Too Short - Still Blowin'
Twelve new tracks about what Short's given us over 100 freaky tales about, and the Oakland O.G. manages to make his most authentic effort in over a decade.
There may not be another rapper as successful as Too Short that raps so directly at his audience. His single-syllable rhymes reflect his pimping persona, and even though the lyrics can be predictable after close to 20 albums, he still has that west coast feel-good vibe. It’s truly a testament of his appeal. Short Dog's ability to attack Funk-driven production with a Mack vernacular transcended race and locality. Twenty-seven years into an established career, Todd Shaw is Still Blowin’. This time the artist trades in flipping tapes from his trunk to flipping them digitally, breaking ties with his three decade tenure at Jive Records. Make no mistake about Still Blowin’; Too Short doesn’t reinvent the wheel. He sticks to what made him famous and what he feels comfortable talking about. This is first and foremost about pimping and playing the field. Twelve new tracks about what Short's given us over 100 freaky tales about, and the Oakland O.G. manages to make his most authentic effort in over a decade.
The album begins with “Maggot Brain” containing a sample made popular from Jay-Z's Blueprint bonus cut. Short Dog opens his album fighting off the doubters and employing that signature metronome flow that made him famous nearly 25 years ago. Too Short gets comfortable on the albums second cut, “I’m Gone.” From the production standpoint it is what Too Short sounds best over, that classic west coast sound. Short reeks of confidence on the track, and sounds as good as ever. It’s throwback cut that mirrors work on Shorty the Pimp. The album then transitions to “I Want That,” which shows the south’s influence on Short. During his brief retirement in the late 1990s, Too Short moved to Atlanta and was inevitably inspired and transformed by the strip club jams. Featuring Lil Jon-esque production, Todd does his best to match the tracks intensity. The end result is decent at best. It’s not album defining, but it’s hard to bash Short’s effort on the track.
Short Dog channels his inner-R. Kelly on “Fed Up,” an allusion to R. Kelly’s hit “When a Woman’s Fed Up.” Featuring Kool Ace, who sings the chorus “When a Players fed up / There ain’t nothing she can do about it,” this laid back joint, which historically Too Short thrives on. This track isn’t much different; Short weaves his narrative within a familiar sound without it getting lost on deaf ears. From there, the album suffers with “Player Card” which features an obvious “I’m Not a Player” chrorus interpolation. The track's vague and awkward similarities to the Big Pun classic make it impossible to shine. The production is one of the poorer efforts on the album as well. The title track is southern-influenced track dedicated to the greenery. It’s a generic effort that will never be mentioned in the breath of Scarface's “Mary Jane” or The Luniz' “I Got 5 On it.”
“All For the Love” is similar to “Fed Up” in sound. Too Short flows effortlessly over the smooth production with lyrics like, “Can I change or will I stay the same? / Will I be serious or keep playing games? / Tonight, I’m trying to see the light? / Is there a woman in here that will be my wife?” The lyrics shows a vulnerable side to Too Short that is often unseen in the hardenered pimp persona. Here, the "Pimpology" penner grows up, something unheard on his last few Jive releases. Although Short has brandished his last "bitch," the soul of man makes for a meaningful moment. The remainder of the album sees mediocre guest appearances and repetitive topics; “I’m a Pimp” and “Checking my Hoes” . The only other real highlife is “Lil Shorty” which features old school Short production and short talking about the thing he talks about most. The hook is a little generic, though appears as though it was radio hit-inspired.
Still Blowin' is a refreshment to the Too Short catalogue. The album has it’s highlights ("All for Love" and "I’m Gone") and some pitfalls ("International Player," "Player Card") but it ends up showing that without major label pressures, Too Short is true to his formula in a way that fans will enjoy. This is not challenging Born To Mack or Short Dog's In The House, but was it really supposed to? As the title suggests, the game don't stop, which in itself is impressive after 27 years of kicking it.