Ludacris' larger-than-life personality and gut-busting humor made him one of rap's preeminent forces of the 2000s and a defining figure in Southern hip-hop, yet he's a pop-culture legend for reasons that extend way beyond that. Born Chris Bridges in Illinois in 1977 but raised as Atlanta's adopted son, he began his music career as a radio DJ. He came in hot with the unrestrained debauchery of his first on-record appearance, Timbaland's "Phat Rabbit." That same year—1998—he founded Disturbing tha Peace, an independent haven for Dirty South artists struggling to get a record deal, which later became a Def Jam South imprint. Luda's booming voice, animated flows, and wacky videos rippled with a unique playfulness, and his string of solo and star-assisted hits—2009's "How Low," 2010's Nicki Minaj-featuring "My Chick Bad," and the aughts-defining "Yeah!" alongside Usher—consistently livened up the rap universe. But he wasn't only about scandalous wordplay and goofball posturing. Ludacris began a successful acting career with 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious, and with the 2007 single "Runaway Love," he revealed that behind his wild charisma lie thoughtfulness and substance. Even with all he's done since his ATL radio days, a 2020 Verzuz appearance left no doubt that his DJ sensibilities remain intact, positioning him as both an exciting host and thrilling headliner. "The fans are the ones who are going to have to tell you whether you're legendary," he told Apple Music. "But I don't think it's just about rapping. Some of it is the other sh*t you do that makes you legendary."
BORNSeptember 11, 1977