On this day, September 26, in hip-hop history…
2006: After shaving his signature cornrows and adopting new a “caesar cut,” Chris “Ludacris” Bridges was in the mood for a darker and more mature album after years of playing the loud-mouth court jester in hip-hop. The result was Release Therapy, Luda’s fifth studio album, and his most serious album to-date.
After debuting at number one on the Billboard Charts, his third time in a row, Release Therapy attempts to tackle various social issues that were on Luda’s mind for the first time in his career. The most prominent example would be the Mary J. Blige-assisted single, “Runaway Love,” that tackled the account of three preadolescent girls running away from their families to escape the troubles plaguing their young lives.
Despite the artistic evolution Luda showed with the album, public reaction to the album was mixed as many fans longed for the wilder, more fun Luda of previous efforts while others praised Luda for attempting to step out of the box. Luda was vindicated for his efforts when Ludacris would take home two Grammy’s for Release Therapy including Best Rap Album at the 2007 Grammy Awards. It would also prove to be a large commercial success as it be certified platinum selling over 1.3 million copies since the album’s release.