Ludacris :: Word of Mouf
Label: Def Jam South
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
Here's a safe prediction: when Mystikal drops a new album, the first
single will be produced by Timbaland. Here's another prediction: the hook
will be sung by Nate Dogg. These days, those are the two surest ways to
score a crossover hit as a rapper from the West or the South.
Ludacris took no chances with having his (major label) sophomore album
slump - he used both. By having the advance single "Area Codes" (featured
in the film "Rush Hour 2") feature Nate Dogg crooning the hook, 'Cris
built up a strong buzz for the debut of his new LP "Word of Mouf." And
you guessed it, the follow-up song "Rollout (My Business)" is a Timbaland
beat. Well hey, it worked for Petey Pablo and Bubba Sparxxx right? And
you really can't fault the choice here, because Timbaland hooks up some
horny horn sounds not heard since "Shut Up" by Trick Daddy.
Despite making some predictable choices to spur album sales, one should be
thankful that Ludacris has no "What's Ya Fantasy Part II" on this album.
The topic matter is pretty standard fare for this rapper though: kinky
sex, big balling, and humerous snaps. Freaky girls trying to front like
virgins get their cards pulled on "She Said", "Move Bitch" featuring
Mystikal is an anthem for drinking and fighting, and "Saturday (Oooh!
Oooh!)" is an Organized Noise ode to the weekend party life.
Try to hate on it, and you're going to come up short like Fat Joe
squeezing into size 36 pants. What makes Ludacris popular is his
ultramagnetic personality - the same one which first landed him a gig
as a radio DJ in Atlanta years ago. Luda's tendency to overexaggerate
syllables keeps his flow distinctive and punchy - you really hear the
"ohs" in his "hoes" and "urls" in his "girls." And most of all,
'Cris uses humor to spice up the stories he tells, such as the
creepin anthem "Keep it On the Hush":
"Now even when I just come in ya house
and cover ya mouth, because your momma's at home
You grippin the sheets and makin a effort not to holla and moan
You got to keep it on the HUSH, cause we in no RUSH
And you tellin me it's the little things that mean so MUCH
And it's an illusion thinkin that you can match what I can do best
So if your man call, tell him to put some hair on his chest"
You can find plenty of comedy throughout his LP: the beatboxing
snaps of the title track revisiting a style from the last LP, the
bonus cut "Block Lockdown" originally from Funkmaster Flex IV,
the royal penis cleaning of "Coming 2 America" and more. The
only songs that really come close to serious are the survivalist
tale "Cold Outside" and the hardship tales of "Growing Pains" featuring
Fate Wilson and Keon Bryce. If you catch deja vu listening to the
latter song it's because the sample featured is the same one
from Dilated Peoples' "Worse Comes to Worse." To the credit
of producer P. King though, it's a completely different presentation
- a slower, somberly soulful playback designed to set the backdrop
of how life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough.
One final prediction: "Freaky Things" featuring Twista and Jagged
Edge, produced by Shondrae, is the sleeper hit of the album. It
may be they already planned to release it as a single, but the sticker
on the front cover didn't mention it. Nevertheless Twista's super
tight fast flow and the extreme overvocalization of Luda's delivery
make for one of the most pleasing tag-teams in rap. Until Twista
lands the new record deal he deserves and releases his pent-up
masterpiece, this is the next best thing. And until Ludacris'
releases the planned follow-up "Chicken and Beer," this album is
a pleasantly non-offensive course of french fries, hamburgers
and Coke that taste good and fill your appetite for greasy hip-hop.
Don't count the calories, just bite down and enjoy the flavor;
And don't forget the extra track "Welcome to Atlanta" posted
after the end of "Block Lockdown" for dessert!
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: November 27, 2001