Battle Of The Sexes was originally intended to be a joint album between rappers Shawnna and Ludacris, but after the female MC jumped ship for T-Pain’s label Nappy Boy Entertainment she was consequently dropped from the project. Ludacris forged on to finish the sexually charged album by recruiting the talent of Lil’ Kim, Monica, and hot item Nicki Minaj. With a few of the resulting tracks still featuring Shawnna, the feel is that what was supposed to be a battle between a male and female rapper has instead become typical hip-hop fare revolving around sex and relationships. It would seem that the steam aspired to have been caught on tape was lost in the real-life drama.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has always been special in his ability to deliver playful club bangers. The jocular atmosphere of his music however has never been an excuse for lazy lyrics or delivery. The style of his verse is unique and if there is one major positive to come out of Battle Of The Sexes it is that this release is no exception. Whether he’s rapping about Macy’s and balloons or poking fun at Tiger Woods, there is never a dull moment in the rhymes. Regrettably, “Sexting”, the most hilarious track from the sessions is only found on some versions of the album as a bonus track. Yet the overarching concern with the disc isn’t that it doesn’t have sufficient moments of levity, it’s that it can’t seem to decide what it wants to be.
For the first third, the album is comprised of beat driven joints that seem fit for radio-play or dance floors, but following the obligatory urban sex music jam “Sex Room”, the track listing seems to lose focus as an increasingly urban flair is added to the mix. By the time Monica hits the scene with the hook for “Can’t Live With You” the album has completely given over to the urban sex music program. Again, the issue here isn’t that these tracks are awful or even miscues, but that they come across as dead weight tacked on to the tail end of a release that was purportedly going to communicate a battle between sexes. Thus, while there’s plenty of sex, there is very little worth fighting for.
Lead single “How Low” seems to be the only song that will be worth any airplay on radio stations today, but if one other track does get off the ground it likely will be “My Chick Bad” which features a highly stylized bridge by girl wonder Nicki Minaj. Another standout track that might garner pop-appeal is the Ester Dean collaboration “I Know You Got A Man”.
In review, it would seem that the silhouettes of Ludacris and Shawnna on the album cover are symbolic of the absence of a war of personalities that Battle Of The Sexes was meant to be. With the battle left off the record and the sex all that remains, the result is a ho-hum rap album that offers very little to get excited about.
2 / 5 stars
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