Ludacris, "Battle of the Sexes"

70 Billboard Rating

Originally conceived as a sort of Marvin-and-Tammi-style collaboration between Ludacris and Shawnna, "Battles of the Sexes" shifted game plan after Shawnna decamped from Luda's Disturbing Tha Peace crew in 2009. But the rejiggered album pairs the affable Atlanta rapper with a handful of feisty female MCs, including Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj. The set also includes appearances by Gucci Mane ("Party No Mo'"), Lil Scrappy ("Everybody Drunk") and Flo Rida ("I Know You Got a Man")--none of whom makes much of an effort to conceal his preference for bodies over minds. "Hey Ho" gestures towards an examination of gender-based double standards ("If men sleep around we some players," Ludacris observes, "But for women they be saying, 'Hey, ho'"), while the R&B-leaning "Sex Room" finds the rapper generously offering to "power down your inhibitions and power up your inner freak." Yet with its rowdy gang vocals and efficient club beats, "Battle of the Sexes" is ultimately more concerned with partying than with politics. Surprised?--Mikael Wood

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