Ludacris is famed for his iconic music videos, but as JAY-Z once told him, his outlandish visuals came with a downside.
During an interview on Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes’ All the Smoke podcast, the Atlanta rap legend reflected on his larger-than-life music videos and revealed Hov once said to him that they’re the reason he doesn’t get the credit he deserves as an MC.
“It was big, but there was a downside to it because even JAY-Z was one of the ones that said, you know, he don’t think I get the lyrical credit that I deserve because of the visuals,” Luda said.
“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you think get the credit?’ Because I played too goddamn much, that’s what I do! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why my name is Ludacris, because it’s beyond crazy, it’s wild, it’s ridiculous.”
He added: “I like post-effects and augmenting reality, big-ass shoes with big-ass chains, and bobble heads and all that. So I get it, I can’t be mad at it. I just have to show the multi-faceted aspects of myself and I actually love that.”
When asked what his biggest music video budget was, Luda admitted that he never quite hit the seven-figure heights that contemporaries like Diddy, Ma$e and Wu-Tang Clan did, but his most expensive clip still cost an eye-watering amount.
“I want to say like half a mil, something like that,” he answered. “Maybe it inched up to that $600,000. But you hear about when Diddy and Ma$e did the $1 million videos, it was a couple of those.
“I think Wu-Tang, that ‘Triumph’ video, Steve Rifkind said he did a million. I never made it to the million category, I never wanted to do that, but I did about half of that.”
Despite never quite getting the credit he deserved on the mic, Ludacris earned several plaudits for his visuals. He was nominated for Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards four times at the height of his career — winning once in 2005 for “Number One Spot” — and won Video of the Year twice at the BET Awards thanks to collaborations with Missy Elliott (“One Minute Man”) and Usher (“Yeah!”).
He was also one of the best-selling rappers of the 2000s, topping the Billboard 200 three consecutive times with 2003’s Chicken-n-Beer, 2004’s The Red Light District and 2006’s Release Therapy while also going 4x-platinum with 2001’s Word of Mouf.
The Disturbing Tha Peace founder connected with JAY-Z numerous times during this impressive run, most notably on Missy Elliott’s “One Minute Man (Remix)” and “I Do It For Hip Hop” alongside Nas, the latter of which found Luda reminding fans of his lyrical prowess.
“This my daily devotion, the verses stay deeper than the ocean/ So Hip Hop you owe me a promotion/ Yeah I do a little boasting and bragging/ What’s all the commotion and nagging about?/ ‘Cause I’m Still the champ in the South/ ‘Cause rappers get in the booth and I keep dragging them out,” he spit.
The accolades continue to roll in for Ludacris, who earlier this month received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Fast & Furious star was actually inducted in the category of motion pictures thanks to his successful acting career.
Luda held back tears as he gave a speech at a ceremony unveiling his star, where he was joined by family and supporters including LL COOL J, Queen Latifah, Vin Diesel and Tyrese.
“No matter what people say I can’t do, I will continue to shatter those stereotypes and show people it’s possible in order to make everyone who got me here proud,” he said. “Because you all inspire my hard work and dedication to receive this star today. I’m motivated by legacy and history.
“This means that I’ve made my mark, my own personal history being documented. To be amongst these names is just amazing to me. I’m just so thankful. So, getting a star is a statement, but be clear about this statement, the even bigger statement to me is that we are all interconnected.”
He added: “And I am a culmination of the people who showed up for me today believing in me and pushing me to inspire me. So y’all be clapping for me all day I’m gonna need y’all to give yourselves a round of applause. Because I’m nothing without you.”