Atlanta rapper Ludacris is making his return to releasing music with his new song Butter.ATL. The song is a part of his new collaboration with the iconic peanut butter brand Jif. The Knockturnal had the opportunity to speak with the rapper about his love of Jif, the evolution of southern rap, and more.
The Knockturnal: Monday, August 16, you will be releasing your new song Butter.ATL after a break from releasing music. You changed your flow with this song, how would you describe the style of Butter.ATL?
Ludacris: My whole career I have been reinventing my flow and that is one of the things I love so much about music and myself. I feel as though there are no limitations around what I can accomplish and what I can do. After two decades in the music industry that’s what constantly excites me: being able to try new things and with this whole campaign and the universe bringing me together with this partnership with something, I have been doing since I was a kid and that’s eating Jif peanut butter. What better way than to experiment with all the people I love and all the things that I love. So, Dave Meyers, whom I worked with on the Stand-up video, and even my friend She’kspere who produced hits for TLC and Destiny’s Child and so many others. It is just a dream collaboration all around. That’s what I love so much about it, and yes I’ve been shooting a lot of movies but I think that this is the catalyst for putting out some more new music and the start of it is great it is a great way to start things off.
The Knockturnal: With this Jif campaign, you were able to work with Gunna and the campaign was directed by Dave Meyers. What was the collaboration process for the campaign?
Ludacris: We came together and I think we found each other. People know that I eat peanut butter every single day and it was people coming together saying: “We just gotta do something with Jif peanut butter.” So, it was hearing about it and then it came to us, and when talking about this campaign that’s really how it started. That inspired the excitement to get in the studio and create something and from there came the idea for the commercial, and now everything has come full circle. Now, all of these things are happening synonymously together.
The Knockturnal: With this new song release you also worked alongside Atlanta rapper Gunna for the campaign and the unveiling of that Jif’ing Good campaign. What was it like being able to work with a new school artist from your hometown?
Ludacris: We already knew each other and we went to the same high school: Banneker High School in College Park, GA. This was already considered as family and it was seamless and very easy and simple. In terms of bringing different generations together, that is what makes music more powerful. Nas and Hit-boy are good examples of two individuals that just appreciate and love music and it shows the power of what can happen when we teach one another and we come together to collaborate. That is no different than what is going on with me and Gunna. It’s the best of both worlds and the best of both generations.
The Knockturnal: With both you and Gunna being best known for being influenced by Atlanta and being a part of the Atlanta hip hop culture. How has the music culture of Atlanta evolved from when you released Incognegro to now?
Ludacris: It’s evolved in a great way and there is so much talent. I think the spectrum of different flows and different melodies and styles has expanded. People have more options for what they want to listen to or they have the option to listen to it all depending on how much time they have. When you think about Hip-Hop and you think worldwide, most of the music is coming out of the south, and it’s been that way for quite some time. I love how dominant this area of the world is in terms of trend-setting around the world.
The Knockturnal: With the launch of Jif’s That Jifing Good campaign, what was your favorite part of working with such an iconic peanut butter brand?
Ludacris: Ever since I was a kid I have been eating Jif peanut butter, mostly smooth because I tried the crunchy and it hurt my gums a couple of times and I don’t want that to go for everyone. I just wasn’t a crunchy guy. I like it smooth. However, it was the dream collaboration because I think this long in my career I only want to do things that are organic to my everyday lifestyle and there was no better fit than Jif peanut butter.