Ludacris was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois, the only child of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges. He later moved to the Chicago area, where he attended Emerson Middle School in Oak Park, and Oak Park & River Forest High School for one year. He then moved to Centreville, Virginia and attended Centreville High School for one year. He attended Banneker High School in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated in 1995. From 1998 to 1999, he studied music management at Georgia State University. He has African-American, English, Jewish, and Native American ancestry. He is also a distant cousin of late comedian Richard Pryor.
Bridges wrote his first rap song at age nine when moving to Atlanta, and joined an amateur rap group three years later.
Bridges served as an intern and then a DJ at Atlanta's Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9) under the name "Chris Lova Lova". He was also known for DJ'ing during Freaknik at one point.
Ludacris collaborated with Timbaland on the track "Phat Rabbit" from his album Tim's Bio: Life from da Bassment. This song was a hit in many countries. It was later included on Ludacris's debut LP album Back for the First Time. In Ludacris' early music career he collaborated with Dallas Austin and Jermaine Dupri.
In 1998, Ludacris began to record his debut album "Incognegro". This album was the defining example of Ludacris' fast, wild, and comedic flow, a unique style for southern rappers. Timbaland handled part of the production. Despite its poor sales, it was never deleted and is still sold today. Ludacris also appeared on Timbaland's 1998 debut on "Phat Rabbit," a track that would later be used on his re-issue of "Incognegro" called "Back For The First Time". In 2000, Ludacris released his major label debut, Back for the First Time. It was produced with the help of the underground producer Sessy Melia, whom he dated for a short while. The album reached as high as #4 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was a major success. Ludacris made his mark on the industry with singles such as "Southern Hospitality" and "What's Your Fantasy", along with his first ever single the "Phat Rabbit", from two years prior. Guest appearances included 4-Ize, I-20, Shawnna, Pastor Troy, Timbaland, Trina, Foxy Brown, UGK, and others. Ludacris stated in an interview on MTV's hip hop program Direct Effect that he came up with his stage name based on his "split personality" that he considered "ridiculous" and "ludicrous".
Ludacris promptly completed his next album, Word of Mouf, and released it at the end of 2001. The video for the lead single, "Rollout (My Business)", was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award, and Ludacris performed it live at the awards' pre-show. He released singles "Saturday (Oooh Oooh)" with Sleepy Brown, "Move Bitch" with Mystikal and I-20, and "Area Codes" with Nate Dogg.
During the spring of 2003, Ludacris returned to the music scene after a brief hiatus with a new single, "Act a Fool", from the 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack. At around the same time, he released the lead single from his album Chicken-n-Beer, called "P-Poppin" (short for "Pussy Poppin'"). Neither of his new singles were as well received by either the urban or pop audiences as his previous songs had been, and both music videos received only limited airplay. Chicken-N-Beer opened strongly, but without a popular single, the album fell quickly. Guest appearances include Playaz Circle, Chingy, Snoop Dogg, 8Ball & MJG, Lil' Flip, I-20, Lil Fate, and Shawnna.
In the fall of 2003, Ludacris rebounded with his next single, "Stand Up", which appeared on both Chicken-n-Beer as well as the soundtrack for the teen hip hop/dance movie, You Got Served. Produced by Kanye West, "Stand Up" went on to become one of Ludacris' biggest mainstream hits to date, hitting the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 garnering heavy airplay on mainstream pop, rhythmic, and urban radio stations, as well as on MTV, MTV2, and BET. Ludacris was sued by a New Jersey group called I.O.F. who claimed that "Stand Up" used a hook from one of their songs, but in June 2006, a jury found that the song did not violate copyrights. "I hope the plaintiffs enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame," Ludacris said after the verdict.
The album's next single, "Splash Waterfalls", was released in early 2004. A huge pop hit (despite its steamy video and explicit, adult-oriented lyrical content and themes), it subsequently became a success at urban radio and BET, and is the only time he has produced two consecutive top 10 singles from a solo album, except for Release Therapy (an unedited version of the video could only be viewed on BET's Uncut program). It was Ludacris' most sexual video yet, an R&B remix that featured Raphael Saadiq and sampled Tony! Toni! Tone!'s "Whatever You Want". Ludacris received his first Grammy Award with Usher and Lil Jon for their hit single "Yeah!". Ludacris next released "Blow It Out", which was accompanied by a low-budget music video.
