Too $hort

Too $hort's place in hip-hop culture has always been controversial. The Oakland icon's pimp-styled persona and off-color humor are the source of a lot of rap's oldest, rawest tropes — chief among them is the exclamation "bee-yotch!" But after an XXL video interview earlier this year where he tried pushing that persona too far toward the predatory, he was confronted with the question of what place misogyny has in hip-hop culture, and the decades-deep veteran went into a reflective mode. The February release of his 19th album, No Trespassing — vintage $hort as elder statesman, laced with nods to a fanbase that's aged alongside him and guest spots from Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and E-40 — coincided with an interview with Ebony's Dream Hampton where they took stock of his impact, revealing $hort as an artist caught up in his own reputation's expectations. Whether his future holds more positivity is still up in the air, but given the more conscious moments in his massive discography to go along with X-rated anthems like "Freaky Tales" and "Blowjob Betty" — his struggle-minded "The Ghetto" and its aspirational sequel "Money in the Ghetto"; independent-woman appreciation "Sophisticated"; the introspective "Life Is Too $hort" — he's set a strong precedent for it. And at the core is a man who went from car-trunk tape hustler to money-making community investor, so if anything he knows how to keep his head up in a business with little love for artists who can't adapt to change. With Twista. 18+. (Photo by Seher Sikandar)
Sun., June 10, 8 p.m., 2012

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