Ludacris has had a career filled with chart-topping hits, but at least one of those successes came as a shock to him because the song was just a rush-job to fill an album.
The rapper and actor stopped by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All The Smoke podcast last week, and revealed he had no idea his hit 2000 song “Southern Hospitality” would go on to be as big as it was.
According to Luda, the song was made at the last minute to repackage his independent album, Incognegro, for his major label Def Jam debut, Back For the First Time.
“If anybody can give you a hit at the last minute, it’s Pharrell and Chad and The Neptunes,” Luda explained. “He throws on this beat, and I’m vibing to it. I’m thinking it’s cool. I’m not like thinking, ‘This is a hit… I did not know that it was the hit that it became.”
Luda then recalled going to the studio’s parking lot to sit in his car and write to the instrumental Pharrell and Chad had just cooked up. He said he thought it was good, but everyone else felt like the record could be huge.
Check out the full interview below:
“Southern Hospitality” was released as the second single off Ludacris’ Def Jam debut, Back For the First Time. The song peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 100 and No. 5 on the Billboard Rap Songs chart in 2001.
Elsewhere in the interview, the Atlanta rap legend reflected on his larger-than-life music videos and revealed Hov once said to him that he believes they’re the reason he doesn’t get the credit he deserves as an MC.
“It was big, but there was a downside to it because even JAY-Z was one of the ones that said, you know, he don’t think I get the lyrical credit that I deserve because of the visuals,” Luda said.
“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you think get the credit?’ Because I played too goddamn much, that’s what I do! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why my name is Ludacris, because it’s beyond crazy, it’s wild, it’s ridiculous.”
He added: “I like post-effects and augmenting reality, big-ass shoes with big-ass chains, and bobble heads and all that. So I get it, I can’t be mad at it. I just have to show the multi-faceted aspects of myself and I actually love that.”
When asked what his biggest music video budget was, Luda admitted that he never quite hit the seven-figure heights that contemporaries like Diddy, Ma$e and Wu-Tang Clan did, but his most expensive clip still cost an eye-watering amount.
“I want to say like half a mil, something like that,” he answered. “Maybe it inched up to that $600,000. But you hear about when Diddy and Ma$e did the $1million videos, it was a couple of those.
“I think Wu-Tang, that ‘Triumph’ video, Steve Rifkind said he did a million. I never made it to the million category, I never wanted to do that, but I did about half of that.”