"If you from the south, make some goddamn noise," screamed Ludacris at the beginning of his Friday evening set at Bonnaroo. The rapper received one of the biggest ovations and turnouts among any artist at the festival, anchored by a live band that helped Luda cement his contributions beyond hip hop into the pop world. [Check out our complete Bonnaroo 2012 coverage, including the Best Photos and Day 2's Best Moments.]
Songs like "Area Codes" and "Pimpin' All Over the World," the latter inspiring a few crowd surfs because Bonnaroo is weird like that, always had commercial aspirations, but today, we got Luda the full pop star, highlighted by tracks like Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart" and Enrique Iglesias' "Tonight (I'm F**kin' You)."
Luda's always been all things to all men: the clown prince, the clever wordsmith, the dance floor-filler. While nearly every other rapper here, either by choice or necessity, adhered to the traditional DJ setup, Ludacris brought out the guitars, synths and saxophones to smooth out any rough edges. Judging by the overflowing tent and emphatic reception, it was the right move.