Published Wed, May 24, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
Chris "Ludacris" Bridges has long been crowned one of the most charismatic MCs in Hip-Hop, guided by his witty wordplay, creative flow, and naturally magnetic presence on the mic.
Even during his days as a radio host on Atlanta's Hot 97.5 when he was still going by the moniker "Chris Luva Luva," it was obvious Ludacris was a star talent. With the release of his independent debut album, Incognegro, which was later repackaged by Def Jam as 2000's Back For the First Time, Luda, who is set to perform at the 2023 Rock The Bells Festival in Queens on Aug. 5, immediately established himself as a rapper to watch. He innately understood what it takes to not just complement, but elevate a track.
Seven solo albums later, with sales reaching more than 24 million worldwide, Ludacris' comical wordplay and boisterous delivery on tracks like "Move Bitch," "What's Your Fantasy" featuring Shawna, "Area Codes" featuring Nate Dogg, "Southern Hospitality," and "Number One Spot," have made him a crossover success.
But it's his scene-stealing guest appearances on tracks with everyone from Jadakiss to T.I. that have made people start strongly questioning exactly why Luda's name doesn't come up more frequently when talking about superior rappers in Hip-Hop. Yes, he's a pop star with mainstream appeal, but Luda is a rapper first, with bars for days, and certified scene-stealing verses to prove it.
With that in mind, we've picked six of Ludacris' most memorable guest verses.
1. "Yeah" - Usher featuring Ludacris, Lil Jon
This isn't just one of Usher's biggest hits ("Yeah!" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for 12 consecutive weeks), it's one of the tracks that further solidified Luda's standing as a scene-stealing MC. An already energized track was taken to the next level the moment Luda opened with, "Watch out, my outfit's ridiculous/ In the club, lookin' so conspicuous..."
2. "Oh" - Ciara featuring Ludacris
Ludacris earned a reputation for running away with a track very early on in his career, as was the case on this early gem produced by Dre & Vidal from Ciara's early years.
3. "Gossip Folks" - Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris
Missy and Ludacris, two of the zaniest creative minds in Hip-Hop, create magic when they connect. So was the case on "Gossip Folks," which features one of Luda's most quotable verses, which fit perfectly alongside the video.
"So he went about his business and devised a plan /Made a CD and then he hit the block / 50 thousand sold / Seven dollars a pop / Hold the phone / Three years later/Stepped out the swamp / With ten and a half gators / Now all around the world on the microphone / Leaving the booth smelling like Burberry cologne ..."
4. "All I Do Is Win" - DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg
DJ Khaled dropped an all-star hit with "All I Do Is Win" featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg. Luda opens the song after T-Pain's signature crooning with a quick-fire verse that easily steals the show — which is saying a lot when the always charismatic Snoop Dogg is sharing the track. By 2010, he was nearly a decade in the game, and felt the need to establish his legacy with colorfully, boastful bars, reminding everyone of his numerous wins.
"Can't never count me out (No), y'all better count me in (Yo)/Got twenty bank accounts, accountants count me in (Woo)/Make millions every year (Yeah) the South's champion (Yeah)..."
5. "Made You Look" Remix - Nas featuring Jadakiss, Ludacris
Nas' 2002 remix for "Made You Look" had a revival in 2022 when fans popped up to question who actually had the best verse on the song. Ludacris was a strong contender for the top spot, notable given that both Nas and Jada are considered GOAT MCs. The debate only proved that Ludacris' lyrical prowess is too often overlooked, despite his consistent, show-stealing appearances.
"I'm from the school of hard knocks, sneak peeks and low blows/Where Xs mark spots and kitchens mark Os (Woo)/Where love's gon' getcha and hate is gon' snitch ya/And fingers squeeze triggers like boa constrictors..."
6. "Stomp" Young Buck featuring Ludacris, T.I., Game
One of the coolest things about Ludacris' lyrical skill is that he's shown that he can hold his own, even on grittier tracks, despite that not really being his lane. His charisma and braggadocio fit right in on this track, where he offers a perfect display of his lyrical skill alongside T.I. and the Game.
"You see I'm married to my music, but we got a pre-nup. So, if that bitch dont act right Im still getting my cut. My deal never get screwed; my contracts practice abstinence. A master in this program, hazing these undergraduates..."
And later: "Cause you worth a couple hundred gran, and I'm worth millions/Nobody thinkin bout you; plus your beef aint legit so please stay off the T-I-P of my d---"
Of course, the latter line was the result of a short-lived back-and-forth between Tip and Luda. As the story goes, T.I.'s line, “Me getting beat down? That’s ludicrous..." offended some of Luda's people, and after the two camps went back and forth about the track and who got to say what, some of T.I.'s verses were pulled, replaced by the Game's. Ultimately, the tiff was resolved (but not before reports surfaced that T.I. had punched Luda's manager Chaka Zulu in that face at a West Hollywood hotel). The two ultimately made up and collaborated on T.I.'s "On Top Of The World" from 2008's Paper Trail and Luda's "Wish You Would" from Theater of the Mind.