Christopher Bridges, aka Ludacris, has been a star in the entertainment industry for almost two decades. Starting out as a radio DJ, Luda soon released a string of canonical albums in the early 2000s, including the classics Chicken-Beer and The Red Light District.
Since taking over the rap game (seriously there was a point in 2003-2004 where Ludacris was completely unavoidable) Bridges has parlayed his visibility into a wild business career.
Between dipping his toe into other entertainment industries, investments in emerging tech, and his own businesses, Luda has been raking it in for a minute now.
Here’s how Ludacris has gone from party rapper to a boss of the business world.
Fast and Furious franchise
In 2003, when Ludacris was at the top of the rap game, he was casted as Tej Parker, a technician and retired drag racer in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Since then, Luda has appeared in five of the eight Fast and Furious movies, which have grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
In a 2015 interview with Screen Rant, Ludacris spoke about the Fast and Furious franchise:
“It was definitely a surprise and I’m just humbled to be a part of this franchise. Gotta love that. No one thought it would be successful enough to make it to seven. Not it’s literally one of the most successful franchises in movie history.”
Ludacris used his experience in Fast and Furious to get reputable roles in Hustle & Flow and Crash. Dude is one of the most successful musical artist/actors ever. That’s some range.
In 2016, Ludacris turned his infamous album title Chicken-n-Beer into a real life place, opening up the Chicken-n-Beer restaurant in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.
To make the restaurant a reality, Ludacris teamed up with Jackmont Hospitality, a minority-owned foodservice management company behind some of Atlanta’s most popping up-and-coming restaurants.
Chicken-n-Beer serves southern comfort food and local beers. ‘Bout to fly down to Atlanta just to cop.
Rappers getting into the adult beverage game is nothing new, but in Ludacris’ case, he is the co-owner and co-creator of his own cognac brand, Conjure.
This isn’t just a simple endorsement for Ludacris, he was involved in the actual crafting of the alcohol. That’s some hands on work from the DTP head.
In 2015, Ludacris invested in Atlanta-based startup Roadie, which is basically Uber for package delivery. If you want to transport something, hit up Roadie and they’ll coordinate a drop off.
Ludacris said in a statement at the time that he’s excited about the app and always eager to encourage and promote businesses in his hometown of Atlanta:
“I am intrigued by new technology and I love seeing the Atlanta tech scene on the rise so I partnered with Roadie to help spread the word about this brand new, completely unique app created in Atlanta. In a world where I feel we need a lot more people helping each other out, Friendshipping is the future.”
Puma may be glowed-up now with Rihanna, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, and other hip-hop ambassadors, but that wasn’t always the case.
Ludacris was at the cutting edge back in 2006, bringing his own pair of Puma Suedes, complete with a very fire (and extremely dated) commercial.
Luda been knowin’.
I know all my 90s babies remember the best commercial of all-time. The Boost Mobile “Where You At?” campaign with Kanye, Ludacris, and The Game was truly an iconic moment (look at the ‘fits).
Not to mention, the song is a banger.
Slang N’ Friendz
As an answer to Scrabble and Words With Friends, Ludacris teamed up with Edward Benton to create Slang N’ Frienz, a mobile app styled after those spelling games but with slang words included in the game’s database.
Luda told Billboard:
“I thought it was a perfect partnership just because hip hop is a genre that is known for creating slang and some of that slang even making it into the dictionary or having double entendres or things of that nature. That’s pretty much what brought us together.”
It’s basically a more millennial-friendly Scrabble. It’s lit.
Best. Cover. Ever.
Ludacris is the host of Best. Cover. Ever., a YouTube show executive produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions and Endemol Shine America, that brings aspiring artists to cover a song by their favorite artists.
The catch? Those artists are in attendance during the performance.
Ludacris told Billboard about what differentiates Best. Cover. Ever.,
“It’s an interesting way of bringing new talent, not only to meet their idols but also to put the spotlight on them so they can help further their career. You have the competition aspect, the music aspect, the finding a star aspect, and the people meeting their idol aspect.”
Check out all episodes on YouTube.
The Ludacris Foundation
The Ludacris Foundation is a non-profit that “inspires youth through education and memorable experiences to live their dreams by uplifting families, communities and fostering economic development.”
The non-profit raises funds with their annual LudaDay Weekend that brings Atlanta youth together at events and concerts.
It’s cool to get extremely breaded off blockbuster films, luxury liquor brands, and tech investments, but it’s all relatively meaningless if you’re not bringing that success to your community.
Apropos of nothing, Ludacris was in the headlines a lot last summer when Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal came to the forefront. Back in the day, O’Reilly forced Pepsi to end its sponsorship with Ludacris because he was “a man who degrades women.”
O’Reilly, a serial sexual harasser, should probably have kept Luda’s damn name all the way out his mouth, but after the Fox News idiot was fired, Ludacris took the high road, telling The Breakfast Club he’s not here to judge:
“It’s not my place to judge Bill O’Reilly the same way he judged me. I’m thriving in life right now. All I can do is hope that Bill O’Reilly settles these issues and learns from whatever mistakes he may have made ― and also thrives.”
2002: Bill O’Reilly pressures Pepsi into dropping Ludacris
2017: Ludacris is in the #1 movie in America the day Bill gets fired pic.twitter.com/YhKTl5fxpa
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) April 19, 2017
We all hope to see Luda continue to thrive and Bill O’Reilly continue to recede from our collective consciousness.
*Puts on Chicken-n-Beer for rest of day*