Fans of Ludacris may have cringed last week following reports that the
National Alliance, a white-supremacist group in Casper,
Wyoming, was passing out flyers and lobbying to ban the city's
Disturbing Tha Peace tour date. Luda, however, says he's getting too
much love in other area codes to devote energy to the ignorant.
"Yeah, I heard about it. Ain't nothing new," Cris answered unflappably.
"[Stuff] like this has happened on tour before. All we do is make sure
we're prepared for anything that's going to happen, do our show and get
the hell on. Ain't nothing new to us. We've had opposition in a lot of
places over the past four years, so this ain't no surprise."
Undaunted, Cris and company continue to roll. Their shows have been
selling out, and audiences, albeit smaller than in the past, have been
"I decided to go that route because you can become more personal
sometimes in smaller venues than in bigger ones," Cris said about
shying away from arenas during this round of touring. "You can't
necessarily hit all the same places in the United States."
Even on the road, Cris still keeps up with all his Disturbing Tha Peace
CEO duties, such as making sure Chingy has everything he needs to rock
a 45-minute solo set (see "Ludacris Lines Up DTP Tour With Chingy,
"The reason he can do 45 minutes is because we put him on the right
side project and make sure he has those records people know," Cris
remarked. "He gets out there and does his freestyle and tries to
balance the show with surprises. Plus, we have our own artists, like
I-20, who has songs with him. Before you know it, it's been 40 minutes'
worth of show.
"I've been doing it for so long, I just want people to bring energy and
balance," Cris said of what he wanted to pull out of his crew, which
also includes Shawnna, Tity Boi and Lil' Fate. "You don't want a dull
moment. You try to hit them as much as you can. If you have a certain
amount of songs, you might do one or two verses and then switch up. You
never really want to tire the crowd out. So I just try to give him
little tips or pointers. He knows what he's doing, so far. He was born
for this. He don't need us to tell him much."
Luda, on the other hand, has been gladly taking direction. He just
wrapped up his role in the movie "Crash," which contains more
celebrities than a P. Diddy afterparty.
"Yeah, 'Crash' is coming up with Larenz Tate, Don Cheadle, Sandra
Bullock and Brendan Fraser," he said. "That's coming out at the end of
this year. Me and Larenz, we're carjackers, and the movie is about race
discrimination in Los Angeles. Sort of like how 'Do the Right Thing'
was about blacks and Latinos and white people clashing in New York."
Ludacris has more films on the way. He and his partners, brothers Chaka
Zulu and Jeff Dixon, are looking into producing a slew of movies. One
of them, "Radio," is ready to ramp up this spring.
"I'm not going to be full directing 'cause that's a big leap," said
Chaka Zulu last week, "but I'm definitely looking over the director's
shoulders." Chaka has previously directed Cris videos. "I'm definitely
going to be part of the technical aspect, knowing what type of shots we
wanna get. Its good to be a ghost sometimes."
Despite a plot concerning Ludacris as a disc jockey, "Radio" is not a
biopic or based on Ludacris' real-life original career as a DJ.
"It's really not Luda's life story," Chaka said. "It's just gonna be
reflective. The only thing the same is the radio station. Little
elements will be reminiscent of Ludacris' radio life, but it's not his
life story. Radio is a very big part of everything that goes on with
music, especially hip-hop. So we gonna expose that and everything that
goes on with being a disc jockey. We wanna surround him with
up-and-coming mid-level cats. We're also gonna pull in some people from
the hip-hop world we think have camera magnetism."
Anheuser-Busch is also betting on Cris' allure. Luda just signed on as
a Budweiser spokesperson on the strength of his Chicken-N-Beer
"He got a nice big check," Chaka chuckled. "They already know who he
is. Pepsi knew who he was, too. They just buckled to a little bit of
pressure from Bill O'Reilly. It is what it is. We protect ourselves
when we do our deals. If people wanna pull out on us, we got our
clauses, our payouts. It's all in Ludacris' power to promote and
influence not only urban culture but suburban culture, too. He's one of
the more valuable spokesmen for any product. It's just a matter of, if
you gonna ride with him, you have to be loyal to him and his fanbase."