VIBE's youngest residents, Tracy Garraud (the chick) and John Kennedy (the dude) sound off on Luda's coed seventh LP. Who you calling sexist?!
Sure, Ludacris’ seventh LP is androgynously dubbed Battle Of The Sexes, but what’s a challenge if the game’s been rigged? These days most women can shrug off, grind to, and recite the rhymes of a tatted beguiler objectifying them as the bitch in distress, no pandering necessary. So when Luda initially spoke of B.O.T.S’ goal in early ‘09, describing it as a first-time arena for both female and male perspectives to be thoroughly heard, one might’ve believed these POVs to span more than just a penis circumference. But hey, every rapper needs his irony.
It’s not about exclusively requesting feminist fodder (the irresistibly giddy “How Low,” and bonus Tiger-ode, “Sexting” meet no complaints), but if pillow talk is all that’s offered, let it be the best received. “I Do It All Night” is collectively a bit sloth-like, though Shawnna flecks it with spice, and the production for “I Know You Got A Man” and “Party No Mo” whips out nothing more than an Ambien. However, between sex and more sex, Mr. Bridges does manage to engage in somewhat of a debate with “B.O.T.S Radio” and “Hey Ho,” the two closest tracks to embody more than just tawdry convo.
There’s no denying that women have long-loved Luda’s salacious tongue, but if you’re writing the rules to a coed game, be sure they’re clear from jump. —Tracy Garraud
Ludacris resides in a comfort zone of unprecedented coziness on the make-love-not-war project Battle Of The Sexes, talking bad chicks, frat boyish parties, and chambers furbished solely for horizontal play. Yet in all his orgasmic joy, Luda’s seventh album feels much like riding seesaw solo.
Perhaps it’s the shadow of Shawnna, originally the project’s equal-opportunity co-star who fled for Nappy Boy’s more Auto-Tuned pastures. While she makes four appearances here (acknowledged with a meager “additional vocals” credit), her sporadic vocals pop up like the ghost of DTP past, haunting tracks with sexual energy (skip the whispery, phone-bone theme, “Feelin So Sexy”).
The DTP turncoat is a footnote here, though. Luda’s tries to balance the board by inviting Monica for the dull love-hate anthem “Can’t Live Without You” and exposing double standards on the ho-nest admission “Hey Ho,” with Lil Kim. But, really, the male ego is all that’s massaged. Bombarding with ridiculous bedroom cautions (“You might lose around four or five pounds so get ready to sweat yo’ ass off”), cliché sentiments pilfered from The-Dream (“I Know You Got A Man,” featuring Flo Rida) and booty-bouncing anthems (“How Low”), B.O.T.S. is man’s take on the fairer sex. Just how fair is that?
Tracks like the Lil' Scrappy-featured “Everybody Drunk” help drown out the pseudo gender dichotomy, but ultimately Ludacris' bro-minded bash is a sausage fest. —John Kennedy