Theater of the Mind

Theater of the Mind is the seventh studio album by American hip hop recording artist Ludacris.[1] It was released first released in Egypt on October 2, 2008, in the US on November 24, 2008, and on other release dates throughout the world, through Disturbing tha Peace and Def Jam Recordings.[2] Ludacris calls the album "theatrical".[3]

Theater of the Mind
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 2, 2008 (2008-10-02)
RecordedJanuary 2, 2007 – September 13, 2008
GenreHip hop
Ludacris chronology
Release Therapy
Theater of the Mind
Battle of the Sexes
Singles from Theater of the Mind
  1. "What Them Girls Like"
    Released: August 7, 2008
  2. "One More Drink"
    Released: October 28, 2008
  3. "Nasty Girl"
    Released: January 20, 2009


The album was slated for release on October 21, but was pushed back to November 22. In April 2008, a song named "Let's Stay Together" appeared on;[4] supposedly from the new album. It is now an iTunes bonus song on the album. T.I. appeared on a track called "Wish You Would", produced by DJ Toomp.[5][6]

The album cover was released on October 24, 2008 at The cover is an homage to Sly and The Family Stone's Life album, which had the band appearing as all the cinemas goers in the picture. Ludacris planned on releasing a sequel to this album in 2009.[7]

In ’09, I’m definitely dropping another album. I’m working on a Battle of the Sexes album and a Theater of the Mind 2. With Battle of the Sexes, I’m trying to do some stuff with Shawnna."

Ludacris has been talking to T.I. and Young Jeezy about a tour together.[8]

I haven't confirmed anything yet. It's little talks here and there. But I'll put it out there: I would love to do a tour where it's me, T.I. and [Young] Jeezy. Me, Tip and Jeezy would be outrageous. But nothing is confirmed at the moment.


Ludacris stated before the release of the album that, rather than featuring "guests", the tracks would have "co-stars", in keeping with the concept of the album as a "movie".[6] "Co-stars" on Theater of the Mind include Nas, Plies, Jay-Z, T.I., Common, T-Pain, Willy Northpole, Rick Ross, Playaz Circle, Ving Rhames, Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Chris Brown, Sean Garrett, Lil Wayne, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jamie Foxx, and The Game.[9]


Ludacris released a "Gangsta Grillz" mixtape, with DJ Drama, titled The Preview. The mixtape was released as a digital download on July 28, 2008. This mixtape was well known for his disses toward George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.


On October 24, 2008, three songs from Theater of the Mind, "Do the Right Thing", featuring Common and Spike Lee, "I Do It for Hip Hop", featuring Jay-Z and Nas, and "Last of a Dying Breed", featuring Lil Wayne were leaked to the Internet. Ludacris commented on the situation:

Although I don't know where the leaks came from, the 3 songs leaked to the Internet today were unfinished tracks and premature versions of songs. I'm glad that my fans are excited about the new project, but to get the final masterpiece, the album Theater of the Mind premieres on November 24.[10]


Official singles

Other songs


Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
The A.V. Club(B)[12]
Billboard(favorable) 2008
The Boston Globe(favorable) 2008
Robert Christgau[14]
Entertainment Weekly(B)[15]
Rolling Stone[18]
XXL (XL)[19]
Slant Magazine[20]

Theater of the Mind garnered a mild reception from music critics. Addi Stewart from NOW praised the cinematic concept throughout the record, from its title to the vast majority of featured artists on every track.[16] Entertainment Weekly's Simon Vozick-Levinson said about the overall feel of the album: "Theater feels a bit like yet another Ocean's Eleven sequel. We've watched this movie more than a few times, but it's always fun to see this many talented pals cutting loose together."[15] Josh Eells of Blender felt the lyrical content making up the whole concept record was lacking and too complacent for Luda, saying that "Punch line for punch line, Luda is still the best in the business, but these sex jams and hater disses feel too flat and perfunctory for his thousand-watt personality." He concluded that after the final track "the whole thing seems less like an album than a branding exercise—an obligatory effort to keep the “hip-hop star” line on his CV."[13] The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin commended the upbeat tracks and lyrical collaborations with T-Pain, Nas/Jay-Z and T.I. but felt they were only decent retreads of Luda's previous material and lacked the strengths found in his guest verses on other people's records. He also compared it to Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak on how it engages its respective fanbases, saying that Mind is "more immediately accessible, but ultimately less resonant" and could benefit from a "radical reinvention" that's similar to Heartbreak.[12] Robert Christgau cited "I Do It for Hip Hop" as a "choice cut",[14] indicating a good song on "an album that isn't worth your time or money."[21] Ian Cohen, writing for Pitchfork, commended the first third for its lyrical boasts, criticized the middle portion's "one dimensionality" and "woefully underdeveloped" party jams and found the final half's hip-hop checklist tracks passable if the listeners can stomach the logic behind them, saying that "[W]hile Theater isn't quite as dire as the above may indicate, like every other Ludacris record, it doesn't grow on you-- in fact, it actually contracts."[17]

Chart performance

The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, selling 214,000 copies in its first week, making it his sixth top 5 album on that chart. It was his first album since 2000's Back for the First Time and 2001's Word of Mouf to not reach number one status, and his lowest charting album in his career. As of March 2010, the album has sold about 671,000 copies, achieving a gold certification.[22]

