When Def Jam signed Ludacris in 2000, the Atlanta rapper had already released a regionally successful independent album (Incognegro) with a hot single ("What's Your Fantasy"). So rather than send Ludacris back into the studio to record a follow-up album, Def Jam chose to repackage Incognegro as Back for the First Time (the title a play on the re-released nature of the music) and append some new material. The decision proved wise. Incognegro had been a strong album debut, produced largely by talented newcomer Shondrae, along with Organized Noize (who produce "Game Got Switched") and Jermaine Dupri ("Get Off Me"), and featuring a roster of hungry underground rappers (I-20, Fat Wilson, Shawnna, Pastor Troy, 4-Ize). Plus, "What's Your Fantasy" was already a proven hit, if perhaps too explicit for mainstream radio play. The real difference between Incognegro and Back for the First Time, however, is the newly recorded material -- four songs, each a standout: the Neptunes-produced club-banger "Southern Hospitality," the previously released Timbaland-produced "Phat Rabbit," the rowdy U.G.K.-featuring "Stick 'Em Up," and the provocative Trina and Foxy Brown remix of "What's Your Fantasy." The most significant of these additions is "Southern Hospitality," a feel-good party song that -- sequenced late in the album, at track 14 -- comes as a pleasant relief after the proceeding up-from-the-underground hardcore tone of Incognegro/Back for the First Time.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: C. Shawna
feat: Fat Wilson
feat: C. Shawna