Chris Bridges took a more mature approach to his fourth album, The Red Light District. Sohail Khalid helped produce this album with various artists such as T.I., Lil Flip and Bun B. Ludacris openly boasted that he may be the only rapper able to keep the Def Jam label afloat on the opening track. Ludacris filmed and recorded the single "Get Back" in which he was featured as a muscle-bound hulk who was being annoyed by the media and warned critics to leave him alone. He first appeared on Saturday Night Live as a special guest performing with musical guest Sum 41 on a season 30 episode hosted by Paul Giamatti. He then recorded "Get Back" with Sum 41 to make a rock crossover single. The follow-up single was the Austin Powers-inspired "Number One Spot". It was produced by New York City's Hot 97 personality DJ Green Lantern. It used the Quincy Jones sample of "Soul Bossa Nova" and sped it up to the tempo of Ludacris' rap flow. Featured artists on the album include Nas, DJ Quik, DMX, Trick Daddy, Sleepy Brown, and Disturbing tha Peace newcomers Bobby Valentino, Dolla Boi, and Small World. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.
In an issue of XXL, Ludacris was placed in the number nine spot for the most anticipated albums of 2006, for Release Therapy. The album Release Therapy was released on September 26, 2006. Ludacris formatted the CD to have two sides: a Release side and a Therapy side on a single CD. Guest appearances include Pharrell Williams, R. Kelly, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Field Mob, Bobby Valentino, Pimp C, C-Murder, and Beanie Sigel. The first single, "Money Maker", which features Williams, was released to U.S. radio outlets on July 17, 2006. "Money Maker" reached number one on the BET program 106 & Park. It then went to become the rapper's second number-one single after 6 years. His second single, "Grew Up a Screw Up", featuring Young Jeezy, dispels rumors that the two are or ever were in a dispute. His third single, "Runaway Love", soon peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and won Best Collaboration in the 2007 BET Awards. Release Therapy won the Best Rap Album award at the 2007 Grammy Awards. His album then reached number one on the Billboard 200 album charts with sales of 309,000 in its first week. With the release of this album, Ludacris marked a change in style in his career with his musical style. The new album itself features a departure of the lighthearted mood of his previous albums, and introduces a darker side. A change of hair accompanied this as he cut off his trademark braids for a more conventional "fade" cut. To promote the album, Ludacris returned to Saturday Night Live (as both host and musical guest) on November 18, 2006.
The Preview, a mixtape to preview the album was released on July 28, 2008. Theater of the Mind, released on November 24, 2008, and in April 2008, the single "Let's Stay Together" appeared on xxlmag.com; supposedly from the new album ("Let's Stay Together" was expected to but was released as a bonus track on the CD). A song with Small World called "Pinky Shinin" was expected to be on the album, but it was dropped. In an interview with Complex Magazine he stated that Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I., Plies, Common, T-Pain, Jay-Z, Nas and The Game will be on the album; Game is featured in a track with Willy Northpole titled "Call Up the Homies". T.I. was on the album on a track called "Wish You Would" squashing the long feud between them. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 with 213,493 sold first week. The album was released the same day as Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak, which took the number-one spot. His first single "What Them Girls Like", featuring Chris Brown and Sean Garrett, peaked at #33 on the Billboard 100. His second single, "One More Drink", featuring T-Pain, peaked at #24 on the Billboard 100. The third official single is "Nasty Girl", featuring Plies. He confirmed a "sequel" titled Ludaversal due to be released September 11, 2012.
Ludacris' seventh studio album was released on March 9, 2010, with his first promotional single for the album being "Everybody Drunk" which features Callum Smith, originally featuring Shawnna. The first concept idea of the album was to have Ludacris and Shawnna battle it out on the album back–to–back, but this was later axed upon Shawnna's departure from Disturbing tha Peace, ending her contract on Ludacris' label and joining T-Pain's Nappy Boy Entertainment label. The first official single released from Battle of the Sexes was "How Low", which was released on December 8, 2009. The follow–up single was "My Chick Bad", released on February 23, 2010. The third single is "Sex Room", peaking at #69 on the Billboard 100. Ludacris’s Battle of the Sexes entered the chart at No. 1, with 137,000 sales in the first week. The album is currently certified gold.
