Personnel: Too Short (vocals); Tempest (background vocals).
Producers include: The Dangerous Crew, Shorty B, Ant Banks, Pee Wee, Spearhead X, Too Short.
Engineers: Ant Banks, Spearhead X, Too Short.
All songs written or co-written by Too Short except "Top Down" (Ant Banks/M. Miller). Includes samples from "Disco To Go - 1" (as performed by Brides Of Funkenstein) and "Funky Worm" (G. Webster/M. Pierce/N. Napier/A. Nolan/L. Bonner/M. Jones/R. Middlebrook/W. Morrison).
Still spicing up the Oakland scene, Too Short returns to the charts with his ninth album, COCKTAILS, citing that little has changed in the business...the music business, that is. While many rappers gain their respect by kicking verses off their tongue at a delirious pace, Too Short uses his well-developed pimp style to emphasize his slow rhyming flow.
"Ain't Nothing Like Pimpin'" opens the album with Short Dog's (a self-imposed nickname) definition of values. Shocking to those who aren't able to relate to the inner city mind-set, Too Short is unrepentant and unafraid to let everyone in on his desires. When it comes to rhyming skills, Short is straight up without any complexity (a compliment); yet when telling "Cocktales" and other dirty raps, he is still an integral part of the hip-hop "Game." On "Paystyle," the multi-platinum poppa of all rap's mack daddies chastises phony MCs who feed on the characteristics of others. The album's funky bass tracks can be attributed to Ant Banks, who gets full production credit on such booty-shaking tracks as "Can I Get A ****," "Giving Up The Funk," and "Top Down." But the album's star-studded centerpiece is "We Do This," which invites 2 Pac, MC Breed and Father Dom to experience Too Short's pandering lifestyle, and enjoy some COCKTAILS with him.
Album number nine from Too Short carries on his tradition of lyrics about the joys of pimping, rapped moderately to groovy, funky, jazzy beats. Delete the raps from Too Short's tales, and you still have a commercial product. Spacy Bootsy Collins-influenced vocals appear on some cuts, giving the funk an eerie feel. Too Short likes naked, foxy ladies on his covers, and Cocktails is no exception; he picked a beauty pictured with a snake coiled around her curvaceous brown body. Homie Ant Banks appears on "Can I Get a Bitch," and 2Pac, MC Breed, and Father Dom join him on "We Do This" -- some nice rappin' on this one. "Coming Up Short" catches Too Short at his pimpingest best, spitting out mack lyrics to a funky-azz beat like an ol'-skool Chicago pimp. A female vocalist changes the pace on "Things Changes," adding some emotive vocal runs; Baby D, who sounds like he's seven, appears like a regular and gets off a tight rap that belies his age. Too Short is all geeked on "Paystyle," a mini macking fable and his best rap on the set. On the last track, "Sample the Funk," he acknowledges the creators of funk: James Brown, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, the Ohio Players, and so on. According to Too Short and his homies, pimping is an all-American game, and they praise the nefarious endeavor on every track. ~ Andrew Hamilton
Vibe (2/95, pp.83-84) - "...Short values easy rhymes, phat bass, and explicit sex....You can see Short's influence...in the street-level successes of Bay Area MCs and producers...in the way [rappers] pay tributes to the idiosyncracies of their 'hoods...and in the way folks like KRS-One and the Fugees have to remind everyone...where hip-hop originated."