Then & Now with Ludacris

The three-time Grammy award winner sits down with WE to talk about wine, spirits and his childhood.

Hip-hop icon Chris “Ludacris” Bridges was born in Champaign, Illinois, and started rapping at nine years old. The three-time Grammy award winner is best known for his work in the music world, with singles such as “Stand Up,” “Get Back,” “Number One Spot” and “Money Maker,” as well as his appearances in films such as Crash and Hustle & Flow.

But Ludacris is also known as a philanthropist, actively involved with The Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit Atlanta-based children’s charity, and as an entrepreneur. In addition to owning a record label and a restaurant, Ludacris also is co-owner of Conjure Cognac, and was an enthusiastic participant in creating the Conjure blend.

Favorite beverage when I was 6:
Pineapple juice.

Favorite beverage now:
Conjure mixed with pineapple juice.

First wine or spirit experience:
When I was a teenager, my mother used to let me drink a little bit of wine when she cooked an Italian dinner. What kind it was I do not know.

Epiphany wine or spirit experience:
About five years ago, I was at a restaurant and the Google guys were there. They had just bought MySpace and were having a celebration dinner. They recognized me and bought me a bottle of Château Lafite, a very expensive bottle of Bordeaux.

Favorite dish when I was 6:
Chicken Parmigiana.

Favorite or most memorable dish now:
Chicken lollipops at Straits, my restaurant in Atlanta.

Favorite musical artist when I was 13:
LL Cool J.

Favorite musical artist/genre now:
Hip-Hop and Ludacris.

Favorite toy when I was 6:
A karaoke microphone.

Favorite gadget/tool now:
A microphone, still!

Posters/decorations on my bedroom wall when I was 13:
Every single hip-hop artist that was around at that time. LL Cool J, UTFO, Run-DMC, just to name a few.

Favorite painting or other home decoration now:
My platinum plaques from the last 10 years–I have a lot of them, maybe in the 30 to 40 range. My Grammys, MTV awards, Billboard awards, movie awards like SAG and Critics’ Choice awards.

W hat I wanted to be when I grew up:
An entrepreneur. And my dream came true.

What I’d be if I wasn’t a hip-hop star:
I’d be working on a radio station. Or involved in an occupation that involves music, because that’s how much I love music.

Ideal vacation when I was 12:
Japan, because that’s where all the video games were made. 

Ideal vacation now:
Tahiti and the Fiji Islands. Way, way far out in the middle of nowhere.

If I had an emotional meltdown when I was 6, it was most likely over:
A girl.

If I was able to rant publicly on a given subject today, it would involve:
Children’s charities and giving back. I would tell everyone that they have a responsibility to lend a helping hand and help to make the world a better place. Even if you don’t have a lot of power or money, you need to give to those who are less fortunate than yourself.

What would my 16-year-old self think of who I am and what I’ve become?
He would be very, very proud.

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