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* * * LUDACRIS "Word of Mouf" \o7 Def Jam South\f7

November 25, 2001|Soren Baker

This animated Atlantan packs his energetic lyrics with more jokes than a stand-up comic.

With his second album (in stores Tuesday), the rapper keeps the laughs coming, injecting some sort of humor into nearly every line of the 19 songs. Even the skits, the downfall of many an otherwise above-average rap album, stand on their own hilarious merit.

Humor aside, Ludacris stuffs so many pop culture references into his work that you're almost dizzy trying to keep up, and his penchant for double-entendres makes his work all the more entertaining. Sure, he focuses on boasts, sex and the 'hood, but as long as those topics keep getting reinvented in such a playful manner, they'll never become banal.

For all of his wordplay, Ludacris also benefits from some searing production. Timbaland gives a brassy bump to the single "Rollout (My Business)," while Shondrae summons a wicked warble for "Go 2 Sleep," which features a terror-instilling Three 6 Mafia. A thrill ride, indeed.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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