With his fourth major label album, The Red Light District, Ludacris once again lives by the motto, if it's not broke, don't fix it. Like his previous releases, The Red Light District follows the same pattern fans have learned to love. Instead of displaying some growth and maturity, Luda relies on his same antics, which include drinking, smoking, partying and womanizing. However, those expecting to finally hear Luda open up and reach his full potential will be thoroughly disappointed with The Red Light District.
Conceptually, Luda duplicates the same topics he has been churning out for the past three albums. The mandatory rowdiness of "Get Back" is a lackluster attempt to recreate "Move Bitch", as Medicine Men and Tic Toc's rambunctious horns and breezy strings is ruined by a less than creative lead single from Luda. Producer Icedrake also provides a solid outing with his hypnotizing bells on "Put Your Money" featuring DMX. However, Luda's generic gambling tales do little to keep your attention for more than a verse.
Bland concepts are not the only aspect of The Red Light District than hinders Luda's growth. Sub par production once again runs rampant, which is something that is becoming all to commonplace on a Ludacris album. The irritating synth sounds by Organized Noize on "Blueberry Yum Yum" is one of the trio's worst production efforts in recent memory. "Pass Out" is another prime example of Ludacris relying on simple and awkward synthesizer production. This time from newcomer Needlz, who is certainly capable of producing a better track.
However, all is not lost for Ludacris on The Red Light District, as he is still able to deliver some vintage cuts. Producer L.T. Moe is able to duplicate DJ Quik's classic Cali vibe perfectly on the funky "Spur Of The Moment". Timbaland once again comes through with some car shattering bass on the album's "Intro", as Luda is quickly becoming famous for his outstanding openings to albums. "Child Of The Night" finds Luda displaying a little growth and some insight to his childhood. While the look is only a small glimpse, it is still great to hear Luda branch out on a conceptual level. And while "Two Miles An Hour" is an obvious attempt to recreate "Diamond In The Back", it is one of the few recycled concepts that works well.
There is no questioning Luda's lyrical talent and charisma, however, if he truly intends to be one of the game's best he has to step out of his comfort zone and show some growth. For four albums straight Ludacris has reused the same concepts and topics. While this may translate into record sales, the Hip Hop community knows Ludacris is capable of producing much better albums.