Ludacris on 'Loving Every Minute' of Life as a Girl Dad – and Preparing for Baby No. 4
"Every day with my girls is something different," the rapper and actor tells PEOPLE of his soon-to-be family of six in this week's issue
As Ludacris can attest, it isn't always easy being the only man in a house full of women.
"There's a lot of estrogen around here!" the rapper-turned-movie star, 43, says with a laugh over a Zoom call from the game room of his Atlanta home as his wife Eudoxie, who's pregnant with their second child, their daughter Cadence, 6, and his daughters from previous relationships, Cai, 7, and Karma, 19, take photos upstairs for their PEOPLE shoot, featured in this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.
"Luckily, I have 22 acres of land, so I'm able to step outside and clear my head every now and then," he says. "Then when I come back in, I'm loving them and hugging them the same way as if I went out of town."
As the COVID-19 pandemic put the world on hold, Ludacris (born Christopher Bridges) spent more time at home with his girls than ever before.
"It's been a great break," he says. "Family has always been my No. 1 focus, but, of course, I have to get out there and provide for them. This past year has made me focused on figuring out businesses that allow me to work while also spending more time with my family."
One of those businesses is the online platform KidNation, which he launched in June 2020 to educate kids on topics from health to current events through catchy songs, all of which need the seal of approval from his daughters.
"They're the perfect test group," he says. "When you think about kids' music, it doesn't sound like the music that kids are actually listening to. We all know kids love popular music, the stuff that's on the charts, just as much, if not more, than a lot of the music that's designated for them. So I figured why not take the melodies and the beats that kids love about adult music and put it in the kids' music?"
In addition to KidNation, he's also coming out with a new Netflix animated series, Karma's World, this fall.
Inspired by his eldest daughter, "Karma's World is a coming-of-age story about a young girl finding her voice," he says. "Once you have kids, your outlook on life changes. You realize you have to educate the next generation."
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Ludacris' world changed forever when he welcomed Karma in 2001, shortly after releasing his major label studio album Back For the First Time, which shot him to stardom with his hits "Southern Hospitality" and "What's Your Fantasy."
"I had just started coming into money," says Ludacris, who spent the years prior to the album's release interning and deejaying at a radio station in Atlanta, his hometown. "I was in a good place mentally, spiritually and financially, so I was prepared for fatherhood."
While being a dad came easy for Ludacris, he found balancing life on the road more difficult.
"I wanted to be with Karma at all times, but obviously because of my schedule and her being so young, I couldn't," he says. "I made a lot of sacrifices."
While his second major album, 2001's Word of Mouf, and his role in several of the Fast & Furious movies as ace mechanic Tej Parker (he's back in F9, in theaters June 25) propelled him further to fame, he relished every moment with his first-born, including when she learned to read a sentence for the first time.
"I was driving, and she was in the back seat. When I heard her slowly trying to put the words together, I started tearing up," he says of his daughter, who's now studying filmmaking at Spelman College. He adds with a grin: "Most rappers wouldn't say that!"
Ludacris fully and unabashedly embraced his role as a girl dad as he welcomed two more daughters: Cai in 2013 and Cadence in 2015.
"The more girls I had, the more I tried to be a protector," he says. "I want to make sure that I prepare them for the world. I'm teaching them financial literacy. They're learning piano around here. They're learning ballet. They're learning great manners, because as we all know, great manners can get you places money can't. I just want them to have a variety of assets and a lot of confidence."
"I also want to make sure that they don't get their hearts broken," he adds, "and if they do, that I'm the first person they come crying to. Luckily, over the last year because of the pandemic, Karma's been stuck in this household with me. So she's been under my close watch, and there are no boys in her life right now. When there are I'm going to be looking for their Social Security numbers and things of that nature."
Despite his urge to protect, Ludacris admits he's a total "softy" when it comes to his kids — "when they look at me with those puppy-dog eyes, I just melt," he says — so it's usually Eudoxie who has to step in with a firm hand. "The wife is the backbone of the family," he says.
Ludacris started dating the philanthropist — who received her master's degree in global management from Nova Southeastern University — from Gabon, Africa, in 2009.
"I loved how passionate she was about her goals. And, obviously, she's beautiful. She checked all the boxes," he says of his wife, whose sister Mimi, 18, has become like another daughter to him.
Ludacris proposed on Dec. 24, 2014, and he and Eudoxie, 35, wed during a surprise ceremony he planned at their home just hours later.
"I felt like I sowed all of my royal oats," he jokes. "I was mature enough to become a husband, so the timing was perfect. We are stronger together."
Ludacris hopes that being a united front serves him and Eudoxie well as the arrival of their second child draws closer. They're keeping the sex of the baby a surprise but will be happy whether they have a boy or another girl.
"It sounds cliché, but whatever the most high wants to give us is what I'm going to be happiest with," he says. "I know that all of the good things going on in my life right now would not have happened unless I had all girls up to this point."
Until they welcome their baby, they'll be savoring their last moments as a family of five.
"Every day with my girls is something different," says Ludacris, "and I'm loving every minute of fatherhood."
For all the details on Ludacis' life as a girl dad, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
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