As one of the most distinguished artists in the rap industry, Too $hort is known for his raw, sexually explicit style. (He even coined term “biaaatch.”) With almost 20 albums and over 25 singles under his belt, his Friday night “Birthday show” at Velvet Jones was one of the most highly anticipated concerts the venue has seen this year. But the sold-out event ended up a huge disappointment, thanks to a whole lot of waiting around, uninspired show openers, a brief headlining performance, and an abrupt, early exit from $hort, which left the crowd confused and irritated.
Escorted by an entourage of about 10 that stayed onstage for the entire show, Too $hort began his set seeming completely uninterested in performing. Though when he began, the audience was reminded of his enticing, dance-provoking beats and graphic verses, which even got girls scrambling to get on stage to shake their “monkeys.” Taking some time to mingle with the dancers, $hort showed the crowd a little of the pimp in him early on in the set.
He also performed number of favorites, including club hits “Shake That Monkey” and “Blow the Whistle,” the sexed up “Choosin’” and “Don’t Fight the Feeling,” the self-explanatory “Gangsters and Strippers,” and the time-honored “Gettin’ It.”
Hailing from Oakland, Too $hort has established a reputation as a key influence on the sounds of modern West Coast rap. As a collaborative artist, his work has reflected his envolvement with the Bay Area’s hyphy movement and Dirty South crunk, though he has always maintained his distinct crude flair. With his diverse music, $hort has developed a strong following and is fully deserving of his boastful attitude.
But at the peak of Friday’s show, just as fans were just started to get really amped, Too $hort walked towards the back of the stage and then was off. After a few minutes, he was once again surrounded by his entourage, who led the way out the front door. It took a Velvet Jones staff member to get on stage and alert the horde that the show was really over.
By night’s end the event felt like a sweltering house party that was broken up early, leaving fans unsatisfied — especially those who arrived at 11:15 p.m., only to be told that Too $hort had already left the building.
All in all, Friday night’s affair was indeed far too short.