Rapper, actor, and Men’s Health cover star Ludacris has spent half his life performing, selling records, and starring in movies like Fast X. So when it came time to talk about some personal highlights, he was spoiled for choice.
In a new episode of “The Rewind,” the show where we get guys at the top of their game to sit down and look at pictures of their past selves, Ludacris opens up about some of his biggest milestones and what’s really important to him. Like, he might own his own plane, but his heart belongs to his 1993 Acura Legend, which he says keeps him “grounded” and reminds him where he came from.
And while he may prefer more fitted fashion now, he still stands by the outrageously baggy style of clothing that he would wear when he was coming up in the early ’00s. “You can tell I’m always having fun, no matter what time period it is, no matter what’s going on,” he says, citing the line from his collab with Usher on the song “Yeah”: “Watch out, my outfit’s ridiculous.”
Some of those oversized styles have done a complete orbit and become popular again among Gen Z, but Luda had his own reasons for wearing them back in the day. “You could hide candy, smoke, contraband, anything you wanted in your clothes, and nobody would know,” he says.
Ludacris also discusses some of the people who have had the most positive impact on his life and career, name-checking Jay-Z as a valued mentor, and looking back fondly on his meeting with Barack Obama. “He’s such a great guy. One of the best leaders of our time,” he says. “He’s one of a kind. Barack Obama, my president to this day.”
One person who won’t find himself on Luda’s Christmas card list any time soon is conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly. Back in 2002, O’Reilly blasted the rapper on Fox News, touting that hip-hop glamorized a “life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women.” Ludacris had just signed an endorsement deal with Pepsi, but the backlash following O’Reilly’s comments led to him being swiftly dropped.
“Which is very ironic,” he says now, “because years later, if you look it up, he lost his job based off of some sexual allegations. It’s very funny how the world works and the world turns.”
He continues, “I couldn’t for the life of me understand why a company like Pepsi would sign me, and just because this man had something to say about me on television, they dropped me. But my relationship with Pepsi is now back and strong as ever, we’re helping the community together through The Ludacris Foundation, and so again, everything comes full circle and works out the way that it’s supposed to.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.