Rating: 1 out of 5 Potholes
Before one even approaches the content of Battle of the Sexes, there are already plenty of warning signs this won’t be a very considered project. Most notably, the album is no longer billed as a collaboration with Shawnna, Luda’s longtime female counterpart who recently jumped ship from DTP to T-Pain’s Nappy Boy. And outside of a few minor contributions she’s not really present on the album, either. In effect this nullifies the concept of the record; Monica is the female here that best translates a feminine perspective, but “Can’t Live Without You” may as well have been saved for a Monica album because she dominates the track and it doesn’t fit in with everything else here.
What’s on Battle of the Sexes shouldn’t be a surprise considering its stillborn execution. While the lead single “How Low” rides a high energy beat from T-Minus to immense club satisfaction, the rest of the disc follows a very familiar formula. The hooks are generally generic and childish, whether it’s the chopped’n'screwed hooks of “Everybody Drunk” and “My Chick Bad”, the chants of “I Know You Got a Man” or “Hey Ho”, or the chipmunk’ed Shawnna on “How Low” that constantly threatens to derail the track’s momentum. Generally speaking, the production doesn’t have much flair to it and isn’t eager to push Ludacris or any of his 18 guests outside the box.
Which brings me to the most unfortunate truth about Battle of the Sexes: Ludacris. Considering the dramatics involved in this album’s release, I could understand if Ludacris were saving himself for his solo release. But even if he didn’t consider Battle of the Sexes anything more than an entertaining side hustle after two serious projects, it’s hard to excuse him co-pting Nicki Minaj’s delivery on the “Intro” or borrowing Young Money’s patented passive lyricism with a “fill her up, balloons” pun on “My Chick Bad” that not only looks awful on paper, but sounds embarrassing as well. Nearly as embarrassing as the Flo Rida collaboration, but songs like “I Know You Got a Man” are in their own category of tedium and banality. Not to mention Flo Rida does Ludacris better than Ludacris does.
Of the 17 tracks on Battle of the Sexes (three of which are remixes), the “How Low” remix featuring Rick Ross and Twista is the lone essential track. “Sexting” is a humorous take on Tiger Woods’ situation but would have been better served as a mixtape highlight instead, and like Monica’s contribution “Sex Room” may as well have been a Trey Songz (whose winning streak continues) jam – preferably sans Luda’s verse. When was the last time you a track seemed better without a guest verse from Chris Bridges? Battle of the Sexes hits all the bases, and as solely a background CD for dull parties I suppose it does the job it was manufactured to do. But this is still a major disappointment for Ludacris rush job or not, and continues his run of uninspired muck since getting deeper into the Hollywood game. His aggressive Snoop Dogg act, relying on charisma and an increasing number of silly Minaj-like vocal effects, has slowly turned Ludacris into a parody of himself.