Too $hort

Married to the Game (Jive)

The Dead Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28; $43.50 to $53.50; call 216-241-5555
Guess who has more gold and platinum records than any MC in the history of rap? Todd "Too $hort" Shaw, that's who. It takes a lot more than just repeated usage of the b-word to achieve that kind of success, especially considering how much the rap game has changed since $hort's freaky tales and dirty rhymes first came straight from Oakland some 19 years ago.

What seems like his gazillionth album, Married to the Game, finds $hort in floss mode from his first rhyme: I'm slamming Cadillac doors, white drop top with the brand new Vogues, laced Rolex, still spittin' the flows, how can I retire? Still pimpin' the ho's. His diction sounds crisp, and he's versatile enough to go from the smoove R&B vibe of "Choosin'" (featuring Jagged Edge and Jazze Pha) to the raw crunkitude of "Shake That Monkey" (featuring Lil' Jon & the Eastside Boyz) without missing a beat. And on the album's best song, "Burn Rubber," he and Lil' Jon bring the retro old-school flavor back, revisiting the same classic Mohawks break Mantronix sampled in the electro b-boy anthem "Fresh Is the Word." The message is clear: Why waste time with all these upstart pimp rappers when the original player can still put it down so fresh and clean?

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