Ludacris | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Foulmouthed and lascivious as he is, this former Atlanta radio personality is also one of the few best-selling MCs to recognize the fine line between sexy talk and sexist drivel, even if he can't always figure out which side he'd rather hang on. On his breakthrough single, "What's Your Fantasy," Luda pried into the sexual imagination of the ladies--an impressive display of curiosity, considering how many of his peers still seem unaware that women have orgasms too. He had a similar shining moment on the Missy Elliott single "One Minute Man" with his lip-smacking pledge of staying power. Ludacris again takes on the vagaries of female desire on his new single "Splash Waterfalls," whose hook is a pleading female vocal that alternates between "Make love to me" and "Fuck me"; unfortunately the three-note bass line, capped by a weakly percussive clickety-clap, is more dull than hypnotic. On the other hand the irresistible grind of "P-Poppin," a pole-dance anthem from his latest album, Chicken N Beer (Def Jam), would have Billy Graham himself stuffing bills into G-strings. The casually contemptuous "Hoes in My Room" (featuring--inevitably---Snoop Dogg) is so foul it threatens to eclipse the album's high points, but rhymes like "People think I'm bad, they say, 'Oh, he's so evil' / 'Cause I go on blind dates with actual blind people" (from "Hip Hop Quotables") ultimately save the day. And Ludacris is still more likely to rescue ribaldry from the jaws of misogyny than those good-time sexists the Ying Yang Twins or the pretentious, self-serving David Banner. Chingy opens, followed by Banner, then Knocturnal. This show is sold-out. Saturday, February 28, 7:30 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Crump.

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