Hard Rock recently sat down with Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, international hip-hop icon and one of the stars of the insanely popular Fast & Furious movie series, to talk about music, movies, and life. Let’s let the interview speak for itself!
Check out everything Ludacris right here: http://www.ludaversal.com/
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HARD ROCK: Why do you think so many hip hop icons have been so successful as actors? Is there something in the nature of hip hop as an art form that prepares emcees to work in film?
LUDACRIS: (laughs) I don’t think it’s necessarily just hip hop, I just think it’s entertainers, period… I think half the battle of acting comes in the form of being comfortable on camera – in front of cameras while there’s a thousand people staring at you while you’re doing what you have to do. You’re kind of placing yourself in a world where it’s all about the craft. So with that being said, that’s why I feel it’s an easier transition so to speak because acting is a whole ‘nother story. It’s not like anybody who’s an entertainer can act, but there’s two elements to acting – 1) being able to act and 2) being able to be comfortable and block out what’s going on and that there’s a camera and thousand people in your face.
HR: This is a bit of a cliché question, but it’s important. Coming up, who were the emcees and artists that had the biggest impact on your development?
LUDACRIS: I’m inspired by a lot of different people, man! If I had to name some off the top of my head, actor-wise, I’d say Jeffrey Wright is really underrated. He’s one of my favorite actors. [more]
HR: He played Basquiat in that great Jean Michel Basquiat movie.
LUDACRIS: Hell yeah. He’s phenomenal. I really like Sean Penn. I like his choices in movies and what he does. I definitely like Denzel Washington. I terms of music, Jay Z is always one who’s kind of a staple in terms of hip hop artists and business acumen. I’d be crazy if I didn’t say Dr. Dre. Him selling a brand for $300 million and taking producers and people from the hip hop world to a whole ‘nother level. Those are some of the people who jump out and some of the individuals that I respect and look up to.
HR: What’s the status of ‘Ludaversal’ right now?
LUDACRIS: I’m down with shooting this movie and then we’re 100% full throttle. Us shooting these movies back to back, year after year, it’s been hard to get that breathing room and the time I need, I feel I want to give; not only putting an album out, but being able to promote it. That’s what’s going on. It’ll be out in 2014 for sure.
HR: Is anybody else stepping up to guest on it you can tell us about? You already have so many huge guests who have done work on it.
LUDACRIS: Because it’s not all the way complete, I’ve learned after eight albums to not give you false information and say who’s on there until I know for sure that we’ve signed everything and everything’s good.
HR: Very savvy.
LUDACRIS: (laughs) I wouldn’t do that to you!
HR: Who are some of your favorite producers? Who has made records and made beats that speak to you?
LUDACRIS: Man! Come on, man – Quincy Jones would have to be all-time legend. That guy is just out of control. He’s the one. People like Pharrell, people like Timbaland. Those are the three just stick out right off the top of my head.
HR: You can hear all three of those artists in your music.
LUDACRIS: Thank you.
HR: If you could share the stage or go in the studio with any artist in history, living or dead, who would you choose?
LUDACRIS: Tupac, man. Absolutely.
HR: Any ‘under-the-radar’ artists you’ve got your eye on these days?
LUDACRIS: There’s a guy, he’s a writer I’m sure you’ve heard of called Rico Love. He’s written for so many people and he’s got a song out right now called “They Don’t Know”. I feel like he’s going to have a very interesting album coming, so you should check that out.
HR: Have you worked with him?
LUDACRIS: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve worked with him on a couple things, in the past and we’re working on some stuff now. Look out for him.
HR: You’re pretty legendary as an artist who gives back to the community – like the recent thing you did for typhoon relief, but also with your own foundation. Have you always had a passion for philanthropy, or is that something that evolved as you achieved artistic and business success?
LUDACRIS: Man, you know what, I used to work at a radio station before I became commercially successful and they used to require us to do a certain amount of community service, which a lot of radio station employees do. From there, as my popularity grew, especially with worldwide success, it just kind of grew with the popularity and I did more. Of course, the more money I made the more I gave back and the more I just tried to lead by example. So this has been years – almost two decades – of philanthropy. But it all kind of rooted from me being at that radio station and knowing the kind of impact I could have just as a local celebrity in Atlanta.
HR: What do you think about the Outkast reunion slated for Coachella?
LUDACRIS: I’m happy as hell about that, man! Outkast paved the way for individuals like myself. I actually went on tour with them on my first album, so… oh man – I couldn’t be more excited! I’m just as excited as everyone else, if not more.
HR: Are there any other classic artists you’d like to see reunite for a gig or a tour like that?
LUDACRIS: Man, I would love to see… Hmmm … I would say Tribe Called Quest, but they just started doing shows again. I would love to see Xscape get back together one day. That would be pretty cool.
HR: Chris, what are you most thankful for this holiday season?
LUDACRIS: I don’t want to sound cliché, but we were just talking about the philanthropic stuff. I’m to the point where I’m extremely comfortable and blessed in my lifestyle, but being able to help those in need is pretty much the best reward. In terms of what makes me happy, it definitely makes me feel happy to give to others. I’ve been on cloud nine these past couple days because of what I’ve been able to do and accomplish and help facilitate in terms of helping other people.