MISSY ELLIOT — One Minute Man
JAY-Z — Girls, Girls, Girls
LUDACRIS (w/ Nate Dogg) — Area Codes

Listening: To an in-house remix of ‘One Minute Man’ on a local hip-hop station, throwing together Jay-Z’s verse (from the album remix) and Ludacris’ verse (from the single).

Thinking: Who should the ladies go for? Should they sucumb to the wily, honey-drenched ways of Southern hospitality, or is a New York state of mind what the doctor ordered? Ludacris certain talks a good game, saying exactly what the ladies want to hear from a man — ‘One minute, fool? You wonder what y’all missin’…’ Here’s that rarest of commodities in the hip-hop world — a guy that’s willing to put his mouth where his money is. Unfortunately, he comes off as all too willing to strut his stuff. Ludacris is so cocksure and certain of his abilities to make ladies leak ‘n’ shit that I doubt he’d be able to swallow some pride and, ahem, take a little direction. (He might be the perfect guy for Trina to housebreak, though.) Jay-Z, on the other hand, sounds exactly like the type of guy Missy DOESN’T need — selfish, self-absorbed, thinking about his own meat and where he wants to stick it, and, oh, wait, you have needs, too? Damn, bitch. However, in his defense, he doesn’t try to hide this fact — he’s no Ralph Tresvant, no Ronnie Romance, and he’s strong enough to admit that. (How much you wanna bet Ludacris would put on some Johnny Gill or Keith Sweat?) He’s also enough of a cocky bastard to screw around with another man’s wife and then put HER in her place as she’s slipping her ring back on her finger — that’s admirable and honorable, on some level, I guess.

But neither of them are exactly fair playas, you know — they’re ready and willing to admit to having hos in different area codes. But notice — to Ludacris, they’re nothing but numbers, round figures he can punch in and pull out of his cell at a moment’s notice. Listen to the litany of area codes lazily jumping from his mouth; he sounds like an auctioneer. Jay-Z, meanwhile, can break down each of his ladies, can tell you about their foibles and their mannerisms like they’re everything to him. It’s tough enough to find a guy that can do so for ONE lady, never mind a Mormon-sized harem. Hova treats them all like neighborhood jewels, and all of them shine like diamonds.

Concluding: Ladies, Ludacris might give you that one shining moment, but Jay-Z’s the one that can provide you with (a semblance of) stablity and security, even if he’s not willing to get to the center of it that frequently. Choose wisely.

With apologies to: In Review.