Too $hort :: Chase the Cat :: Jive Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

It's not surprising that so many artists would want to work with Too $hort - he is after all a hip-hop legend with over a dozen albums under his belt. On "Chase the Cat" though the difference, especially compared to his last album "You Nasty", is the AMOUNT of them. B-Legit, Daz Dillinger, Tha Eastsidaz, E-40, Jazze Phä, MC Breed, Erick Sermon, Scarface, and Trick Daddy - and that's the SHORT list.

A loyal fanbase makes promotion ridiculously easy for his label Jive Records - any Too $hort record will inevitably go gold or platinum. $hort usually takes advantage of that by keeping cameos to a minimum, knowing that his own pimping can sell records. E-40 cameos are usually expected (they are friends as well as labelmates) and usually an artist or two Too $hort is producing or promoting - but this is a positive EXPLOSION compared to all his prior records. This inevitably leaves one wondering why Too $hort would choose to almost be overshadowed on his own album when to date he's usually gone to lengths to AVOID being second fiddle on his own records.

Whether you speculate that $hort suddenly feels vulnerable to not selling without enough big name cameos, or that for some reason Jive Records pressured him to make the change, or that $hort just decided to imitate the success Scarface had with his "My Homies" album, most of the guests are worth some props. In particular, the trio of Trick Daddy, Scarface and Daz chop things up nicely with $hort on the lead single "I Luv" - a straight raw ode to freaky girls and all kinds of sexual activity. On the other hand, why is clown-ass Big Tigger from "Rap City" rhyming with Tha Eastsidaz on "This is How We Eat?" Hearing him say "oh boy!" is as bad as hearing Stuart Scott say "Take it to da howse!" - they can both eat a dick up 'til they hiccup. Much better is the dirty dust and grime of MC Breed's flow on "Candy Paint" - a rapper who is just as legendary as Too $hort but still isn't getting the props he deserves in OR outside the rap industry.

Too $hort does manage to squeeze in a few solo songs here and there. The humerous "Can I Hit It" starts out with Too $hort questioning a gyrating female with the words, "You call that a dance? Look like you fuckin the Invisible Man!" "Player For Life" is another of $hort's anthemic songs where he professes never to stop rapping or tricking on women - in particular those who are Short Dawg fans on the low and don't tell their boyfriends. "Analyze the Game" is along the same lines - althought it could just as easily have been called "Pimpin' Won't Die." Other solo songs include his 2001 "Freaky Tales" revision called "These Are the Tales" and the album's finale "Don't Ever Give Up."

A majority of the album is produced either by $hort himself or SBX with other producers arranging the songs they appear on such as "Looking For a Baller" by Jazze Phä "I Luv" by Daz and "Talkin' Shit" by Ant Banks. This formula is very consistant and provides the ideal soundscape for each song as well as Too $hort's distinctive pimpishness - funky and a little bit sleazy. Despite the overwhelming number of cameos, Too $hort still manages to remain the true definition of an MC - master of ceremonies - and guide the album from start to finish. The best compliment one can pay this album is that it's just like any other Too $hort album; and if you're already a fan of his work this is another banger for your collection.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: December 7, 2001