Ludacris, born as Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois, is one of the most recognizable faces in the rap genre. After working as a DJ at Atlanta's Hot 97.5 station, Ludacris collaborated with Timbaland on the song "Phat Rabbit" and began to make connections in the music industry. In the late '90s, Ludacris went into the studio to record his first full-length album, Incognegro, which would sell poorly in its first incarnation but would be reinvented during the album's reissue, Back for the First Time. This record was Ludacris's first major label release and climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard 200, a resounding success for a debut album. The record's singles, "Southern Hospitality" and "What's Your Fantasy" saw plenty of airtime on hip-hop stations around the country and signaled that Ludacris's career was off to a strong start.
In 2001, Ludacris released his follow-up album, Word of Mouf, which refined the rapper's sound and produced a series of successful singles. "Rollout (My Business)" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002, and other tracks like "Saturday (Oooh Oooh)", "Move Bitch" and "Area Codes" would also chart well. After a short hiatus from the recording studio, Ludacris came back with his third album, Chicken-n-Beer in 2003. While the record wasn't as critically-acclaimed as his other releases, the album featured his highest-charting single to-date, "Stand Up," which would hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2004, Ludacris took a different approach to his music and released his fourth studio album, The Red Light District. A much more serious and refined record, the album featured singles "Get Back" and "Number One Spot," and would hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Not long after this release, Ludacris released what is hailed as one of his best records, Release Therapy. Featuring guest appearances by artists like Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Young Jeezy and Pharrell Williams, the singles "Money Maker," "Grew Up a Screw Up" and "Runaway Love" showcased how Ludacris's music had changed from light-hearted club fare to exploring much darker themes.
After the rousing success of Release Therapy, Ludacris released a series of albums over the course of the late 2000s, including the highly successful Battle of the Sexes and The Preview. With a slew of high-charting albums and a budding acting career, Ludacris has achieved bonafide superstar status and has earned legions of fans all over the world.