Throughout 2012, Ludacris released 3 singles "Jingalin", Representin and Rest of My Life, all of which were scrapped after the songs underperformed and the recording process for his upcoming album Ludaversal stalled.
On May 24, 2013, Ludacris released a mixtape entitled #IDGAF. He had been releasing a new song on Fridays as he is calling these releases IDGAF Fridays. These songs, in order of release, were "Raised In The South" featuring rapper Young Jeezy, released on April 19. That release was followed by "If I Ain't Fucked Up" on April 26, "9 Times Out Of 10" featuring rappers French Montana & Que on May 3, "Speak Into The Mic" on May 10, and "I Don't Give A Fuck" on May 17. The last song was released a week before the release of the mixtape. The mixtape had almost 60,000 downloads via datpiff.com within the first day. Ludacris reprised his role as Tej in the blockbuster movie 'Fast & Furious 6', during Memorial Day Weekend, May 2013. Ludacris had this to say about his upcoming new album:
"I think every album is like a progression, I'm working with different producers. Usher, We definitely have this album which is a great thing. Ne-Yo is also on the album and I have producers like David Guetta, we have Stargate, have trainees. [The] Kelly Rowland single just came out that you need to check out. It's called 'Representing'".
On August 3, 2013, Ludacris confirmed to VIBE.com he will be working with Anita Baker. "I don't know if the cat's out the bag. Yeah, Anita Baker is definitely on the album," admitted Luda. "She's on that particular song. [It] is really about my father and growing up and me being a kid and trying to get him to stop and me dealing with that."
After a lengthy hiatus, Ludacris returned to the music on January 30, 2014, with the release of a single "Party Girls" featuring Jeremih, Wiz Khalifa and Cashmere Cat. The song takes a cue from Aqua's 1997 song "Barbie Girl", however, the single did not appear on the new album. On October 9, 2014, Ludacris announced that Ludaversal would be released on March 31, 2015; which will be preceded by an EP titled Burning Bridges) due for release on December 16, 2014. On October 31, 2014 Ludacris premiered the first single from the "Burning Bridges" EP titled "Good Lovin'" featuring American singer Miguel.
Due to its moderate success, "Good Lovin" would go on to serve as the first single from Ludaversal. On March 3, 2015 Ludacris held a listening party for Ludaversal with Def Jam. The tracks "Intro", "Not For Long" featuring Usher and "Come N See Me" featuring Big Krit were revealed to the public After 3 years worth of delays, Ludaversal was released March 31, 2015 to generally positive reviews and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200.
The singer Monica and Ludacris are cousins by marriage since his uncle is married to Monica's mother.
Ludacris has a daughter Karma Bridges (born August 2001) from previous relationship.
Since 2009 he has been dating Gabonese model Eudoxie Mbouguiengue. Despite dating Eudoxie, he had a second daughter, Cai Bella Bridges (born December 2013), with Tamika Fuller, a longtime friend.
In February 2007, Ludacris' father died of complications from diabetes.
In Costa Rica on December 26, 2014, Ludacris became engaged to Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, whom he had been dating since 2009. They married later the same day that they became engaged.
It was later revealed that Eudoxie was a few months pregnant with Ludacris's 3rd child on March 1, 2015. This caused many to speculate that the pregnancy was the reason for the rushed engagement and marriage. In early June 2015, Eudoxie announced that the couple welcomed a baby girl.
Ludacris is the co-founder of his own record label, Disturbing tha Peace, an imprint distributed by Def Jam Recordings. He is the co-owner of Conjure Cognac liquor. In 2011 Ludacris released his own line of headphones called " Soul By Ludacris" manufactured by Soul Electronics He also has various real estate holdings.
In 2006, Ludacris appeared in a television and print advertising campaign for Puma, which released 3 limited edition models of a "Clyde x Luda" Puma Clyde sneaker, with Ludacris' image on the heel of the insole and "DTP" (for Disturbing tha Peace) on the heel window.
