Ludacris has more good moments than bad ones on “Battle of the Sexes,” no thanks to all of his producers and the lackluster beats they make him work with. Considering how eager he is to approach his favorite subjects (women, partying, celebrity, etc.) at new angles, you’d think he would’ve tracked down somebody with enough skill to keep up, but all these beats do is stand alongside Luda without complementing him. Even if his lyrics are strong enough to make the whole thing worthwhile, getting a couple of big producers to help him out wouldn’t have hurt.
The silver lining here is that despite having to do all the heavy lifting, not only does he press on without breaking a sweat, but he never loses focus of the big picture. Even if it’s just an excuse for Luda to do some tracks with girls who can rap (such as Eve and Lil’ Kim, among others), “Battle of the Sexes” is usually on target, and can switch gears from the stadium-status swagger of “I Do It All Night” to baby-makin’ music like “Sex Room” and still pull it off. Never mind that they’re all a bunch of lyrics about the same thing – when you’re good at something, you brag about it.
Still, it’s a whole lot better when there’s someone creative behind the controls, like when the Neptunes lend their trademark sound to “Sexting,” a fond joke aimed at a certain golfer who you might’ve read about lately. The Neptunes have, of course, worked with Luda in the past (they helped put him on the map 10 years ago with “Southern Hospitality”), but one of the reasons why “Sexting” works so well here is that they don’t simply give him a clothesline to hang lyrics on – they get his personality and play off of it. You have to wonder why they only turn up here once.
They’re not the only ones who lend a helping hand, though. The guest appearances keep everything moving, and it makes sense that “My Chick Bad” with Nicki Minaj got picked as a single, not just to sell records but to represent the material as a whole. Although it isn’t the high point of Luda’s career, it’s a comfort to know that he can still find new ground to cover, even if he’s one of the only talents onboard with the wherewithal to do it. In a genre where winning a battle means everything, Luda still comes out on top.