By Ardain Isma Junior
Special to CSMS MagazineTo some he is just another hip-hop bad boy artist, but to millions of his followers he is one of the most prolific artists of this new generation. But growing up in Illinois, those who knew him had the slightest idea that this young man born as Christopher Bridges was going to grow up to become such money machine that he is today. Christopher “ Ludacris” Bridges was born on September 11, 1977 in Champagne, Illinois. Chris grew up in the Oak Park region of the city until he was a freshman in high school. After his parents were divorced, he moved with his father to live in the College Park community in Atlanta, Ga. It was then his father introduced to him many forms of music such as jazz, rock, blues, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop. Christopher liked this experience as it explains his versatility in music. While attending school at Clark Atlantic University, Chris got his first chance to be heard by the local media outlet. Chris got a job as a local radio DJ. His disc jockey name was DJ Chris lova lova on Atlanta’s hot 97.5 (now hot 107.9). This is where Chris got his contact with fame. Famed rapper/ producer/ and singer Timberland heard him rapping on the radio and came and asked him for assistance on an album he was working on at the time. Chris replied on the dot. They made a song called “Phat Rabbit” which appeared on Timberland album that year. That song, however, gave Ludacris the right buzz he needed in the industry. Soon everyone wanted to work with him, even Jermiane Dupri wanted to sign him.Ludacris finally settled with Def Jam Recording Group—the same label that holds best selling artists such as Kanye West, Jay-z and Neyo. Chris released his debut album entitled Back for the first time, which debuted at number 3 on billboard 200. The album was a great success, and it went on to sell three million copies in America alone. Ludacris was now parachuted to highest echelon of the hip-hop elite. His sophomore album Word of mouf debuted the charts at # 1 and sold five million copies worldwide. Ludacris is also credited for helping southern rap music coming in to the forefront of hip-hop culture. While enjoying his success in music, Christopher also enjoyed great success in movies. Staring in films such as Fast and the Furious, Fred Clause, and the critically acclaimed Oscar award-winning movie Crash. When Ludacris is staring in a movie, he prefers being called by his legal name Christopher Bridges to show his peers that he is really serous about his craft in his art. In 2007, Ludacris cut off his trademark braids. He stated the reason for cutting his hair was so that more acting roles can be offered to him. He also stated that by the age of 29, braids really don’t look so “cool”. Chris says that no man going into his 30’s should have braids in his hair. Later on in that year, Ludacris received a Grammy award for his critically acclaimed albumRelease therapy. Shortly after he won the award, his father died from heart problems. He was devastated. Ludacris is one of hip-hop biggest stars today. He has also been doing some great philanthropic work. He has set up a foundation for inner city youth and for kids in third world countries. Ludacris has even given money to schools in Africa and in Asia to help keep stability for the children so they can go to school and learn in a safe environment.Ludacirs is currently working on his 7th album Theater of the mind, where he already conveys that the album will talk about social issues and reflect on societal problems with feel good music. He describes the album as mental motion pictures that will flow through your head and elevate the mind. Ludacris also has a hand full of movies that will be debuting this fall, especially the highly anticipated movie based on the classic video game MaxPayne. Ludacirs certainly has a bright future in the entertainment industry. After 10 years in the spotlight, I’m pretty sure as long as Christopher Bridges gives the public the right music and talent, he’ll be around for another 10 years. Christopher “ Ludacris” Bridges is truly a southern king.Also see Chris Brown: R&B Elite singer Milca: New Haitian diva crowned in Paris while Konpa is breaking new groundsWyclef Jean: An Artist With A MissionKanye West: A Unique rapperTyler Perry: A success storyRobyn Rihanna Fenty: A shining starAmerie M.M. Rogers: The R&B PrincessNote: Ardain Isma Junior is senior at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Florida. He wrote this piecee xclusively for CSMS Magazine.