Top 20 Hot 100 Songwriters, 2000-Present
Ludacris

Ludacris is "just starting to work" on his next album, which he's already dubbed "Ludaversal." And save for acknowledging that he's doing some work with the Neptunes, that's all he wants to say about it.

"We're just getting started, so I don't want to give too much information in terms of direction and stuff," the Atlanta rapper tells Billboard.com. "I'll have that information soon. I just don't want to give people the wrong impression."

Ludacris did say, however, that as on his current album -- "Battle of the Sexes," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Rap Albums charts in March -- he'll likely work with an array of producers and will be open again to the kind of "hungry, up-and-coming" talents that populate that album. "I don't discriminate," he explains. "I definitely go and look for the big-time producers, but I also make sure that I keep my ears to the street and look for all the hungry ones. It's about getting in there and doing a couple (of songs) with somebody and making sure you pick from the best ones."

While "Ludaversal" is just getting in gear, "Battle of the Sexes" is still raging strong, certified gold and on its second single, "Sex Room" with Trey Songz. "I love how it was received," Ludacris says of the album. "I'm very glad at the outcome and how everything turned out, 'cause it was just something I wanted to do in terms of trying to inject the industry with material that I feel is filling a void. My mind is constantly thinking of what hasn't been done and where I can go. That's kind of what 'Battle of the Sexes' was, bringing the female MCs and male MCs together in different subject matters. It was definitely a little bit of a challenge...but at the end of the day I made it happen."

A third single from the album, "Everybody Drunk" with Lil Scrappy, is due out soon and will be tied into promotion of Conjure, the cognac brand he launched last year with the Norwegian distillery Birkedal Hartmann.

"I've been a cognac drinker since I can remember," Ludacris says. "I set out to make a very fine cognac and mix the best ones together, like Louis XIII and VSOP and XO, all in one bottle, but for a more affordable price -- especially in today's economy. So it's just about quality and a good price."

Ludacris' other major project is on the big screen; after a turn in this year's "Repo Men" he's set to start in "The Fast and the Furious Five" soon, with filming slated for Atlanta and Puerto Rico. Also known as "Fast Five," it's currently due out June 10, 2011.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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