Friday To-Do: Too $hort | Rock Candy

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday To-Do: Too $hort

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 2:23 PM

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TOO $HORT
8 p.m., the Village. $22.50-$35.

When I was 12, I taped Too $hort's drastically edited version of “I'm a Player” off Power 92 and listened to it constantly. It starts, “You see I made up my mind when I was 17 / I ain't with no marriage and a weddin' ring / I be a player fo' life, so where's my wife? / Prob'ly at the rehab stuck on the pipe / ‘cause she must be smokin' and I'm not jokin' / Too Short baby comin' straight from Oakland.” Which is pretty dumb, but in Too $hort's drawled out, almost plodding delivery and over an almost wholesale sample of Bootsy Collin's “Hollywood Squares,” it sounded — still, to these nostalgic ears, sounds — like the greatest thing ever. Of course, later, I discovered that Too $hort's career, or at least the first decade of it, pretty much all sounds like that — '70s funk samples, a super-slow-roll delivery, pimp talk. Taken together, particularly as the misogyny builds, it can get tedious. Late-era Too $hort, recorded after the MC became one of the first rappers to fake retire (it lasted three years), has been more stylistically varied, with crunk, snap and, most recently, hyphy styles informing production. Even if that hasn't helped the 43-year-old rapper sell many new albums, it should help make for a fuller concert.

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