#14. Ludacris, Back For The First Time (2000)

Other works include: Incognegro, Golden Grain (Disturbing Tha Peace), The Red Light District

Jonathan Mannion: “This came to be based on my relationship with Def Jam. I’d known Chris Lova Lova from the radio in Atlanta, but I never knew that he was an artist. It made sense, though. I’d heard him do drops, and I saw his comfort level on the radio, and I knew he was out of here. I hadn’t even heard a tune, but he was so professional, sharp and smart. He’s a big-time star.

“Originally, this album was going to be called Incognegro. Then, he changed the name to Back For The First Time. This was all about him starting to figure out what he was about.

 

Originally, this album was going to be called Incognegro. Then, he changed the name to Back For The First Time. This was all about him starting to figure out what he was about.

 

“One thing I’m grateful for is the amount of firsts that I’ve done in my career. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and I want to make it an important one, every time, for every artist.

“I always want people to be who they are, but at the highest level of who they can be. At the end of the day, I wanted him to be him. I wanted him to look great, and I wanted to give people something to look at that was real.

“I find that concepts often work better for editorial things, but those aren’t as lasting. This is forever. So I knew that if we were going to execute the concept, we had to take that concept fully there, and not a lot of people are ready to do an entire shoot of that.

“We ended up running around, and the shoot was low-key. We were both working really hard at the time, and we wanted each other to win. Since then, I’ve done four more albums with him.

“I’ve maintained contact with that camp, because I love what they do. They’re smart and clever, and they’re about their business. We’ve had a great run, and he’s a person I want to continue to work with.”