ATL representative Ludacris literally came out of nowhere in 2000 and took the Hip-Hop world by storm. Ludacris independently released his debut album "Incognegro", which quietly caused a stir in the dirty south, thus catching the attention of Def Jam, which made Ludacris their first artist on the newly incorporated Def Jam South headed by the legendary Scarface. Ludacris released his first major label album "Back For The First Time", and due to huge hits like "What's Your Fantasy" and "Southern Hospitality", Luda instantly became a rap superstar overnight. His rugged yet comical tales of dirty south living and sexual episodes captivated fans all across the country. However, Luda's true test would be if he could duplicate such firepower and avoid the sophomore slump on "Word Of Mouf".
Ludacris' latest effort is a solid album that truly encompasses and showcases the dirty south sound. Right from the start Ludacris hits us on the head with constant energy, charisma and flavor. "Coming 2 America" is a definite banger thanks to some standout production, which thankfully overshadows Luda's constant barrage of tiresome metaphors and punch lines. At times Luda's lyricism, especially his metaphors, can be over burdensome and down right corny, as seen on the opening track. "It's Jolly Green Giants cause we smoke so much broccoli…..My rap career goes back further than yo' father hairline……..I pack more nuts than Delta Airlines………You see y'all got it all wrong like women in tuxedos, and comin up shorter than five Danny DeVitos".
As most have come to realize, lyrically Ludacris isn't the most gifted emcee. His brand of lyrical fire is more suited toward being humorous and witty than conceptual and deep. However, lyricism isn't the only aspect of an album and "Word Of Mouf" does deliver a downright entertaining experience. "Cry Babies" is the Swizz Beatz produced track that fits nicely with Luda's erratic flow. "Rollout" and "Area Codes" featuring Nate Dogg are two more megahits for Ludacris that will definitely propel "Word Of Mouf" into platinum status and heavy rotation all across America. "Rollout" is without a doubt one of the finer tracks we have seen from Ludacris, thanks for some truly great production from Timbaland and Luda's quick, on and off double timed flow.
Most of the finer moments seen on "Word Of Mouf" come when the production aspect takes over, as seen on tracks like "Cold Outside", "Block Lockdown" and "Welcome to Atlanta". The only time we witness anything remotely conceptual is on the heartfelt "Growing Pains", where we finally are treated to a look inside of Ludacris and his DTP click. While the tiresome "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" sample is running a little thin now, its still one of the finer moments on "Word Of Mouf", and is a welcomed change in pace.
While "Word Of Mouf" is an entertaining album in its own right, its main flaws are evident, Ludacris' lyricism and the album's lack of originality and variety. As noted before, Luda's lyricism tinkers on the boarder of humorous and unintelligent. Nothing spectacular or mind blowing will come out of Luda's mouth or out of the album at that. Besides the lyricism aspect, most of the tracks on "Word Of Mouf" are the typical dirty south songs we have all heard and witnessed time and time again. Tracks like the horrible group collaborations on "Go 2 Sleep" featuring Three 6 Mafia, "Word Of Mouf Freestyle" and "Get The Fuck Back" all fail due to Luda's horrendous DTP click, which mildly put don't deserve to touch a mic and sound more like second level amateurs compared to Luda. Among one of Ludacris' favorite topics are of course women. His freaky, yet uninspiring tales on "She Said", "Move Bitch", "Freaky Tales" and "Keep It On The Hush" aren't some of the worst material your gonna hear, but end up as just average, run of the mill type tracks.
In the end, dirty south aficionados will be able to appreciate "Word Of Mouf" for its solid production and ability to entertain at all levels. However, those looking for anything beyond the blatantly obvious will be disappointed in the albums lack of variety in almost every aspect. "Word Of Mouf" is still a solid sophomore effort and proves that Ludacris isn't leaving any time soon, he's just getting started.