Picks and Pans Review: Chicken-N-Beer

updated 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Ludacris

[STARS 2.5]

They ought to call him Lewdacris. On the cover of this follow-up to 2001's triple-platinum Word of Mouf, the raunchy rapper prepares to bite into a woman's leg as if it were a piece of fried chicken. Things don't get any less crude once you put on the CD, as Ludacris shows why they make parental advisory labels on the vulgar "Blow It Out" and such sexually explicit tracks as "Splash Waterfalls." Indeed, much of Chicken-N-Beer would be downright tasteless if it weren't for the fun spirit that Ludacris brings to the disc. His witty rhymes on tracks like "Hip Hop Quotables" make him the Richard Pryor of rap: "One of Mini-Me's shoes got more soul than you." The Atlanta rapper's southern-fried beats and drawled delivery boost the bumping party anthem "Stand Up." But Ludacris stumbles when he attempts to get serious on the R&B-ish slow cuts "Hard Times" and "Diamond in the Back."

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