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Too $hort

At 44 — a year older than Thom Yorke, for reference's sake — Oakland rapper Too $hort might be expected to adopt a less morally reprehensible lyrical stance than the one that informed his 1987 breakthrough, Born to Mack. Surely this 5'5" on-record pimp has exhausted the litany of metaphors that can refer to the act of slapping a bee-yatch? Not so. Standout track "Shittin' On 'Em," from 2007's Get Off the Stage, delivered this, um, gem: "I'm mean / I hit 'em with the closed fist." So while the act of monetarily supporting rap's original misogynist comes with its own set of ethical quandaries, know that $hort Dog is, indeed, a master of his craft. Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Eminem, E-40 and 50 Cent have all wet their whistles at that font. And though his lyrics haven't changed much in 20-odd years, Too $hort has adapted stylistically, experiencing a mild resurgence when the Bay Area's influential hyphy movement emerged in the mid-'00s. 2010 was a busy year for $hort, seeing him release online-only LP Still Blowin' in April and the Respect the Pimpin' EP in December. Guess what they were about?

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