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 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 hos." His diction sounds crisp, and he's versatile enough to go from the 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. 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? -- Eric K. Arnold