Def Jam is the Tracy McGrady to every other hip hop
label’s Todd MacCulloch–especially
when it comes to album sales. Multi-platinum releases in 2001 from Ja Rule, Jay Z and DMX have told
us that much. Oh, but the label with the Midas
isn’t stopping their near-monopoly on the game anytime soon. Some guy
named Noreaga has joined the team,
and he plans on dropping another CD in the coming weeks. ‘Til that time comes, Chris Bridges hopes his new album, Word Of Mouf, can keep Def Jam the envy of every record label.

Anticipation for Ludacris‘ album
comes from a number of things: years of him being a popular DJ on an Atlanta
hip hop station, the reputation he has of spitting comical one-liners on other
artists’ songs (see: Missy‘s One Minute Man) and the string of
popular radio hits–What’s Your Fantasy,
Southern Hospitality and this
summer’s Area Codes–he’s already released.
So, yeah, expecting the Chicago native to come through on his second major
release isn’t too much to ask. Actually getting Ludacris to come through, however, could prove tougher than finding
a Microsoft Xbox any time before Christmas.

Kids used to hearing funny, hard-knocking songs from Luda will be hard-pressed
finding Word Of Mouf
more witty than some of his past stuff. Though Rollout,
the current chart-buster, Oh No and Cry Baby will get things going in
the club, fans have come to expect more from good MCs–and yes, Ludacris is a good MC–than a couple of
party tracks. When Luda slows things
down, like he does on the exceptional Growing Pains and
Cold Outside, we finally hear the
rapper we knew all along was up under all of that hair and dick-slingin’
bravado. Unfortunately, most of the other 16 tracks are nothing more than sexual
rants and hometown raves that fail at taking this ATLien to that next level. Sure, you’ll laugh at some of the
verses. Hell, you might even bob your head at the beats from Shondrae, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland
and Organized Noize, but saying that
Ludacris has put Def Jam in the perfect spot to start
off the new year may be a mouthful.