Track listing

1."Intro"Christopher Bridges, Andrew Harr, Jermaine JacksonThe Runners1:55
2."Undisputed" (featuring Floyd "Money" Mayweather)Bridges, Donald "Don Cannon" Clark, Ivory Joe Hunter, Beatrice VerdiDon Cannon4:33
3."Wish You Would" (featuring T.I.)Bridges, Aldrin Davis, Clifford Harris, Jr., Ron "8TRIX" UtleyDJ Toomp, 8TRIX4:47
4."One More Drink" (featuring T-Pain)Samuel Barnes, Jean-Claude Olivier, Theo Bowen, Bridges, Alexander "Spanador" Mosely, Faheem NajmTrackmasters3:41
5."Call Up the Homies" (featuring The Game and Willy Northpole)William Adams, Bridges, Clinton Sparks, Jayceon TaylorSparks, Kamau Georges4:04
6."Southern Gangsta" (featuring Rick Ross, Playaz Circle and Ving Rhames)Bridges, Earl Conyers, Tauheed Epps, Williams Roberts II, Nicholas WarwarStreetrunner4:34
7."Everybody Hates Chris" (featuring Chris Rock)Bridges, Johnny Bristol, Clark, William Robinson, Jr.Don Cannon4:54
8."What Them Girls Like" (featuring Chris Brown and Sean Garrett)Bridges, Christopher Brown, Sean Garrett, Rodney JerkinsDarkchild, Garrett (co.)4:02
9."Nasty Girl" (featuring Plies)Bridges, Kasseem Dean, Algernod WashingtonSwizz Beatz4:32
10."Contagious" (featuring Jamie Foxx)Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, Bridges, Scott Storch, Eric BishopStorch4:45
11."Last of a Dying Breed" (featuring Lil Wayne)Eric Barrier, Bridges, Dwayne Carter, Jr., Wyatt Coleman, Gluseppe Donaggio, Youtha Fowler, William Griffin, Jr., Vito PallaviciniWyldfyer4:10
12."MVP"Bridges, Christopher MartinDJ Premier3:50
13."I Do It for Hip Hop" (featuring Nas and Jay-Z)Bridges, Shawn Carter, Coleman, Fowler, Nasir JonesWyldfyer5:22
14."Do the Right Thang" (featuring Common and Spike Lee)Bridges, Patrick Douthit, Lonnie Lynn, Arthur Verocai9th Wonder5:14
Sample credits
  • "Undisputed" contains samples of "We'll Find a Way" performed by Edwin Starr.
  • "One More Drink" contains samples of "Take That To The Bank" performed by Shalamar.
  • "Everybody Hates Chris" contains samples of "It Takes a Whole Lotta Man for a Woman Like Me" performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips.
  • "Last of a Dying Breed" contains samples of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" performed by Dusty Springfield, and "Eric B. Is President" performed by Eric B. & Rakim.
  • "MVP" contains samples of "Virgo" performed by Nas, "DTP for Life" performed by Disturbing tha Peace, and "All Night Long" performed by Mary Jane Girls.
  • "Do the Right Thang" contains samples of "Na Boca Do Sol" performed by Arthur Verocai.
  • "Let's Stay Together" contains samples of "Everybody's Breakin' Up" performed by Billy Paul.


Credits for Theater of the Mind adapted from AllMusic.[23]

Release dates

Country Date
Egypt October 2, 2008
India, Argentina, France, Germany, Greece, Brazil November 16, 2008
United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan November 24, 2008[24]
Switzerland, Jamaica December 4, 2008
Poland December 9, 2008
Mexico December 11, 2008
Middle East, Costa Rica January 16, 2009
South Africa January 18, 2009
Italy February 9, 2009
Ireland February 15, 2009
New Zealand March 5, 2009


Chart (2008) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart[25] 22
Swiss Albums Chart[26] 46
US Billboard 200[27] 5
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[28] 2
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[29] 1


  1. "Theater of the Mind: Ludacris: Music". Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  2. "Def Jam Recordings : Def Jam News". Archived from the original on November 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-10.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. (July 16, 2008). Ludacris Gets Theatrical on Sixth Album Rap-Up. Accessed August 3, 2008.
  4. "Ludacris "Let's Stay Together" audio". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  5. DJ Toomp: Grammy Family Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed July 6, 2008.
  6. Ludacris, T.I. 'Wish You Would' Believe There's No Beef Between Them. Accessed August 8, 2008.
  7. Ludacris: Audio Cinematic.
  8. Ludacris In 'Talks' To Tour With T.I. And Young Jeezy, Says Theater Of The Mind Is A 'Classic'.
  9. Ludacris Interview.
  10. Ludacris Speaks on Song Leaks. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  11. Jeffries, David. "Theater of the Mind - Ludacris". AllMusic. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  12. Rabin, Nathan (December 17, 2008). "Theater Of The Mind · Ludacris · Music Review". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  13. Eells, Josh. "Ludacris : Theater of the Mind". Blender. Alpha Media Group. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  14. Christgau, Robert. "CG: Ludacris". Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  15. Vozick-Levinson, Simon (November 19, 2008). "Theater of the Mind". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  16. Stewart, Addi (November 26, 2008). "Ludacris". NOW. NOW Communications. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  17. Cohen, Ian (January 5, 2009). "Ludacris: Theater of the Mind". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  18. Hoard, Christian (November 27, 2008). "Theater of the Mind : Ludacris". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  19. Cantor, Paul (November 19, 2008). "Ludacris:Theater Of The Mind". XXL. Townsquare Media. Archived from the original on March 20, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  20. "Ludacris: Theater of the Mind | Music Review". Slant Magazine. December 6, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  21. Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  23. "Theater of the Mind - Ludacris | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  24. Gaerig, Chris (December 3, 2008). "Ludacris: Theater of the Mind". PopMatters. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  25. "Top Canadian Albums — Theater Of The Mind — Ludacris". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  26. "Ludacris — Theater Of The Mind — Music Charts". αCharts. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  27. "The Billboard 200 - Theater Of The Mind — Ludacris". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  28. "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums — Theater Of The Mind — Ludacris". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  29. "Top Rap Albums — Theater Of The Mind — Ludacris". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
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