What started as a rare sight a year ago appears to be turning into an unexpected tradition for Lexington concertgoers.
In 2018, hip-hop heavyweight Nelly, along with Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and Juvenile, performed at the home of the Lexington Legends (Whitaker Bank Ballpark) to a sold-out crowd. For the second concert this year, the ballpark is bringing in more heavy hitters in hip-hop.
Chart-topping MC Ludacris will be joined by Waka Flocka Flame, Petey Pablo, MIMS, Twista, Do or Die and Shawnna for a jam-packed hip-hop show on Saturday, June 15, at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
As Atlanta has emerged as the capital of hip-hop over the past couple of decades, it’s almost impossible to talk about the city’s biggest MCs and success stories without mentioning Ludacris. Twenty years ago, he immediately made an impression with his raunchy and catchy independently released hit single “What’s Your Fantasy” featuring Shawnna before releasing his major label debut “Back For The First Time” in 2000.
Between having an ear for smart collaborations with notable producers like Timbaland, The Neptunes, Organized Noize and Jazze Pha and differentiating himself in the genre with his aggressive and animated delivery and flow, Ludacris consistently produced hip-hop hits that populated the Billboard charts in the ‘00s.
He avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump” with 2001’s “Word of Mouf” with hits like “Rollout (My Business),” “Area Codes” and “Move B***h.” He followed that up with back-to-back multiplatinum albums with 2003’s “Chicken-n-Beer,” which contained smash singles like “Stand Up” featuring Shawnna and “Splash Waterfalls,” and 2004’s “The Red Light District,” which features “Get Back” and “Number One Spot.”
Ludacris also began to make his presence felt on screen when he wasn’t in the studio. In addition to having a small part in the Oscar-winner “Crash” in 2004, he had a supporting role as Tej in the 2003’s “2 Fast 2 Furious,” one of several sequels he would appear in as part of the wildly popular “The Fast and Furious” franchise. In addition to his own hit songs and No. 1 albums like “Battle of the Sexes” in 2010, he remained a presence through many featured guest spots for other artists, most notably contributing a verse to a young Justin Bieber for his first international smash single “Baby” in 2010.
After a long and successful career in both music and film, Ludacris is once again teaming up with super-producer Timbaland for what will be his upcoming 10th studio album after 20 years in music.
“Being in the elite number of individuals that just have even gotten to double digits in albums is out of this world,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I’m one of those people able to live out the dreams of what most people I feel like the two top tier dreams are: rapper/rock star and movie star. Humbly speaking, man, I’ve been able to experience both. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed.”
When Ludacris comes to headline Whitaker Bank Ballpark, the number of special guests that will share the stage with him is twice the artists that performed at the Nelly concert last year. Waka Flocka Flame, another notable Atlanta MC, broke through the hip-hop scene in 2010 with his debut album “Flockaveli,” which produced the rapper’s biggest anthems “Hard in da Paint” and “No Hands.” The Billboard-charting hits will continue to blast through the ballpark thanks to North Carolina-based rapper Petey Pablo (“Raise Up,” “Freek-a-Leek”), MIMS (Billboard No. 1 single “This is Why I’m Hot”), chopper-rapping Chicago rap veteran Twista (“Slow Jamz,” “Overnight Celebrity”), as well as Chi-town trio Do or Die and frequent Ludacris collaborator Shawnna. Also appearing will be local artist Jim “Wurlz” Turley.
Lexington has gone from the idea of a sold-out hip-hop concert at Whitaker Bank Ballpark being ludicrous. Now, a platinum-selling rapper named Ludacris is headlining what may be the second wildly successful hip-hop concert at that location that is now serving as the unofficial kick-off of summer. What a difference a few years can make.
If you go: Lexington Summer Kickoff at the Ballpark with Ludacris and special guests Waka Flocka Flame, Petey Pablo, MIMS, Twista, Do or Die and Shawnna
When: Saturday, June 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark, 207 Legends Lane