For my second HipHopRambling, I’m going to take you all the way back to the year 1993. The early 90s clearly told of a very bright future in hip-hop. Snoop Dogg had dropped his debut album Doggystyle, which marked the maturation of West Coast G-funk. The East was beginning to see a revival with the release of Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) by the Wu-Tang Clan. 2Pac had also shot into super stardom with the release of Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
Let’s go to Oakland, California, circa 1993. Too Short was on a hot streak. He had released the ground-breaking Life Is… Too Short in 1989, then released Short Dog’s in the House (best known for “The Ghetto”, though “Short But Funky” is an overlooked yet also notable single from the album), and would release another solid album in Shorty the Pimp. By 1993 Too Short was thoroughly cemented as one of the West Coast’s finest emcees, alongside with the Dr. Dre (who had dropped The Chronic), Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Ice T, and Compton’s Most Wanted, alongside with the growing 2Pac. However, by the end of 1992, Dr. Dre had re-invented the way the West Coast sounded, and had essentially perfected the G-Funk subgenre, deriving from the Oakland-based Mobb music, as well as works from Above the Law and Compton’s Most Wanted. Too Short needed to respond to the changing climate of hip-hop, so he teamed up with fine Oakland-based producer Ant Banks to release Get In Where You Fit In, which also introduced the world to the short-lived rap supergroup The Dangerous Crew (which included Shorty B, Pee-Wee, Ant Banks, Goldy, Spice 1, and the now deceased Rappin’ Ron). What came out was an album that, although not terrible, definitely was not as good as Too Short’s earlier works, and sounded odd in 1993.
Perhaps the most notable part of the album is the production. Get In Where You Fit In was a pretty ambitious experimental project, and was an attempt to mix the more traditional and old-school P-funk and Mobb sounds of Oakland while mixing it with the Dr. Dre-created Chronic G-Funk. What came out was a very odd and awkward sounding album. Although there are a few nice tracks here and there (such as “I’m a Player”), much of the album sounded incredibly awkward, and was clearly a miss in 1993, making the album a big “huh?”. From a regional standpoint, it’s understandable. Too Short wanted to preserve the Oakland identity while nonetheless producing a G-funk album for 1993. However, it was a failed experiment.
One of the major issues with the album is that it’s just too long, and unbelievably long. All songs (not counting the intro) surpass the 4:30 mark, and with 13 tracks, this made the album an endurance test, mixed in with the awkward hybrid Mobb/G-funk instrumentals. Although there are some songs where the length is understandable on some tracks (such as “I’m a Player”, which is the shining gem in an album which leaves a lot to be answered), there are other tracks where the song drags itself on way too long, with no substance. The album could have benefited from being much shorter, but the length and filler really take their toll on this one.
The themes are what you’d expect from the standard Too Short album: pimping, cussing, and dirty rapping. There is some nice ghetto story-telling mixed in as well. Although Too Short was not nearly as notable as say, Ice Cube or 2Pac when it came to more socially conscious and political themes, nonetheless Too Short always had something real to say in each of his previous 3 albums, and it’s toned down in Get In Where You Fit In, with the slight exception of “Money in the Ghetto”. At times, the lyrics can get rather disturbing. Admittedly, Too Short is not recommended for the easily offended, but there are some songs where it does get a bit too graphic (such as “Blowjob Betty”), whereas the earlier 3 albums took a bit more of a satirical approach to the theme of pimping. It’s unsurprising the watered-down version cuts a lot of length and lyrics.
Another thing going on in this album is the lack of any notable kind of guest appearances. The only real standout guest appearance here is Spice 1. The rest really isn’t anything too special. Too Short had already collaborated with Ice Cube on “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Word To Me” on Short Dog’s in the House, and had toured previously with N.W.A., as well as Spice 1 having close ties to MC Eiht. Too Short could have had some more notable guest appearances going on here, but chose to introduce the world to local mostly underground Oakland emcees (with the exception of Spice 1, who had a successful debut album a year before), which is understandable, but it doesn’t achieve much in the end.
Overall, I’d give Get In Where You Fit In a 2.5 out of 5 stars. It was a pretty ambitious effort by Too Short, but unfortunately it ended up failing, and didn’t have a strong effect on the West Coast as say, The Chronic, Doggystyle, or Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. all did (Ice Cube laid his own egg the same year with Lethal Injection). The track that is definitely worth checking out would be “I’m a Player”, which is easily some of Too Short’s finest work. “Just Another Day” is a nice ghetto story telling piece. If you’re a Too Short fan, or interested in the curiosity of the experiment itself, it is worth checking out. Despite the flaws that this album has, it nonetheless was a financial success, peaking at #4 on the Billboard 200, and #1 on the Rap/R&B Albums Chart (which, given the immense competition this particular year, is quite impressive), and eventually went platinum.