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Theater of the Mind
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
With three Grammy awards under his belt, Ludacris is back with his sixth studio album, THEATER OF THE MIND. A loosely-based concept album, the LP is said to be formulated like a movie soundtrack, with Ludacris leading listeners through various emotions and scenes. Much attention has been paid to the rapper's "co-stars" on the album. In fact, Ludacris does call on the services of nearly 20 artists for guest appearances, but they aren't all rappers. The guest list on this playbill includes rappers like Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne, but also boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and director Spike Lee.
Is it any good?
Ludacris makes the most of the guest appearances, allowing each artist to play their role for the utmost entertainment value. And his skillful use of samples in nearly every song adds a final cinematic effect to this grand production.
The lyrics, while raunchy, mostly go beyond the stereotypical gansta rap theme. On Do the Right Thang, Ludacris tells listeners that even if life is hard, there's no reason to be a criminal, and on Nasty Girl (despite its title) he applauds a woman who can "make her own money, pay her own bills." But he also proclaims the joys of drunk driving and casual sex. For mature audiences who can tell the difference between misbehavior and good judgement, there's lots to like on this unique effort from one of the industry's best artists.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how rap can be a form of social commentary. On this album, Ludacris makes lots of social and pop culture references, mentioning everything from presidential politics and the environment to Paris Hilton and LIndsay Lohan. Do you think this is common for rappers to take current events, personalities and issues and include them in their rhymes? Because there is so much explicit language and sexual references in rap music, do you think it's often overlooked as a source for perspective on our culture and society?