In 2011, Ludacris joined a joint effort between Dosomething.org and Better World Books to collect books to help restock library shelves in New Orleans. He filmed a public service announcement in support of the Epic Book Drive. Chris "Ludacris" Bridges also started the Ludacris Foundation at the beginning of his music career back in 2001. The aim of the foundation is to inspire the youth through education, memorable experiences and helping the youth help themselves. The focus is what Ludacris calls the "3Ls": Leadership and Education, Living Healthy Lifestyles, and LudaCares.
Tensions began when T.I. saw Disturbing tha Peace rapper I-20's video in which a man wearing a shirt with the words "Trap House," was being beaten. T.I. believed the man's shirt actually said "Trap Muzik," perhaps interpreting this to be a reference to his album of the same name. Later, former G-Unit artist Young Buck asked these two fellow Southern rappers to appear on his new record on the track "Stomp". T.I. recorded a verse which contained a line that Young Buck considered to be an insult towards Ludacris, "Me gettin' beat down?/That's ludicrous". Young Buck spoke to Ludacris about his interpretation of the event. Ludacris then later recorded a verse that can be found on the album, "Straight Outta Cashville". T.I's record company wanted Ludacris to change his verse before they sanctioned it but Ludacris refused and T.I. was therefore replaced by Game on the album version.
On June 24, 2007 at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, California, T.I. was involved in a physical altercation. During a luncheon held by Kevin Liles of Warner Music Group (parent company of T.I.'s label, Atlantic Records), the MC got into a fight with Ludacris' manager Chaka Zulu. According to witnesses, T.I. punched Zulu in the face and choked him and a small, brief melee ensued.
T.I. was awarded honors for Best Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards, and took the opportunity to apologize for his scuffle with Disturbing tha Peace executive Chaka Zulu earlier in the week. While accepting his award, he expressed regret over the situation. "They say it's a fine line between brilliance and insanity," he said, in an apparent reference to his troublesome alter ego, T.I.P. During the broadcast, cameras showed his onetime rival Ludacris smiling in the audience.
The two rappers have resolved their disagreement and have collaborated on four songs: "Wish You Would" off Ludacris's sixth studio album, Theater of the Mind, "On Top of the World" off T.I.'s sixth studio album, Paper Trail and "We In This Bitch" off DJ Drama's album, Quality Street Music. The original version of the latter had Kanye West. The two have also collaborated on Big Boi's song called "In The A," released on the 2012 album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
On August 27, 2002, political pundit Bill O'Reilly called for all Americans to boycott Pepsi products, saying that Ludacris' lyrics glamorize a "life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women". The next day, O'Reilly reported that Pepsi had fired Ludacris. Six months later, Russell Simmons and his hip hop action summit threatened a boycott of all PepsiCo products on the grounds that Pepsi had subsequently hired Ozzy Osbourne for a commercial even though Osbourne is notable for use of profanity and explicit lyrics. Eventually an agreement was reached which resulted in PepsiCo donating $3 million to Ludacris' foundation and other inner city charities.
This is referenced in the 2003 songs "Hoes In My Room" as well as "Blow It Out" from Chicken n'Beer. Three years later, this would be referenced again in the song "Number One Spot". During a summer 2003 appearance on MTV's The New Tom Green Show, Ludacris and host Tom Green launched copies of Bill O'Reilly-authored books into a dumpster using a homemade catapult. In an interview with RadarOnline.com in 2010, Ludacris stated that he and O'Reilly had made amends after having a conversation at a charity event.
The song "Politics As Usual" from Ludacris' mixtape The Preview has stirred controversy due to lyrics in the song criticizing Jesse Jackson; "Now Jesse talkin' slick and apologizin' for what? If you said it then you meant it", (in reference to Jackson stating that he would "like to cut Obama's nuts off"); John McCain "McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed"; President George W. Bush "Yeah I said it, 'cuz Bush is mentally handicapped/ Ball up all of his speeches and throw 'em just like candy wraps / 'Cuz what you talkin' I hear nothin' even relevant / you the worst of all 43 presidents"; Hillary Clinton "Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant", in reference to Hillary's campaign comments against Obama.Incognegro (1999)Back for the First Time (2000)Word of Mouf (2001)Chicken-n-Beer (2003)The Red Light District (2004)Release Therapy (2006)Theater of the Mind (2008)Battle of the Sexes (2010)Ludaversal (2015)