Cultural bellwethers are almost always false alarms. Way back in 2001, with the South taking over rap at the same maddeningly slow pace as it had five years before and will no doubt five years from now, the two guest verses in Missy Elliott's "One Minute Man" seemed to signal a changing of the guard. In contrast to Jay-Z's clipped wit (professional, snide, prematurely ejaculatory), Ludacris lusted with an eager warmth; his comic couplets suggested a third way between technique-obsessed NYC rhyming and Atlanta strip-club shoutalong. Three years later, even retirement can't shut Jay up; wordsmithery in the Dirty-Dirty has narrowed to a choice of whether to bark orders ass- or tit-ward, and Ludacris has proven a frustrating case for rap fans who acknowledge the existence of... More >>>