BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
It was fitting that Ludacris bounded onstage, in his dark shades and “Mastermind” shirt, to the engaging thumps of “Welcome to Atlanta.”
The hometown rapper was playing to a crowd that likely included many visitors in town to celebrate the 2017 PGA Tour Championship event for the third consecutive year.
Before Luda and partner Lil Fate hit the stage at Monday night’s event at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, familiar host Ryan Cameron of V-103’s morning show introduced golfers Matt Kuchar, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Pat Perez and Brian Harman.
A large video screen blasted a countdown of the PGA Tour’s Top 30 players as the official launch of the Tour Championship week, which marks its 16th year in Atlanta, and will culminate at East Lake Golf Club this weekend.
While Ludacris earned the performance spotlight, a handful of Atlanta sports celebs – Hawks players Kent Bazemore, Mike Muscala, Dewayne Dedmon and coach Mike Budenholzer; Falcons players Matt Bryant, Brooks Reed, Austin Hooper and Josh Harris – were spotted in the crowd of several hundred.
Ludacris’ 45-minute set offered a succinct career retrospective, from the tropical percussion of “Pimpin’ All Over the World” to his famous featured slots on “Yeah” (Usher) and “Glamorous” (Fergie).
Backed by a DJ and supported by longtime mate Lil Fate, Ludacris turned on plenty of the charm that has led to his successful segue into acting.
He hinted at his pre-marriage past before “Ho,” and afterward joked that he probably wasn’t supposed to perform the song at a corporate event.
As he skittered from one side of the small stage to the other, he fed off the energy of the crowd, which seemed thrilled to share such an intimate space with the rapper.
He also earned an appreciative response from the ladies in the audience when he prefaced “Money Maker” by stating, “I might be the last man on Earth who cares about a woman with a real body.”
The response? More dancing.