Those of you still nod your head to De La Soul’s third–and I would say best–album from time to time will also recall hearing, for the first time, the infectious presence of a female guest, who lent her smooth, uniquely cool voice to several songs and even rapped a verse on “In the Woods.” For me, Shortie No Mass’ charismatic charm and feminine appeal on Buhloone Mindstate are as memorable as any guests De La Soul has ever employed, and help make it one of their finest albums. Why she hasn’t appeared on more of their albums is a mystery to me.
The Philadelphia-raised femcee and cousin of Posdnuos never did release a full-length LP herself, nor, to my knowledge, has she joined De La Soul on wax since Buhloone, but she did embark on a solo career for a brief period of time in the mid-nineties, recording the 12 inch single “Like This” b/w “U Like My Style” in 1995. For some reason the single was never released until Track Team Records decided to pick it up in 2002.
The first track features calming, ambient production by Rockwilder, with jazz-lain samples that provide the perfect canvas for Shortie’s slightly more aggressive delivery and her always magnetic voice. The second track, produced by Da Beatminerz, is slightly slower in tempo, with a memorable bass-line and a soulful piano sample over which Shortie raps in her characteristic, enjambed swing-pattern flow. The remix to “U Like My Style” (also produced by Da Beatminerz) is a decent re-working with a subtler beat and a faster delivery, but I still prefer the original. For vinyl heads who don’t yet own a hard copy of this, feel free to purchase it online (it’s only $6.50 on UGHH, but it’s currently sold out, and has been sold out for quite some time… other sites might sell it for around $8-$20).
Aside from Ladybug Mecca–who, in my eyes, will forever be the queen of femcees–Shortie No Mass has the best voice out of any female rapper out there, including MCs Lyte and Latifah. Her voice contains a very distinct and charming feminine flair but doesn’t veer off into shrillness or anything too high-pitched, and isn’t wheezy or scratchy like, say a Lil’ Kim or a Foxy Brown. (I’d hate to categorize Shortie with the latter two artists because she really sounds nothing like them… which is a compliment, I suppose.) If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably imagined how promising her hypothetical full-length LP would have been, or how great she would have sounded as a prominent, full-time Native Tongue. There is only, alas, just the one record–but as a debut single, it’s a knockout.
A1 – Like This (Vocal)
A2 – U Like My Style (Vocal)
A3 – U Like My Style Remix (Vocal)
B1 – Like This (Instrumental)
B2 – U Like My Style (Bonus Beats)
B3 – U Like My Style Remix (Instrumental)
DOWNLOAD –re-upped 5/9/12
Props to the cats at F.I.P. (For Indy Prosperity) for the original 256 kpb/s rip. Enjoy!
— Teddy C.D.