Justly, listeners to this, his first album, should be thanking Ludacris. It's a fine album he's given them, with high quality production and clever lyrics.
The first single, "What's your fantasy," was a good choice to expose listeners to the Dirty South sound Ludacris incorporates heavily into his music. The beats are simple in this song: bass, drum and keyboard lines are only studded under Ludacris' verses, allowing the words to be showcased as the highlight of the song. And they should be, because the lyrics of "What's your fantasy" flow impressively and are creative.
The humorous "Ho" comes to the groundbreaking conclusion that men can be ho's too. It's chorus of "you's a ho" (or is it "use a ho"?) is anthematic, and verses such as "Probably doing ho stuff, cuz there you ho again" are some lovely wordplay.
On "Southern Hospitality," my favorite song on the album, Ludacris gives more than a nod to a certain region of the United States. It's his rhymes here that particularly impress me, because he manages to keep whole verses under the same beginning and end rhyme. Especially clever: "Sweat for the lemonade/ Sweat for the tea...Sweat from a burn in the third degree/ And when you sweat in your sleep you sweat for me."
"Stick 'em Up" is also a fine song, which has an eeriness to it. The creeping piano line and low cello sounds lie under a dangerous chorus.
On "Back for the First Time" there are songs showing what I assume are the multiple sides of the artist. In some songs, he's the loverman who'll satisfy beyond repair the sexiest woman in the world, but he's the tough guy too. Similarly, the songs respective to such depictions are both hard or sexual, pun intended, and perhaps come from the same animalistic place.
However, Ludacris takes such base desires to the mind, because he's clever in his rhymes and in his humor. Several songs are entirely deliciously funny, but every song has at least one line that's hilariously clever. Also clever are the skits featured on "Back for the First Time," most of which are united by the fact that they depict telephone conversations.
The album itself is a united work, not very disjointed at all. Songs reappear as remixes, but what really gives the album a continuous feel is the way Ludacris approaches his subjects. As opposed to other artists -- who may be rushed into the studio to produce a hot album which in haste ends up not being hot -- Ludacris seems to have taken the time to develop a well-thought of album.
On "Back for the First Time" collabos are featured with Foxy Brown, Trina, Infamous 2-0, Fate Wilson, UGK, Shawna, Pastor Troy, 4-IZE and Pharrell.
Catherine Galioto is a staff writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.