Thursday, January 18, 2007

Luda, You Jerk

Let’s talk about Ludacris for a second. The man’s had some serious hits, from Missy Elliot combos to Roll Out to all those on Chicken n Beer. But the oddity of his image (please see Word of Mouf album cover), compounded with rumors of him not writing his lyrics, has made him an eccentric rap star if not a unique one. Of course, he’s also been solidly popular since coming out in 2000.

But recently, the man has straight up split his scrotum.

On one side we see him in “Money Maker,” a big bass sexy time song where the video puts him and Pharrell on top of cash stacks strapped with leggy ladies and lipstick. A good song, to be sure, with a Neptune beat (and bass not far from the “Grindin” classic) and a shallow enough message to top the Billboard charts.

On the other side, we see him in “Runaway Love” featuring Mary J. Blige. In the video, he raps in the background as little girls are, in turn, abused by drunken drug abusing parents, victim to gang violence, and stricken with an unwanted pregnancy. From the beginning, he’s decked out in Common gear, you know, that Black Intellectual fit—Kangol-type hat, lots of khakis and earth tones. A sweater vest here and there.

So here’s the question: recognizing that Ludacris did a nationwide tour to promote AIDS awareness, does this song point to his personal development and newfound wish to change the world? Or is it a sad example of using any means to sell a product? Surely Ludacris realizes the current popularity of the social awareness hue in rap, what with the emergence of Common, Talib Kweli, and Mr. Lif from the underground (where that awareness has never been lacking).

How can an artist have two blatantly contradicting songs out at the same time? How stupid do they think we are?!

Are we seriously expected not to realize that one man can say the following:

It took your momma 9 months to make ya
Might as well shake what your momma gave ya
You, you lookin good in them jeans
I bet you'd look even better with me in between
I keep my mind on my money - money on my mind
But you's a hell of a distraction when you shake your behind…
So feel free to get loose and get carried away
So by tomorrow you forgot what you where saying today

And then follow up with these heart-rendered lines:

Little Erica is eleven years old 
Shes steady tryin to figure why the world is so cold 
So she pops x to get rid of all the pain 
Cause shes havin sex with a boy whos sixteen...
Never thinkin bout the consequences of her actions 
Livin for today and not tomorrows satisfaction 

If these lyrics don't prove how much hypocritical bullshit perpetuates what used to be an art form, I don't know what will.