Everything came together for Ludacris on Chicken-N-Beer. He had completely grown into his persona as the loudest and most lovable mouth in the South, and was stomping across tracks with the tail-swinging ferociousness of a T. rex. He was could switch up his flow for some good-and-raunchy love songs (“Splash Waterfalls”) or Southern-cooked funk (the indelible “Diamond in the Back, an interpolation of William Devaughn’s anthem “Be Thankful For What You Got”), but he is always at his best when the track is bouncing hard and he is free to let it rip. “Blow It Out,” “Stand Up,” and the nothing-but-punchlines “Hip-Hop Quotables” are definitive Ludacris: pranking us, himself, and everything in between with a bellow that is equal parts country preacher, irate Grandpa, and radio shock jock (Luda got his start as a DJ on Atlanta’s Hot 97.5 FM). No matter what the song, Ludacris steps to the mic like he’s onstage in front of thousands, and no matter what he’s doing on Chicken-N-Beer, he always makes sure it’s a performance.