Hip-hop blogs and message boards have been in a frenzy for the past few weeks over who Ludacris was taking shots at (I’m not buying this) on his new diss track “War With God”. The popular pick seems to be T.I. (who he’s had previous beef with), with Lil’ Wayne and Young Jeezy in a close second and Rick Ross in a laughable fourth. Also, a few months back the same blogs/message boards were discussing whether or not T.I./Jeezy/Wayne were the South’s equivalentof Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas. They’re on their way, but to take this whole thing full circle, I think that, at the top of his game, Luda is actually better than the south’s three. The past few years definitely haven’t lent any proof to that theory, but “Southern Hospitality” is better than pretty much anything that either of the three has ever done.
Of course, Ludacris’ problem is that “Southern Hospitality” was his second single, off an album six years old. Lately he’s become a parody of his old self, doing repulsive sex jams like “Splash Waterfalls” (froggy style?) or ridiculous self-promotion shit like “#1 Spot.” What I’m getting at here is that hopefully whatever has pissed Luda off enough to put out a (reasonably biting) diss track will push him into making music like he was making four, five, six years ago.
Along the same lines: the other day, I heard Eminem’s “Without Me” on the radio in a cafeteria where I couldn’t demand that it be turned off. It followed Yung Joc’s “It’s Going Down” (a really good song) and some robotic R&B track that I didn’t recognize, and when “Without Me” came on it sounded like a breath of fresh air. By all means the song is average at best, but Em’s presence and charisma blew away the previous two songs, one of which is/was the country’s number one single. Point here is that Eminem and Ludacris have loosely followed the same career path. Early in their careers they were both critically and commercially acclaimed, then both became shells of what they used to be, putting out singles and albums that were mediocre money-grabbers.
In Eminem’s case, maybe the death of his best friend will keep him from making more tracks impersonating Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, but we have nothing but this as any evidence that that might actually happen. As for Ludacris, tracks have been floating around the internet from his forthcoming LP. With one we get two steps forward, but with the other we get two steps back.
I’ve got no heart-wrenching ending paragraph here, just hope that two of my favorite rappers become just that again.