Probably the most famous West Coast album to be released in the 1980s, and arguably more influential than any of the East Coast classic albums from that decade on mainstream hip-hop. Firstly, you have the method of release: Too $hort made albums in total obscurity until he gained enough traction with this record to finally sign onto a major record; that’s the mixtape-to-success route almost a decade and a half before people started doing it. Secondly, all the beats are made out of synthesized basslines and 808s, and that minimalistic (or half-finished, in a slightly more negative adjective) (or half-assed, in a even more negative adjective) approach has become the bread and butter of club songs today; see Tyga’s “Rack City” or Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.” Thirdly, the lyrics are pure braggadocio and bawdy, far removed from Public Enemy’s political anger or De La Soul’s hippieness.
But influential or not, shit sucks. If you’re interested in learning about the history of hip-hop, go nuts, but personally, I don’t want to listen to fifty minutes of interchangeable beats with the average song length of over six minutes. And there’s a reason why the rapper has been phased out of memory despite recently featuring on big names like Cassie and Lady Gaga: the guy can barely rap. The worst example is also the song that the album’s best known for: “Freaky Tales,” which is ten minutes of him listing girls that he’s fucked with an overuse of backing vocals, and the whole enterprise makes me think he’s a virgin because his description of sex is more generic than the educational videos they show kids. I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll say it again: if you’re one of the people who go to clubs, think that modern hip-hop’s gone to shit, and proceed to run home to spin “real” hip-hop records like this one, you have no one to blame for the state of mainstream hip-hop except yourself.