Get Off The Stage
In the days of thumping 808's, jheri curls and Raiders caps, Todd Anthony Shaw reigned supreme. Known to everyone who doesn't hail from Oakland, California as simply Too $hort, he first burst on the scene in 1983 when he was still a high school student. Throughout the rest of the 80's he released several albums with a signature raw and simple sound. It wasn't until 1989 that the album Life Is...Too $hort catapulted the rapper's career and ultimately made him a household name.
The spectrum of $hort's lyricism has never been what you would call eclectic. Plain and simple, he raps about the trials and tribulations of pimping, chasing tail and mostly sexually related topics. Seldom do his lyrics depict killing, violence, drugs or crime. It should be realized, however, that the repertoire of Too $hort's career and the people he has worked with is beyond impressive: it is incomparable.
Over the years Too Short has collaborated with people from every style and area of hip-hop including Eric Sermon, MC Breed, Jazze Pha, Trick Daddy, UGK, Ice Cube, Devin The Dude, Petey Pablo, Twista, Jagged Edge and many more. It should also be recognized that $hort is one of a few, if not the only artist to work with Pac, Biggie, Ol' Dirty and Eazy E all before they died. He has even worked with legend George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on several occasions.
$hort is the self proclaimed "Undisputed Godfather of Bay Area Hip-Hop" and it is a title well earned. But, like Vito Corleone learned the hard way, times change and so does the industry. This is something that Too has tried to control throughout his career, and for the most part has been consistently successful. Life Is...Too $hort and the albums that followed showed a progressive change from sample-laden tracks to a more funk and rhythm emphasis. Again in 2003, $hort moved back to Atlanta and there was a definite shift in his music too a more crunk, Southern influence that could easily have come from his collaboration work with Lil Jon.
Get Off The Stage is the 17th major label effort from the veteran rapper. In contrast to most modern releases, the album is a short 10-tracks. Also in contrast to previous work, this album does not feature a lot of high-profile guest appearances. $hort keeps it mostly Bay Area with help from mainstays E-40, Mistah F.A.B, Dolla Will and The Pack; a teenage trio from Oakland that is signed with Too $hort's Up All Nite record label. Also featured are unknowns Ms. Hollywood, Ginger and Atlanta's Kool Ace. The flows these artists all lend are mediocre at best. The first and title track is by far the supreme on this album, set to click-clack drums and slow organ synths synonymous with southern rap. $hort questions all those people "on the stage" and ultimately, in the industry that really have nothing to do with shit. On Broke Bitch, lines such as "You cant even afford a Happy Meal from McDonald's" are about as good as it gets. Pull Them Panties down features Kool Ace and offers the best production. The track is a bright spot, and has a signature West Coast sound; it is the closest thing to classic Too $hort on the album. During Shittin' On Em, $hort proclaims he is "Old school, with a new style", a fact that might not be for the better.
The album just doesn't get much better from here, and keeps treading the same worn territory. It seems that on this album Too $hort breaks away from his usual lyrical formula. Somehow over 20 plus years $hort's repetitive subject matter has never gotten stale, but on this LP there is something out of place. Instead of laid-back beats, funky samples and catchy hooks this album is condensed with corny, repetitive; even aggressive lyrics and second-rate beats. There just aren't enough good things to support the lack of substance on this album, which stands as the worst in $hort Dog's illustrious career.