and "Mad Fo", but they still fit well in the context of the release, and aren't difficult to listen to by any means. In general, I wish more mixtapes featured big-time producers like Bangladesh and Mike Will Made It.
Some fans may criticize Ludacris' flow on this tape. Perhaps it's because his new method of rapping sounds gimmicky, or might be criticized for not retaining a lot of personality. It's very structured and focused on following the beat. Maybe his new flow may not be appreciated by many fans of the older Ludacris. His new cadence and rhythm is likely a result of Luda getting used to these new, polished club banger beats, which he admittably doesn't have much experience with. Although Luda is by no means a stranger to club bangers, these are sound unique to the likes of Tyga and 2Chainz which he likely has never rapped over, so #IDGAF should be considered an ambitious experiment. Personally, while listening to this mixtape, I was a fan of Ludacris' new flow. I think it's a good for an artist to experiment try new things. Of course there are moments that remind us old-school Luda fans of what made us fall in love with his work in the first place, but if this is where he is creatively I think it's up for us fans to support it.
The lyrics on the album are not expertly written, but Ludacris has never been a deep artist. He's got a lot of punchlines and moments here that either make you laugh, or are cheeky enough to put a smile on your face. "Hurry up and get a picture on yo iPhone, and turn around, bend over but let me get one on my phone!" "Niggas robbin' in the hood, we don't sweat that! Throw some some red dots up on your head and connect that!" And not to mention Ludacris has some incredibly catchy/badass hooks here. "Keep my name out your motha***in' mouth, 'cause I was raised in the motha***in' south!" The entire album, especially with its lyrics, truly convinces the listeners that Luda really doesn't give a ***. The lyrics at times were a bit simplistic, but I neither expect anything meticulously crafted or deep from Ludacris, nor do I think he has it in him. But if you want thought-provoking rap, pop in a Common CD.
Overall, despite not having the budget to be filled with beats as good as "Hell of a Night", Ludacris still getting the hang of his new flow/production, and an occasional lack of interesting wordplay, #IDGAF is worth the download, and will make you excited as hell for Ludaversal. Hopefully, it'll be just as fun of an experience.