Ludacris may have become a successful actor, but the Atlanta rapper still says that it’s all about the music.

“I have a passion for it,” he said during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX on Sunday (August 1) at his annual LudaDay Weekend celebrity basketball game. “It’s really just staying competitive. I guess that’s the best thing to do, hard work and dedication. Not settling for one or two albums and just always striving for excellence.”

As for his place in the rap game, Ludacris says he believes he knows where he stands.  “I think OG status is the best way to put it,” he says with a laugh. “Easily.”

Then what of the lukewarm response to last year’s “Jingalin’” and “Representin”? The DTP founder pauses, a muted wrinkle of the brow appears before he responds. “I’ve been putting out some mixtapes and mixtape songs really,” he says, “while I’ve been shooting movies and being overseas, really trying to continue flooding the market.”

In all actuality, it’s unfair to judge Ludaversal by the recent singles, the rapper says, because his new LP isn’t complete. “I don’t feel like we’ve released an official, official single,” he says. “We’re just trying to put out music right now and I know that after 10 years, we were just putting out music to give people some free stuff in appreciation of supporting us for so long.”

As much as his focus is on movies and music, the 35-year-old still stops through to his old stomping grounds yearly to celebrate LudaDay Weekend. The three-day celebration kicked off with a private dinner celebrating Swizz Beatz’ career in Hip Hop. Friday (August 30) was dedicated to DJs and media, but Saturday (August 31) and Sunday featured Ludacris paying homage to his roots as an aspiring artist attending Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta in the 1990s.

The celebrity basketball game Sunday was open to the public and pitted Team Luda against Team Usher. It ended with the R&B crooner scooping the $20,000 prize, which went to charity.

“LudaDay Weekend all goes back to us giving back and helping kids help themselves,” Ludacris says of his event, now in its eighth year. “We want to show appreciation for not only DJs, but new students coming to Atlanta and just the whole city. That’s why we have all the celebrities here and try to show people a good time, giving back to the people that support me.”

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