Chris Bridges, better known to his millions of fans as Ludacris, just released his first album in four years,Ludaversal, this week. And he’s helping to officially kick off Hollywood’s summer 2015 blockbuster season with Furious 7, reprising his role as Tej for the fourth time in the massively popular racing franchise. Ludacris talked to Maxim about his new album, his love for technology, and why he returned his Ferrari.
What do you feel differentiates the Fast and the Furious franchise from other racing movies that we’ve seen over the years?
A couple of things: It’s very deeply rooted in family coming first, and people live vicariously through these characters. There are a lot of characters now in the franchise that so many people can relate to. Vin Diesel’s character represents confidence because it’s very rare that you see a chink in his armor, and I think that people like to live vicariously through that. He’s not one to be overtaken by fear and that’s what most Americans, and most people around the world, aspire to be like.
What do you feel people connect with in your character, Tej?
My character is the intelligent computer geek, but he’s still a cool guy. He’s versatile, but at the same time, he’s the brains of the operation. I’m sure there are a lot of people who respect that I’m the link in the chain in terms of making things go smoothly in the right way.
How connected and into gadgets are you in real life?
I’m probably about 50 percent of the guy that I portray on film. I’m gadgety, but not as gadgety as that. I am extremely inspired and excited about what’s next. It just takes me a little more time to get adjusted because things are happening so fast these days.
What technology excites you today?
It excites me and it scares me at the same time, how fast new updates and new phones and things of that nature come out. Like one day the iPhone 4 is out and literally it seems like the next, the damn iPhone 5 is out. As soon as you got adjusted to one, they’re coming out with something new. I just think it’s moving really fast, which is exciting, but it’s also kind of like, “Damn, we got to keep up.”
What’s the coolest car you’ve gotten behind the wheel of through these movies?
Ford GT, man. That Ford GT I love more than any car I’ve ever driven. I’ve driving Bugattis, I’ve driven Lamborghinis, Ferraris, you name it. I loved that car because of the torque. I love the stick shift on it and I love the build, the make, the design, everything. It’s got traction control.
Do you own one?
I don’t man, but I’m a part of a car club and I’m able to rent it every now and again.
So you get to drive it in real life too?
Yeah, my thing these days is just buy the experience, not the possession.
Do you find it challenging to just get in your own car and obey speed limits after coming off one of these movies?
Let me tell you something, man, I bought a Ferrari 458 Italia before I came to the conclusion of “buy the experience and not the possession,” and when I tell you I took that car back after a year, literally, it was because of what you just said. There’s no reason for me to own that car unless the speed limit is 250 miles an hour everywhere I go. It just doesn’t make any sense. When you’re past the whole strutting stage of your life and trying to impress people, if you just look at it from a perspective of why do I own this car and the speed limit says 55 on the damn highway and it’s like, “Okay, there’s no reason why I should own that car.”
And that’s the speed limit, not the actual speed in Atlanta traffic.
Exactly. That’s exactly what I was trying to tell you. I actually rented out the Georgia Motor Speedway so that I could drive that fucking car.
Universal Pictures has changed the name of this franchise with every movie. What would you call the next one?
Man, that’s a good ass question because it will be number eight, so it keeps trying to change the name, man. I’m a very creative guy and I’m going to be honest with you, I’m out of ideas on what the fuck do you call the next one. It just depends on who’s in it and what the premise is, and then I would probably wrap it somewhere around that.
In addition to Furious 7, you also just released Ludaversal. What separates this project from past albums?
What’s special to me is that it’s everything that the fans have been asking for in terms of the old Luda, but mixed in with the progressive and forever-evolving new Luda. It’s a perfect balance of both and it’s also getting vulnerable in terms of my personal life, so it’s great subject matter. It’s an album that flows from beginning to end, because these days people are able to pick singles off if they don’t like the whole album. I guarantee you this is one of those boys that you can ride with from beginning to end, and I thought that was extremely important.