Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Battle of the Sexes is the seventh studio album by American rapper Ludacris, released March 9, 2010 on Disturbing tha Peace and Def Jam Recordings. It was intended to serve as a collaboration album between Ludacris and rapper Shawnna, but proved to be a solo album by the former after Shawnna left Disturbing tha Peace in 2009. The album was recorded during 2008 to 2010 and its production was handled by several producers, including T-Minus, Bangladesh, Swizz Beatz, The Neptunes, and The Runners. Upon its release, Battle of the Sexes received generally positive reviews from most music critics.
"Chicago-born MC and Disturbing Tha Peace artist Shawnna has enjoyed a bit of success on her own and has been on the choruses for two of Ludacris' biggest songs, "What's Your Fantasy?" and "Stand Up," but the pair had yet to solely exchange verses on a single until this year's "Everybody Drunk." Nearly three years in the making, Battle of the Sexes is a joint collaboration between the two which Ludacris hopes is going to add variety to hip hop by exploring the male and female perspective on the same topics over the course of the album. Not too sure how different the perspectives are going to be, especially coming from the woman who recorded "Gettin' Some Head," but the concept behind the album makes it the first of its kind. Also, in what may be a case of good promotion or sly research, Ludacris has used his Twitter account to pose a daily "battle of the sexes" question about sex and relationships to his followers, providing responses from both sexes that are nothing short of spirited and colorful and proving that no matter how mature the content may get, old playground battle lines still run deep." - PrefixMag
"Even though his new album is called "Battle of the Sexes," that doesn't mean Ludacris is on one side or the other.
"I knew that this was the theme I wanted to go with because there had never been an album quite like that before," he says, calling from a tour stop with the Black Eyed Peas in Lexington, Ky. "I wanted to bring something new."
For Ludacris - who's celebrating the 10th anniversary of his debut, "Back for the First Time," this year - every album has to be different, or it wouldn't merit taking him away from working with his Disturbing Tha Peace crew or from his acting roles as Chris Bridges in "Crash," "RocknRolla" or last year's "Gamer."
"When you've done this many albums, it's a case of me trying to outdo myself - to reinvent it or do certain things that fill a void in the music industry," he says of the album, which drops March 9. "When I say 'Battle of the Sexes,' of course I have different females from the past, present and the future on this album - everyone from Lil' Kim to Eve, Trina, Nicki Minaj and Monica. ... It has records with me talking about women, talking to women and women talking back to me - all on one album. I give different perspectives on different issues."
That means sometimes he's on the guys' side, and sometimes he's standing up for the ladies. "You have 'Hey Ho' with Lil' Kim that's talking about that double standard of when men sleep around they're considered players, but when women do it, they're considered hos," he says. "Lil' Kim is speaking up for women, saying, 'A ho is a ho, no matter what gender you are.'"
"I have a song called 'Can't Live With You, Can't Live Without You,' and anybody who's ever been in a relationship understands that you fuss and fight all the time, so it's a breakup-to-makeup kinda thing that I have with Monica on the song," he continues, talking at the quick pace that marks his rapid-fire flow on his song. "And I have a song called 'Sex Room,' with Trey Songz, that's talking to women. So we're trying to cover every perspective in every regard."
Ludacris' recent collaborations have also showed him covering different musical perspectives. He has a verse on teen pop sensation Justin Bieber's hit "Baby," following his success contributing to Jesse McCartney's remix of "How Do You Sleep." He appears on R&B singer LeToya's hit "Regret" and Raheem DeVaughn's single "Bulletproof," as well as DJ Khaled's star-studded "All I Do Is Win." Throw in his own hits - "My Chick Bad" and the current R&B/hip-hop chart-topper "How Low" - and Ludacris is on six current singles.
He's happiest about "How Low," though. "I knew that was one of those universal songs," he says. "Even in the spirit of 'Battle of the Sexes,' people compete. It's more like a dance song. I'm just happy because, as of today, we just went platinum on digital downloads. That's the lead single, and we've got a No. 1 single in the country, so it's looking good." Not that he really worries about that stuff any more.
"I'm an artist, and I have fans who appreciate what I do, and all I do is be as creative as I possibly can. That is what satisfies me. As long as I know I'm being true to myself and to my fans, I'm good with it. I've had much success, and I'm very competitive. But I'm just happy being on this journey and being able to do what I love to do."" -PopMatters
Rolling Stone (p.69) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Luda's booming voice, liquid flow and drunk-as-hell club-thump beats make even his nastiest moments seem playful, but never harmless."
Entertainment Weekly (p.92) - "[A]s always his gymnastic flow and irrepressible personality redeem more tracks than not..."
Billboard - "[The] album pairs the affable Atlanta rapper with a handful of feisty female MCs, including L'il Kim and Nicki Minaj."
Recording information: Carrington House, Atlanta, GA; Chalice Recording, Los Angeles, CA; Doppler Studios, Atlanta, GA; Midnight Blue Studios, Miami, FL; No Excuses Studios, Santa Monica, CA; Papermill Studios, Chicago, IL; Patchwerk Recordings, Atlanta, GA; Platinum Sound Recording Studios, NYC; Poe Boy Studios, Miami, FL; Setai Recording Studio, Miami, FL; S-Line Studios, Atlanta, GA; The Ludaplex, Atlanta, GA.
Photographers: Kristen Yiengst; Chad Griffith; Lyndon Wade.
If it seems odd that an album as bravado-filled, trash-talking, and schoolboy horny as this one comes with the title Battle of the Sexes, perhaps it can be explained as a leftover title from what was originally planned as a joint release from Ludacris and his DTP protégé, Shawnna. After the album's better half left the project -- along with the DTP family -- the title was never readjusted, and there are further confusing traces of the original concept, such as the "us vs. them" intro, which opens an album that's almost entirely "us." Still, quality control is less important than titillation when it comes to the porno-style album, and Battle of the Sexes delivers on that level. Redd Foxx-like ideas, such as making limbo instructions sound especially nasty ("How Low") or having fun with the Tiger Woods sex scandal ("Sexting"), are coupled with safe and slick beats from the likes of the Runners, Swizz Beatz, and the Legendary Traxster. Luda is inspired enough to drop at least one belly laugh-worthy punch line per track, while the numerous guests are, at worst, on point, and at best (that would be Nicki Minaj), on fire. The less-sexed "Everybody Drunk" barely fits into the mold, but it's still a party time highlight, and when you add the very R. Kelly-esque "Sex Room," plus Lil' Kim getting vicious on "Hey Ho," you've got more prime material than expected. The album is limited and a little patched together, but if cheap thrills are what you're after, this one puts the dirty back in the dirty south. ~ David Jeffries
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