Ludacris

Release Therapy (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam)

In flicks such as Crash and Hustle & Flow, aspiring thespian Chris Bridges is convincing when called upon to act grim or edgy. If only he could translate such emotions to CD. Luda's latest Release suggests that he's got more range on the screen than on disc.

The innate humor and sass of Bridges's delivery serve him well throughout "Grew Up a Screw Up," in which he narrates his own birth, right down to the snipping of the umbilical cord; "Money Maker," his hit collab with Pharrell Williams; and "Ultimate Satisfaction," a production that gives off a weird, witty buzz. But he seems like a poseur in "Do Your Time," a jailhouse saga co-starring Beanie Sigel, Pimp C and C-Murder, all of whom have seen cells from the inside. Likewise, the effort required to tamp down his boisterous personality contributes to the strained, unconvincing feel of "Runaway Love," a would-be tearjerker featuring Mary J. Blige.

The upbeat ballers here produce consistent pleasure, but most of Ludacris's heavier efforts miss the O.G. spot.

 
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