With the machine-gun tongue that changes speeds in mid-flow, a punishing lyrical prowess and the ability to verbally dance on beats like Michael Jackson moved on the floor, Ludacris skyrocketed into rap and pop success from the onset of his debut smash, Back for the First Time.

Despite his multiplatinum, Grammy-winning success and musical longevity, the Illinois-born, Atlanta-bred rapper never forgot where he came from. He has established one of the highest-profile and most productive philanthropic operations in the celebrity world through the Ludacris Foundation that is run by his mother, Roberta Shields.

With the help of biography.com, celebritynetworth.com and therichest.org, we take a quick look back at the life of Ludacris.