by Catherine Arjet
assistant arts & life editor
If you thought Ludacris had stopped being musically relevant ages ago, you aren’t alone. The rapper/actor dropped his supposed last album, Battle of the Sexes, in 2010. However, on March 31, three days before the release of Fast and Furious 7, Ludacris dropped a new album: Ludaversal.
Five years ago, Ludacris released singles like “How Low” and “My Chick Bad-”—all enjoyable, but all very 2010. This new album, which comes on the heels of both Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, not only has to live up to Ludacris’ previous albums, but also its contemporaries. But it holds its own, keeping Ludacris’ signature style while sounding only slightly dated to our 2015 ears.
Ludaversal touches on how hip-hop and rap have changed since Ludacris was last a part of the scene. In “Lyrical Healing,” a ballad about Ludacris’ problems with the evolution of the genre, he raps “Rappers all in they feelings/…and hip-hop is/Too many rappers getting sensitive.” Most of the songs on this album feature the self-congratulatory tone one expects from a man like Ludacris. However a few seem to carry more emotional weight and, with that, a tone shitft. In particular, in “Ocean Skies,” Ludacris raps about losing his father to alcoholism and his own decision to get sober. Many of these songs sound more like a wannabe Eminem than the hip-hop artist we know and love.
If rap isn’t your thing, and you’re more into, say catchy songs from an adorable indie-dance duo, don’t worry. Matt and Kim (known for songs like “Daylight” and “Let’s Go”) released their newest album April 7. While this album, entitled New Glow, features the cute, danceable songs we’ve heard on their first four albums, it also mixes more trap and EDM sounds into the mix.
The album as a whole has a sweet, catchy, feel-good tone, but not much substance. It’s the kind of music you might listen to if you want to get pumped up, or dance to sappy cute love songs. Like much of Matt and Kim’s previous work, New Glow feels like it should be featured on this summer’s “quirky” coming of age movie, or a film about wayward 20-something that premiered at Sundance. This is not to say that New Glow is not an enjoyable album, just a one-tone one.