By now it's an old story, at least on RefinedHype. Ludacris has fallen off as an elite emcee. Not because he's "lost" whatever ability made him outstanding in the first place, but because it's got to be hard to care THAT much about killing every verse when you're literally making "Fast & Furious" money while you take a nap.
In the midst of all my pondering about Luda's standing in the game, I suddenly remembered that there's another aspect of Ludacris' career that has fallen even further, to the extent it appears most people seem to have forgotten it exists at all:
Let's begin by establishing some facts. One, there was a time when DTP was an absolutely legitimate force. The impact that
has on the game in 2013? That was DTP in 2003. In addition to multi-mutli platinum albums from the head honcho himself,
had released Chingy's platinum album, "Jackpot". (Yes, Chingy with a platinum album is a thing that really happened.).
Fact two, fast forward to 2013. I ask
, "Without Google/Wikipedia, how many artists currently on DTP can you name?" No one..let me repeat that, NO ONE, NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING PERSON, was able to correctly name more than one artist currently signed to the once powerful label. Go ahead, without cheating, give it a shot yourself. I'll give you a minute.
Ok, now here's the actual current roster*:
Playaz Circle (the group with 2 Chainz, not 2 Chainz individually)
TK N Cash
Yep, that's all of 'em. Honestly, I couldn't tell you a single song any one those artists have done (with the exception of Playaz Circle, who don't really count). So how did we get here? How did
go from the top to a label so unorganized they signed a group with the worst name imaginable in the internet age, "Untitled"?
There doesn't seem to be one defining moment, rather the collapse of
seems to a slow but steady war of attrition that in many ways mirrors Ludacris' seemingly waning interest in his own rap career. Chingy left over some financial disputes; then re-signed years later when no one gave a fuck about him anymore, then left again. After years of not-quite-taking-off Shawna eventually left, Bobby Valentino was forced to change his name and left. Field Mob left. About 50 more rappers you've never heard of came and went.
And now, well, this is the label's most recent release:
To be sure, Luda is far from alone. Unsurprisingly, it appears almost impossible for any artist to maintain a successful solo career while also running a label. Lupe's 1st & 15th has completely folded, 50 Cent's G-Unit, once a dominant force, is quickly fading into the pages of rap history. If anything Ludacris' inability to sustain
's popularity is far more the rule than the exception, and overall he's certainly done better than most.
But the fact that I now find myself talking about
with the same sense of nostalgia that I talk about Super Nintendo feels remarkable. In hip-hop empires rise and fall on a monthly basis, and while it may be too early to start reading
its last rights, it does look like hip-hop should start preparing to write its eulogy.
Disturbing the Peace Records
, it was fun while it lasted.
* According to
, which has to be considered the most reliable source available. On a related note, it doesn't look like the site's really been updated since 2012, which I think says it all right there.