Artist: Too ShortTitle: Blow The WhistleRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad
Don't call it a come back...he's been here for years. After a hiatus, and a "retirement" before it was fashionable, Too Short is back and nastier than ever with his 15th release Blow The Whistle (Jive). The first track titled "Call Her a B*tch" gets straight to it, reminding us of the Too Short that we're used to. It's his favorite word after all, so why not put it to good use?
This release comes with the backing of the Bay Area hyphy movement, that's gaining more and more momentum as you read this. Short Dog's first single "Blow the Whistle" evokes everything that the movement stands for: the freedom of being hyphy, going "dumb" and dancing in abandoned buildings or sneaking into clubs in Downtown Oakland. The sick ass beat is filled with heavy bass, guitars, and that ever present whistle, produced by the King of Crunk himself, Lil Jon is the perfect kicker and sets the tone for the album.
There are a few times when the beat is harder than the flow that it's laced with, like on "Keep Bouncin" which is produced by will.i.am and includes background vocals from Fergie. Yes, you read correctly, Fergie. This is a step in the wrong direction, taking Short down a dark street of commercialism and pop-like appeal. will.i.am best stick to producing, because his flow is lackluster at best, calling on Snoop for a cool 16 bars that saves it from being super wack. Plus Short drops a few lines himself using all of his favorite four letter words.
Among other guest stars is producer Jazze Pha, who adds his vocals to the ode to oral sex, "Nothing Feels Better" and produces more than enough tracks (six in total) on the album. Rick Ross and the ambassador of the Bay Area, E-40 also make guest appearances.
How Short, now 40 years old, can sound pretty much the same as he did when he was 18 is a mystery. However, the fact that he sticks to his style is commendable. In a time, when some rappers will sell their soul for a hit record, Short has committed to giving his fans what they're used to hearing. With a healthy helping of explicit lyrics, sexual propositions, and props to the Bay Area, Short has made an album that is exactly what we expect from him, straight up, no chaser.