Monday, June 16, 2014

Ludacris

Wednesday, July 2 @ Miller Lite Oasis, 10 p.m.

Ludacris, Summerfest, Milwaukee
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“Thanks, Summerfest. This is what we really need right now,” conservative talker Mark Belling snarked in a 2007 column chastising the festival for booking—gasp—Ludacris, a rapper Belling insisted posed a public safety threat. “Advice to the rest of us: July 1 might not be the night you want to be hanging around the lakefront.” It turns out Belling was overstating the threat a bit. Contrary to his race-baiting cries, there wasn’t mass bloodshed when Ludacris played the festival that year, and we’ll go out on a limb and predict there won’t be when he returns this year, either.

It was ironic that Belling chose Ludacris, of all artists, to wage war against, since by contemporary rap standards Ludacris is a pretty tame, often goofy figure. In the years since his last Summerfest appearance, Ludacris has filmed several more installments of the ridiculous Fast & Furious franchise, appeared as a rapping tube of toothpaste on “The Simpsons” and starred in a campaign for the non-profit 1-800-RUNAWAY crisis hotline. All that acting has slowed his music career somewhat, however. He hasn’t released a new album since 2010’s loopy Battle of the Sexes, though for years he’s been teasing a new album, Ludaversal, which may or may not see release this summer. Even if it doesn’t, Ludacris has a huge catalogue of boisterous pop-rap hits that should make July 2 a perfect night for hanging around the lakefront.