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Ludacris is going to be a busy man this fall. He’s completing the final tracks for his sixth Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam album, “Theater of the Mind,” due Oct. 21, and that month will also yield co-starring roles in “Max Payne” (Oct. 17), adapted from the popular video game, and Guy Ritchie’s “RocknRolla” (Oct. 31).
Ludacris’ rap and acting personas intersect on “Theater of the Mind,” which comprises tracks envisioned as short movie plots. And in Ludacris’ special brand of musical theater, the featured guests — including T-Pain (“One More Drink”), the Game (“Call Up the Homies”) and T.I. (“Wish You Would”) — are billed as co-stars. Helping out on the A&R side is DJ Khaled and producers include Dre & Vidal and 9th Wonder.
Among the additional track selections is the healing-themed “Let’s Stay Together.” Armed with a beat and hook from artist/producers Juicy J and DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, Ludacris — starring as a music fan — exhorts artists to quell their beefs and come together to make better music.
The set’s official lead single is the bouncy “What Them Girls Like,” co-starring Chris Brown and writer/producer Sean Garrett as Ludacris’ female-loving sidekicks. During the video’s Aug. 24 shoot at the Microsoft House/Studio in Los Angeles, the trio’s natural camaraderie and magnetism were in keeping with the video’s premise: three fly guys who know what women like. The Chris Robinson-directed video takes its cue from the Mel Gibson movie “What Women Want,” with balloon pop-ups revealing the female extras’ thoughts.
“‘Theater of the Mind’ is all of my albums put together,” said Ludacris, who still hopes to hook up with Eminem for the album. “There’s the funny Ludacris, the serious Ludacris and the story-telling Ludacris as well as the movie-making Ludacris.”
Then there’s the films. Ludacris co-stars alongside Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton and Jeremy Piven in “RocknRolla,” which is about a London real-estate scam that attracts all manner of tough guys and underworld types. “Max Payne,” a loose adaptation of the videogame, finds Ludacris playing deputy police chief Jim Bravura. The movie stars Mark Wahlberg in the title role and veteran actor Beau Bridges.
“This adaptation takes the storyline and the characters to a whole other level,” Ludacris said. “This is the first time I’ve played any kind of police role. It’s funny … in most movies, Mark plays the dominant role but my character is the dominant one over Mark. That was a power thing and I absolutely loved it.”
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