This is a public service announcement. Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not purchase Too $hort's latest CD without doing your research first. After doing even cursory research you'll likely find that either you already have all the material contained on this album or you never wanted to purchase the material in the first place. To fully understand what I mean you'll have to know that for at least a decade Too $hort has tried to start a successful record label. His latest attempt at a record label is Up All Nite Music which has been providing sub-par releases since 2006. Despite the questionable quality on the previous Up All Nite releases, "The After Party" takes the cake for the worst (or best) album the label has dropped.
What makes this album so horrible or so great? The great qualities come from the fact that for a mere $9.99 you can get yourself two discs of Too $hort music AND a DVD all in some neat looking digi-pack. It's a deal that's hard to resist. Even with the warnings that maybe I shouldn't purchase this disc, I figured at worst this was a compilation of the best of the Up All Nite catalog. While I did recognize some of the songs and the packaging does contain in very small print a warning that the album contains previously released music, I thought that Too $hort wouldn't be shady enough to simply repackage CDs and not tell you he's doing that. I was wrong. The back of the "album" simply lists the songs on "Disk 1" and "Disk 2," but once you tear away the wrapping (which makes the CD virtually un-returnable) you see that inside "Disk 1" turns into "Pimpin' Incorporated Disk" and "Disk 2" turns into "I Love The Bay Disk" – the DVD is also the one packaged with "Pimpin' Incorporated." Maybe I was a fool for expecting a best of that included cuts from "Set Up Shop" and "Gangstas and Strippers" mixed in with a few new tracks, but I still feel a little ripped off. I purchased "Pimpin' Incorporated" and was a bit disappointed with it. I didn't find "I Love The Bay" that appealing, but I did purchase the 5-6 individual tracks I liked in MP3 format. So basically I paid for what I already have. To add injury to insult, it looks like he just made new cases for the leftover copies of the old CDs. The only solace is that I have "I Love The Bay" in CD format – that counts for something, doesn't it?
Basically "The After Party" is a pretty good deal in deceptive packaging. $hort should have just said this was two albums for the price of one, heck he might have even sold more units that way. Instead, old fans like me who didn't do their research will end up purchasing that which they already own. New fans might think this is another Up All Nite release of questionable quality and pass on it as well. For those who don't own either album, this actually isn't a bad deal considering I'd say there's enough dope material on each disc to make for one pretty great album. Those who own one of the discs may find this a cheaper way to get the other album since it's priced cheaper than either individual CD. Everyone who got burned like me will likely never buy another Too $hort CD – at least not until "The After Party 2" comes out and we've done enough research to figure out what it actually is.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: September 2, 2008