Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Runaway Love (Ludacris song)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Released  February 12, 2007
Genre  Conscious hip hop R&B
Recorded  2006
Length  4:41
B-side  "Girls Gone Wild" (UK only)
Format  Digital download, CD single

"Runaway Love" is the third single released from Ludacris' fifth album, Release Therapy (2007). The song, which features Mary J. Blige on the vocals, was produced by Polow da Don and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart only behind Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around". The song was the first single from Release Therapy in the United Kingdom and was released as a double A-side with "Girls Gone Wild" included. The song was performed at the 2007 Grammy Awards show by Ludacris, Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind & Fire. A remix of the song is available by T-Pain featuring Cassie.


Writing and composition

"Runaway Love" was written by Ludacris, Keri Hilson, Polow da Don, Doug E. Fresh, and Slick Rick, while production was handled by Polow da Don. The song contains a sample from the 1985 single "La Di Da Di" by Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick. It was recorded by Jason Monroy at The Ludaplex and Dan Cheung at Right Track–Sound on Sound Recording – recording studios in Atlanta, Georgia and New York City respectively. During the recording of "Runaway Love", guitars and bass instruments were played by Mike Hartnett, and Jason Monroy and J.R. Rotem provided keyboards. As well as partly writing the song, Hilson also provides background vocals, although she is not credited as having appeared on the song. mixed was carried out by Phil Tan at The Tanning Booth, Soapbox Studios, with additional engineering provided by Josh Houghkirk. The song was mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.

Song information

Each one of the three verses of a fictional account telling the troubles in the lives of three runaway female preadolescents; a nine-year-old named Lisa, a ten-year-old named Nicole, and an eleven-year-old named Erika each ending up running away to escape each of her own problems. There is a very short, commonly used sample of Slick Rick saying "Like this" in the beginning and at approximately 1:08 in the song. At the end of the song Ludacris informs women that he feels like running away himself some times.


The 1st account involves Lisa (played by Arielle Lopez), a nine-year-old girl who has never met her family or father, has a mother who is addicted to drugs and also brings home men at different hours of the night. When her mother is rendered unconscious from the drugs, the men that her mother brought home go to Lisa's room and molest her, hitting her whenever she resists. Lisa tries to explain this to her mom but her mother does not believe her. She then decides to run away.


The second plot involves Nicole (played by Raquel Castro), a lonely ten-year-old girl. Nicole believes she is not beautiful, and thinks nobody likes her, and wonders why this is so. Her stepfather (played by Jon Seda) is an alcoholic and physically abuses her. Nicole's schoolteachers constantly ask her about her bruises (which were caused by her stepfather), and she lies to them. Nicole promises her only best friend, Stacy, that they'll be close forever. However, one day, Stacy dies in an accidental drive-by shooting with Stacy being unintentionally targeted. Feeling alone again, Nicole decides to run away.


The final tale involves Erika, (played by Keke Palmer) who is an eleven-year-old girl who is taking drugs such as ecstasy as a way to escape pain. She is also, with guilt, having sex with her sixteen-year-old boyfriend (played by Julito McCullum). As things go deeper, Erika starts to believe she is truly in love with her boyfriend, and so he uses no protection. After Erika becomes pregnant by her boyfriend, he leaves her because he feels he is not ready to have a child. In addition, her family is poor, so Erika has no money to get an abortion. Erika knows that if she tells her mom she is pregnant, her mom will be very disappointed with her and overreact with implied consequences too harsh for Erika. Eventually, she decides to run away. In the music video, it is shown that as Erika contemplates going home, she imagines her mom yelling at her and physically abusing. She is seen on a park bench crying while Mary J. Blige sings next to her.

Music video

The music video for "Runaway Love" was directed by Jessy Terrero. Ludacris originally wanted Spike Lee to direct the video, but he was unavailable due to filming the motion picture Miracle at St. Anna. It premiered first on the internet on November 29, 2006, on Yahoo! Music. A day later it premiered on television, on BET's 106 & Park as a New Joint. The video, which is also divided in three situations, follows a storyline faithfully based on the song. Mary J. Blige is featured in all of the three situations as a pedestrian that passes by the runaway girls. Actors Michael Rapaport, Julito McCullum, Jon Seda, and actress Keke Palmer (who played Erica) also have cameos in the video. Featured in the background are orange posters for the National Runaway Switchboard, a crisis hotline serving runaway and homeless youth and their families. The hotline for the National Runaway Switchboard is also displayed on several of the "missing child" posters that are shown in the music video. This promotional effort highlights the partnership between The Ludacris Foundation and the National Runaway Switchboard to promote November as National Runaway Prevention Month and to increase awareness of issues related to runaway adolescents.

Critical reception

Whilst Release Therapy was released to a largely mixed reception, "Runaway Love" drew general acclaim from music critics. In particular, many praised Ludacris and the serious subject matter addressed on the song, and the stylistic and thematic departure from his previous work. Writing for Allmusic, Marisa Brown noted that the subject of violence against women had already been addressed in previous conscious hip hop songs, calling it "a fairly normal underground hip-hop theme" but commented that it was "nice to see a new side to Luda". Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club noted "Runaway Love"'s "bleak ghetto-griot storytelling", calling it a "departure" from the songs he recorded earlier in his career: he went on to praise Ludacris' attempts to address an unfamiliar topic, stating that "the song's grim subject matter works against his innate exuberance, but it's refreshing to see a rap superstar challenging himself". In his review of Release Therapy for Stylus Magazine, Barry Schwartz praised Ludacris for confronting the song's theme with a "solemn resignation no Ludacris song has ever approached", and noted that this was accomplished without "compromising his steez", despite noting that "serious doesn't suit him" on the other introspective material featured on Release Therapy.

Credits and personnel

The credits for "Runaway Love" are adapted from the liner notes of Release Therapy.

  • Recorded at: East Los Angeles in East Los Angeles, California and Right Track–Sound on Sound Recording, New York City.
  • Personnel
  • Ludacris – vocals, songwriting
  • Polow da Don – producer, songwriting
  • Mary J. Blige – vocals
  • Keri Hilson – background vocals, songwriting
  • Mike Hartnett – guitar, bass
  • Jason Perry – keyboards
  • J. R. Rotem – keyboards
  • Slick Rick – songwriting
  • Doug E. Fresh – songwriting
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Josh Houghkirk – engineering
  • Bernie Grundman – mastering
  • References

    Runaway Love (Ludacris song) Wikipedia