Too $hort may be the best and worst rapper of all time. I say worst because, despite his charming flow, his rhymes are weak and repetitive to the point of annoyance. Not to mention the fact that almost every song he's written in his nearly two-decade career contains the same basic characters (pimps, hos and the miscreants in between).
But he was truly a groundbreaker in the late-'80s. He was rapping about drop-top Caddies when Outkast was still in elementary school, pimpin' hos when they were still garden tools, pissing off censors before it was in style and blinging before there was such a word. If you're tired of the decadence in rap these days, sick of seeing Snoop and Lil' Jon with their "pimp cups" everywhere they go, blame $hortie.
I've learned a lot from $hort since that day in '89 when my friend Casey, who was four years older than me, played me his cassette copy of Life is...Too $hort. Through all the misogyny, through all the violence, there were messages for young men like me. Specifically, there were messages about women and dating (if that's what you wanna call it) that I still live by.
Sit down fellas, school's in session:
RULE No. 1: Don't sell yourself short (or $hort, in this case). You deserve the best!"When I take 'em to the spot/ Ya know they all look hot/ Like I said homeboy/ "All I got is top notch.'" ("Ain't No Bitches")
RULE No. 2: Play it cool."You wine and dine that nasty freak/ Dropped her off/ Give a kiss on the cheek." ("Punk Bitch")
RULE No. 3: Your girlfriend should be your best friend as well as your lover."I need a woman that's down for me/ Always on my side, not my enemy/ We could be gangsters, lovers, parents or friends/ But whatever we do, do it straight to the end." ("It's All Good")
RULE No. 4: A good woman will let you know when you're overreacting."Some of y'all ladies need to check your man/ For acting like a bitch every time he gets a chance/ Backslap him, tell him shut up and stop crying." ("Anything is Possible")
RULE No. 5: Not everyone has got a lady like yours, so be like Edwin Decker-follow the wingman rules, and help a brother out."You wanna say somethin', preach it/ If you know somethin', teach it/ Cause it makes no sense to keep it to yourself.../ Well you might feel better if you spread yo' wealth." ("Call Me Daddy")
RULE No. 6: The grass isn't always greener, be happy with the woman you got."It ain't yo' fault, did you do that?/ You think yo' ex-bitch, gon' ever take you back?/ Hell naw, you still thinkin' you a player/ You only got one girl, don't be a faker." ("Don't Hate the Player")
RULE No. 7: If you take my woman, good for you. But don't tell your friends about yer snatchin'. "If you gotta enough game you can take my bitch/ I won't hate you, try to clown, I'll put you down." ("Ain't No Bitches")
RULE No. 8: Life is... "You can take back all the things you give/ But ya can't take back the days you live/ Life is to some people who've been on earth/ Livin' every single day for what it's worth." ("Life is Too Short")
Too $hort teaches at 4th & B, 9 p.m. on May 12. $20. 619-231-4343.