In downtown Atlanta, there is an old-fashioned Waffle House strategically placed in the center of Georgia State University's main campus. Inside the popular breakfast spot, the waitresses chatter about soul music and what time their shift will end. As the thick scent of syrup blends into the poignant heat, the legendary Anita Baker comes up in conversation. A few of her more memorable ballads from the early 80s, including "Sweet Love" begin to play.
The night before, Atlanta's own Ludacris performed in front of 2600 people in a renovated church as part of Bud Light’s 50/50/1, 50 concerts held in 50 states on the same day. His performance at the Tabernacle was filled with hits -- the type of hits that'll make a diverse crowd "Move" and "Stand Up."
Luda's forthcoming project is his eighth studio album, entitled Ludaversal. The album is an introspective look at who Chris Bridges is at this point in his rap career.
"I've been living life," Luda told VIBE prior to his performance. "It's all about experiences, so I've been traveling the world, that's part of the reason this album is called Ludaversal.... It's definitely a play off words; Ludaversal is sort've like welcome to my world. I'm letting people in."
Luda kept mum about most of the details regarding his upcoming album but the three-time Grammy winner did confirm that a soulful guest would be featured on a heartfelt song he wrote for his father called "Ocean Skies."
"I don't know if the cat's out the bag. Yeah, Anita Baker is definitely on the album," admitted Luda. "She's on that particular song. [It] is really about my father and growing up and me being a kid and trying to get him to stop and me dealing with that."
The 35-year-old rapper recently allowed VH1s Behind the Music to reveal his personal battle with his Dad's devastating alcohol addiction. Previously undocumented, the episode shed light on Wayne Bridges' lifelong battle with alcoholism and his untimely death due to diabetes.
"The last seven albums you got glimpses of my personal life but you never really, really got to understand what's going on," he said. "I'm letting people get a chance to really know who Chris Bridges is."
Ludacris looks to add a few more hits to his long list of chart toppers with this upcoming album. Even if his Anita Baker assisted track doesn't make it onto the airwaves, or Billboard, there is a downtown Waffle House where the tune will be appreciated.
Ludaversal is set to hit stores this September.
Photo by: Ray Yau / www.rayyau.net