Retro Review: Back For the First Time

Retro Review: Back For the First Time

Back For the First Time album cover
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Back For the First Time, by Ludacris

If you don’t know who Ludacris is, you’re a liar. The man is an icon. While it was more of a re-release of “Incognegro,” Back For the First Time was Luda‘s major label debut, and had a few extra songs on it, so it’s the one I decided to roll with for this review.

  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Production
  • Features
  • Longevity
  • Impact
  • Personal Preference
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Ludacris is one of those artists that people can relate to. He has a pretty predictable flow most of the time, so that’s why I couldn’t rate him a 5, even though he’s amazing. He’s never afraid to be the entertainer that all musicians seem to forget they are sometimes. He may not be a dictionary rapper, but I’d rate him as an elite lyricist. If you think I’m wrong, fight me.
There isn’t a beat on this album that feels out of place. It’s a very rare occasion when I can say that. They may not be the most inspired or boundary-pushing instrumentals, but they all fit with the artist, and they’re all good. “Stick ‘Em Up” was probably my favorite on here, but “Catch Up” was so damn catchy to me.
Turn of the Millenium, Def Jam. It’s almost moot to speak on the production at this point. It’s all clean, except for maybe Fate with no vocal control.
Man, I totally would’ve given this the maximum scoring on features, if it weren’t for Lil Fate. You’ve got UGK, Pastor Troy, Shawnna, I-20… Even Trina and Foxy Brown fit the remix they were on perfectly. 4-IZE is fucking hilarious, and I wish he got a little more stardom out of this. His underground mixtapes were nice too haha.  Anyway, back to the point. Fate is OK but wasn’t up to par with the rest of the album.
I really don’t hear too many people listening to this album, or even Luda anymore, because of his movie career. The songs are still as entertaining as they ever were, though, so it still holds some weight.  You may still run into some “What’s Your Fantasy” on something every now and then.
While the album only sold about 3 million (I say that like it’s chump change or something), it’s far from a stretch to say this didn’t launch the career of Ludacris on a whole new level. He’d go on to release I don’t even know how many more albums, including DTP, and build a very successful life for himself, all because of the strength of this (and the follow-up, Word of Mouf.)
Personal Preference
I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to Back For the First Time when it first came out. Considering I still knew most of the words when I listened for this review (18 years later) it’s safe to say I love this album. If you disagree or completely agree, sound off in the comments, I’d love to hear from ya.

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