Too $hort

Blow The Whistle

posted September 12, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 16 comments

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15 albums after the release of his official debut in 1985, Players, $hort Dog is back with another post-retirement album, when he retired "supposedly" on album number ten, Gettin It.  His most recent effort, Blow The Whistle, is simply another foray into the mind and activities of the illustrious Too $hort.  The name Too $hort is synonymous with the word "bitch" in Hip Hop and he's ultimately one of the purveyors of West Coast Hip Hop as we know it today.  While Too $hort is known to many as the Father MC from Oakland, he now resides in Atlanta. Despite this, his title as 'Father MC' is not in jeopardy; Too $hort isn't the same rapper who had 6 solo albums in a row go platinum. Yes, platinum. 

Blow the Whistle starts off with a common theme for Too $hort fans - the song "Call Her a Bitch." He basically he uses "bitch" to start off every line, every now and again, he'll use a variation by adding an a, creating bi-atch; either way you'll laugh at first but after the first minute or two of "bitch" it's not funny any longer.  20 years later $hort is still using the same technique that won over his original fans - the same fans that support him today.  $hort candidly uses 'bitch' (on albums and in interviews), which effectively removes all the meaning of the word, which is why he still has a devoted throng of female fans as well.  The lead is followed by the title track, of course using the whistle with a lush background full with drums and synthesizers. Lil Jon does a good job of making it hard to determine whether the sound is Oakland hyphy or Atlanta crunk. Nonetheless, the mere fact that a Too $hort song is radio friendly with or without edits is scary.

As an icon in the rap game, he's brought in a lot of the more familiar faces of hip-hop today, for the album.  Lil Jon, Jazze Pha and will.i.am provide the production while, E-40, Rick Ross, Bun B, Pimp C, David Banner, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Daz guest on most of the songs, making the collaborations the most note-worthy parts of the album. "Keep Bouncin'" is the second single off of the album, featuring will.i.am and Snoop Dogg. It uses a simple drum sample, the Public Enemy "keep bouncin" sample, and what may be an unused Fergie vocal sample as well; the song is exactly what I was hoping for more of on the album.  More than just simple forays into what's new, especially the new crunk and hyphy movements and even Jazze Pha's sound, in particular.  Snoop provides one of the more funny moments on the album, playing T. Pain, saying, "You say you a pimp/but you in a love with a stripper", while he sings, "I'm in loooove with a stripper" in the background.  On many of the Jazze Pha songs, (Ladies and Gentleman!) the beat is perfectly paired with $hort, but especially with the Bun-B heater "16 Hoes." They both reminisce respectively on past hoes and with $hort, they more importantly represent the 16 albums it took him to get where he is today.  David Banner and Too $hort might never work together again after their misstep on "Baller," and the entirety of the Bay is stuffed onto one track on "I Want Your Girl." E-40's verse is just wasted alongside Dolla Will and Mistah FAB.

While not too many rappers can boast a 20 plus year career and only Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Ice Cube can compare to 6 platinum solo albums in a row, Too $hort's newest album isn't what you may expected from him this time around.  The amount of synthesizer tracks alone speaks volumes about Jazze Pha's affection for them in his production.  "Keep Bouncin'" and "Blow the Whistle" will most likely boost his album sales; the Lil' Jon produced crunk tracks like "Money Maker" might cause you to thirst for more on this album, but the rest of his album - specifically his solo tracks - lack the aggressive nature he attacked the music on his older albums.  His swagger and overtly "misogynistic" lyrics are still here, but he might just be running out of lines.  My own affection for Too $hort albums comes somewhat from his over-use of phrases like 'hoe' and 'bitch' and his often comedic take and millions of variations on the words.  Regardless, $hort Dog is doing exactly what's kept you listening all these years.  His simple disclaimer in the beginning of the album, Short explains to the listener, "You will get called a bitch, so motherfucking fast", so hopefully you can listen to this album without the fear of being caught by your mother or with your windows rolled down, just like every one of his albums.

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