PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Too : Get Off the Stage

Stuart Henderson

Wow, tough album title, Too $hort. You talking to yourself?

Too $hort

Get Off the Stage

Label: Zomba
US Release Date: 2007-12-07
UK Release Date: Available as import

There was a time when Too $hort was relevant. Indeed, there was a time when his relentless misogyny was somehow acceptable, when his hopelessly limited vocabulary was a kind of asset, and when he seemed important, worthy of respect, or, at least, of our attention. That time has passed.

Too $hort is now, on this, his 16th record, a boring, uninspired artist with nothing new to say about anything at all. While his raw fuck-jams, his furious woman-hating, and his casual homophobia might have seemed a significant “message” back in the era of Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube (two overrated MCs who idolized $hort), it now sounds completely pointless. This is, by any measure, an entire record of graphic sex fantasies punctuated by the endless repetition of the word “bitch”. It’s goofy, since it’s all so horrifically insipid, but it seems somehow darker than that -- this isn’t a funny album, even when you want it to be. It's close to self-parody, but the reality is that everything is delivered with such earnestness that you’re left with the ugly feeling that this guy actually lives like this.

Rare is the record that inspires a personal hatred of the musician behind the music. And for good reason -- as an omnivorous listener, I tend to harbour respect for just about every artist out there, even if I don’t think much of their work. But I think I hate Too $hort.

I certainly hate what he says about just about everything. I hate that he feels a burning desire to (on the title track!) assail small-chested women for having the gall to dance in front of him: “If you ain’t got big titties, then why you up there stripping? Get off the stage, bitch!”. I hate that when a poor woman comes on to him, he chastises her before warning that “right now, I want to make you taste my nuts”. I hate that he tells a woman he wants to sleep with to “pull them panties down” and “let that pussy hang”. In three quick lines, Too $hort manages to attack a (silenced) stripper, insult a “broke” woman (high target, tough guy), and then order a bedmate to get naked for him (even as he obliquely slurs her vagina). It’s all of this thoughtless anger toward women -- which I know is hardly unknown to the world of hip-hop, but one of $hort’s claims to fame is that he started it! -- that highlight his lack of creativity.

In his website bio (which is by turns hilarious and unsettling), $hort emphasizes that the word “bitch” (which he has always made a point of pronouncing “biatch”, “biiiiiitch”, and “beeeeeeaaaaaatch”) is his trademark. In fact, he seems to think that this contribution was some kind of innovation. Yes, many artists copied his pronunciation, and indeed turned the word into a kind of street currency before it mysteriously made its way into the mainstream. Now, white suburban kids use the word “beeyotch” to refer to each other on the playground. Score one for Too $hort.

But are we really talking about this? Is this artist’s proudest legacy really his ground-breaking use of a word which, at the very least, denigrates women, and at most, well, denigrates women? On this record, Too $hort uses the word so often that it’s basically a comma, but every time he spits it, he’s talking about women. Even when he’s attacking men, his calling them a “bitch” is a put down -- in his tune “Shittin’ on ‘Em”, he calls a bunch of different men “bitch”, and it ain’t because he likes them. Even when he’s vaguely trying to defend his use of the word -- as in this supremely weird moment in “Pull Them Panties Down”: “Bitch, take ‘em off. Yeah, I called you a bitch. All bitches ain’t women. Pull ‘em down” -- he manages to avoid making any goddamn sense. I know he’s not the only guy who does this stuff (hardly!), but he claims to have been the first. So, I’m shittin’ on him.

Musically, the record follows the trend $hort established upon moving to Atlanta from his native Oakland a few years back. It’s all treble click and booming bass, slow jams with interchangeable vocal lines -- which, if you’ve been following the underside of the crunk scene, means his record sounds like every other lousy crunk record from the past four years. Guest MCs tend to be Oakland friends, but none seems up to the low-bar task of upping the ante on any of the tracks. Mercifully, the record is a mere 35 minutes long. At this length, it hardly qualifies as a complete album in the current world of bloated releases. Still, it’s a pretty long 35 minutes to sit through, especially if there are any women or homosexuals around when you’re doing it.

If you want, you can easily reduce all the songs on this record to one, awkward message: Too $hort hates “bitches”, but wants to fuck them. Freud would love this guy. Me, not so much. While I am so cherry picking using this line, how can a guy resist? Hey, has-been! Get off the stage, biatch.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.