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e first saw back in 2000. Over a decade later he’s added philanthropy and business owner to his resume, all while still managing to sell records on the hip-hop charts.

Luda spoke to us about his latest work with condoms (it’s not what you think), being a Knicks fan and one of his greatest accomplishments with the Ludacris Foundation. 

Global Grind: How did you get involved with the MAGNUM Live Large Project?

Ludacris: This is actually the second year that we are doing this. I have been a firm supporter of the brand for quite some time. And we teamed up last year and did something similar. Where, of course, I am always promoting safe sex. So that is first and foremost, but the Live Large Project in terms of giving aspiring artists a chance to shine and to show their peers what they can do.  Get heard, of course, by big wigs in the industry and maybe get a chance to get a record deal. But more importantly, as of right now, it is the chance to receive $5,000 dollars, a trip to Miami and a chance to perform on stage down at Spring Fest. So, it is really just one of those things where I remember being an up and coming artist and hoping that I had opportunities like this. And I love being the spokesperson for it because, you know, it’s good energy, its new energy. It’s artists out there that are hungry and they are all competing for grand prizes and it’s a beautiful thing.

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GG: What does your involvement with this campaign mean to you?

Ludacris: My involvement with this campaign, it’s always a great thing to spread the word about safe sex. I’ve been an advocate for safe sex for quite some time, whether it had to do with HIV AIDS and you know, being out in South Africa with Mandela in the 4 double six 64 project and ALDO-AIDS and going to different schools and talking about safe sex. So that always means a lot to me that I have that type of power and influence, of course to where even people who are not thinking about it; I can kind of change and skew their mind. 

Then number two, it feels good to be out here. Like in New York tonight, I’m going to the Highline Ballroom and just to be able to check out this energy and to see people compete because I’m blessed to have been very successful in this industry and sometimes you lose sight of what got you there in the first place.  So I think I will be very motivated and I can’t wait because this is going to be the final local event before everybody gets ready for Miami.

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GG: What is the weirdest groupie experience you had after signing your deal with Def Jam?

Ludacris: The weirdest groupie experience I encountered was being on tour one time and there was a family that like followed my tour bus. Like a family. Mother, father and children followed my tour bus from one city to the next and that freaked me the f**k out.  (laughs) To where my security had to stop the bus and get off and make them stop following us. That’s crazy.

GG: Did Mike Myers ever give you feedback on your song, the Austin Powers-inspired “Number One Spot?’’

Ludacris: Yeah, he did man. I actually got a chance to talk to him and I was real excited about that. Even though he wasn’t able to be in the video because that was my main goal for the ‘’Number One Spot.’’ He told me that he was a fan of it, he loved it and it was great. But, I will tell you what is even better than that was Quincy Jones who originally made the “Soul Bossa Nova” beat was the one who told me he loved it. And you know, him being a legend and an icon is even better.

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GG: We recently interviewed Mike Posner and he speaks very highly of you. Can we expect collaboration in the near future? What are your thoughts on Mike Posner?

Ludacris: Man, I think he is that good, young energy, man. He is bringing something fresh, he is bringing something new. In terms of expecting collaboration, I have learned to say things that I absolutely wish to have a great collaboration with him, but I don’t want to confirm with you or for you to say something and have false information if it doesn’t turn out to be immediately true. Let’s just say that the possibilities are endless and there are very great possibilities that will happen, but nothing has happened as of yet.

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GG: What was the most gratifying moment for you after helping a young man or woman via the Ludacris Foundation?

Ludacris: I guess the best moment was when we did a car giveaway in Atlanta Georgia and it actually made the news everywhere, but that wasn’t necessarily our objective.  We just wanted to give out; I want to say about ten, twenty cars away. And we did and those families that we gave the cars to were definitely families that when I say the word need is like an understatement. They needed these vehicles and just to see how appreciative they were. Especially one man that was from Africa and he had lost his family back at home in Africa and he has started a new family.  And you know, he was searching, job hunting and we were able to provide him with a vehicle and he was just in tears and crying and his whole family. You can just tell how resilient they were and just seeing stuff like the firsthand really, really touched me.

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GG: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an only child?

Ludacris: The good thing is that I am used to my whole life dealing with things internally without it getting the best of me. I know how to deal with things on my own and I like being alone a lot of times for a piece of mind. Some of the bad things are when you do want somebody around like a brother or a sister; there have been times when you grow up wishing that you had someone. It’s kind of a gift and a curse at the same; it’s both good and bad. 

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GG: Now that your friends Carmelo Anthony and Lala are in New York; are you still an Atlanta Hawks fan or are you rooting for the Knicks?

Ludacris: Man, you know, I have to be a supporter of the Atlanta Hawks. Don’t get it twisted; I am a fan of competitive sports, period. So I love my personal friends and I am very happy and proud for them and I like to see people succeed, but at the same time I’m going to make sure that I hold it down for the home team and stay a Hawks fan too. But, I can also say that when they are out of the Playoffs or something like that in numerous years, then it is okay for me to become a fan of a different team when they have not succeeded in making it to the final round.

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GG: How has it been to see Conjure Cognac receive a warm response from your peers and consumers? 

Ludacris: Man, it’s great because I know how great of product it is and I’m just hopefully letting people know how I was never wolfing them any bulls**t when I was letting them know how great it is. So to see people embrace it the way that they are and I promise you there is like some sort of magic ingredient that even I don’t know in there where people do not get hangovers the next day. It’s a great selling point and it’s a beautiful thing. 

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