May 26, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Too $hort - "Buy You Some"

Artist: Too $hort featuring Erick Sermon, MC Breed, & Kool-Ace
Title: "Buy You Some"
Producer: Shorty B
Album: Gettin' It (Album Number Ten) (1996)

Roughly twenty years ago (fuck, I am old), I was sitting in a car waiting to go inside a friend's house.  I don't remember if I was driving or if i was riding shotgun, but I do remember that I was sitting outside of their home, parked next to the curb, like a weirdo stalker because I wanted to finish hearing the song that was playing on the radio.  It was an acoustic-sounding simple ditty that was backmasked to all hell, nearly every other bar from the first performer being censored, and yet you could still hear the depth of swagger and apathy in his delivery: it was the audio equivalent of someone moonwalking out of the room while flipping you off.  That performer was Erick Sermon, of EPMD and Def Squad fame (although the Def Squad wasn't officially a group then, not as much as they were just a collective of like-minded individuals), and the song, it turns out, was "Buy You Some", credited to The Dangerous Crew even though the only other guy that popped up on the track was West Coast legend Too $hort.

"Buy You Some" originally featured a single verse each from Sermon and $hort and ran for less than three minutes, as The Dangerous Crew ($hort's merry clan of musicians and rappers, including Ant Banks and Spice 1, neither of whom have anything to do with "Buy You Some") apparently needed to make sure there was enough room on their compilation album, Don't Try This At Home, to showcase everyone in the building.  The Shorty B instrumental is stunning in its simplicity: it's easy enough to replicate, but its earworm qualities are difficult to master.  "Buy You Some" also happens to feature, no bullshit, my favorite Erick Sermon verse ever (I'm going to add the qualifier "from his solo career" here, but honestly, it may just be my favorite in his entire catalog), which is the one that opens the track: after some bizarre light crooning, E-Double adopts the aggressive stance and audacity of his on-again, off-again rhyme partner Parrish Smith, dropping explicit (and hilarious, given his lackadaisical delivery) gems such as, "Who said the E can't rock?  That's bullshit / Suck my dick and get a big fat lick of my balls", a retort I've always wanted to use in both real life and on the blog, although I've since mellowed in my old age.  It's still funny, though.

Too $hort doesn't slouch, either: Sermon's balls-out (no pun intended, but it's there) performance is only made possible by a grant from the Todd Shaw School of Rapping, our host's matter-of-fact don't-give-a-shit flow clashing nicely with the relaxing melody as he compares his career to Sermon's and focuses more on the writing aspect of his bars than most of his fans would have expected, especially since he's best known for writing cocktastic tales of pimping all over the world and such.  Once the track ends, the listener is left wanting more.  Which is good, because the "Buy You Some" story doesn't end with The Dangerous Crew, whose version appears below.

I barely heard the song on the radio again after that fateful listen, but that just means the people in my area are idiots, because "Buy You Some" became a moderate hit elsewhere, so much so that Too $hort decided to show his cards the following year.  On his tenth album, Gettin' It (Album Number Ten), $hort included an extended version of the song that isn't labeled as a remix, probably because it features Sermon and $hort's opening verses exactly as they were, but then ventures into new territory immediately afterward, with a second stanza from the Green-Eyed Bandit that isn't quite as contagious as the original, but still entertaining, over an altered Shorty B beat that immediately switches back to normal for the host's second time at bat.  $hort's "newer" verse is where he begins to dive back into his macking persona, but it still works, thanks to the instrumental's steady hand.  And then, just for the fuck of it, our host invites guest stars MC Breed and Kool-Ace to each drop a verse toward the end, stretching the song past the five-minute mark, although that doesn't matter, as you'll wish more random artists would jump out of the magician's hat by that point.  Because of Erick Sermon's shout-out to Breed during his second verse, I'm led to believe that this was the actual original version of "Buy You Some", which is why this one's the take that appears at the top of the post.

"Buy You Some" also warranted a video, although, weirdly, it only features $hort and Sermon performing their two verses.  I assume Jive Records had something to do with that, since I like to pin the blame on Jive whenever possible.

There is a strange postscript to this story, one I was eventually going to get to when I returned to Erick Sermon's solo discography.  You see, Sermon apparently also loved his performance on "Buy You Some", so much so that he took the song, edited the shit out of it so only the first of $hort's two verses appear alongside his own two (MC Breed and Kool-Ace were deleted from history entirely, even though Sermon's name-dropping of Breed as a collaborator during his second verse is still on the fucking song), changed the track's name to the generic-sounding "Fat Gold Chain", and included it, nearly five years later, on his own solo album, Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis.  In what was clearly a rush job that he was hoping nobody would notice, "Fat Gold Chain" neglects to credit the original producer, Shorty B, giving the impression that Sermon produced the song himself even though it has the same beat as before, and cuts itself abruptly in the middle of the first bar from Too $hort's second verse.  The first fucking bar.  How this didn't somehow lead to legal trouble for the Green-Eyed Bandit is anyone's guess: maybe Shorty B's lawyer couldn't find anyone to sue because he wasn't familiar enough with our chosen genre to realize that 'Erick Onasis' was just a pseudonym for Sermon that he used exactly once.  I include that track for the sake of thoroughness, but it's a frustrating listen.  Stick with the extended original instead.

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Discuss below.



  1. AnonymousMay 26, 2015

    I remember buying a bootleg of the Erick Onasis album and I always thought the song cut off cause thr album was too long to fit on the disc or something. thats crazy his verse was just cut off like that.

  2. AnonymousMay 28, 2015

    My favorite song involving MC Breed is Aint No Future (in ya Frontin). Thats a classic, but this song was pretty solid.

  3. Erick Sermon is a weak rapper in my opinion but I feel like I'm forced to like him whenever I hear him spit based off the strength of his catalogue. I find it hilarious how Def Squad tried to adapt to the rapid change in hip hop in the early 00s with songs like React and Yeah Yeah you know it.