Conjure: A Hustler’s Spirit

Beats: L
Lyrics: XL
Originality: L

Ludacris wants to celebrate before he releases his upcoming album, Battle of the Sexes. So his latest mixtape, Conjure: A Hustler’s Spirit, offers listeners a sonic concoction that goes down free and easy, ideal for a thirsty mixtape audience in search of an immediate buzz.

In spite of the endless plugs of his new alcoholic beverage Conjure, it's clear Ludacris hasn’t lost his edge on the mic. Over Roscoe Dash’s “All The Way Turnt Up,” he spits with the same intensity he’s used in the past on successful singles like “Get Back.” On Shawty Lo’s hometown anthem, “ATL, GA,” he angrily points out that Atlanta didn’t always get the respect it does today. And on last year’s overlooked remix to the Cool Kids’ “Pennies,” Luda turns to some of his trademark laugh-out-loud lyrics when he raps about his ride: “Four 15s, enough to make the glass break/I hit a switch, the car strips and makes its ass shake.”

The only buzzkill is that almost nothing on this mixtape is new. From Lil Scrappy’s single, “Addicted To Money,” to the 8Ball & MJG-sampling “Everybody Wit Me,” Conjure is filled with dated guest spots off Disturbing Tha Peace projects and R&B features. But he mixes in just the right amount of fresh material, like his fiery freestyle over Waka Flocka Flame’s “O Let’s Do It,” to keep the party going. So while Conjure may not exactly put you on your ass, it still packs a punch. —Chris Yuscavage