Rapper-actor-record label chief Ludacris was one of the most successful hip-hop artists of the early 2000s, rising from obscurity with a self-released album in 2000 to a multi-platinum-selling, award-winning rapper with such Top 5 hits as ""Area Codes," "Stand Up," "Splash Waterfalls" and "Yeah!" (with Usher and T-Pain) to his impressive list of musical credits. Key to Ludacris' popularity was his quick-witted delivery, which tempered the genre's de rigueur references to sex, violence and drugs with a humor that occasionally bordered on the absurd. His between-song comic skits generated enough praise that Hollywood inevitably came calling, and he soon enjoyed a critically praised second career as an actor in "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003), "Crash" (2004), "Hustle & Flow" (2005) and "No Strings Attached" (2011). The division of his attention between acting and music occasionally dampened listener response to his albums, which fluctuated between topping the charts and hovering in the lower end of the Top 10. But Ludacris' ability to consistently produce projects that not only matched his past glories but, on occasion, surpass them made him one of the more respected rappers in the ever-changing hip-hop game.