Let’s get to this quick, skipping the intro that I’ve tried and failed to write three times so far. Ludacris makes shallow music. But it’s fun, because he picks good beats, he’s funny at times, and his rhymes are usually ok. But, besides his humor, there isn’t anything distinctive about his persona. So I can’t put my finger on what he does so well, what thing about him justifies his 17-year music career.
In writing the review of the Demigodz’ great album Killmatic, I realized that it’s pretty rare for a rapper to have a group of his own that’s actually decent. I’m talking about groups that people came up with like Eminem’s D12 and groups they created like Snoop Dogg’s Tha Eastsidaz. Not supergroups where the roster is full of already-famous people. Let’s face it, being successful doesn’t speak to your ability to judge other people’s talents, at all. In fact, I’d venture to say that the average rapper is a horrible judge of talent in others. For evidence, see 90% of rap/sung collaborations. Or maybe these cats are just bad at nurturing the talent they find. Either way, hip-hop history is littered with bad groups fronted by good rappers.