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"Born To Mack" was released in 1987 and was released as the debut album from the Oakland rapper Too $hort. Although not really his first, it was the first of his album to have major-label backing after a run of a few independent EP releases and a multitude of local mixtapes. Relatively early for a West Coast release, it finds him breaking barriers in being a rapper from California (at a time when the East Coast dominated Hip Hop) and has him depicting a lifestyle which seems to fit right in with connotations of life on these sides.
The album gets underway with this hyped tune and a track that has him using the simplistic production that was highly popular at the time and the kind of thing that I felt made for the best results for him. The track sets the album off well as we see how he powers through with his rhymes and gets everyone into a party atmosphere with the heavy bass and the suitable rhymes which he comes with.
2. "Mack Attack"
As this one comes into effect, it seems to take you by surprise in how it comes seemingly out of nowhere with a tune that has the beats rolling out and pushing it into some higher-paced stuff. The rhymes that he comes with here have him showing how his time refining his skills (since 1983) have paid-off has he has got to the stage where he represented his city of Oakland well as the first person from there to make it in this scene.
3. "Playboy Short II"
A sequel to a track on his "Don't Stop Rappin'" release, here we get a funky piece and one that takes on the sort of feel that you tended to expect to get out of the West Coast at the time (in addition to the South). It is a hardcore tune and it would have been a massive change to the kind of thing that you would have expected to get out of a Hip Hop album of the time with his new take on things out where he's from.
4. "You Know What I Mean"
You get more simple production (that he composed himself) and it seems to reflect the fact that you really can't expect to get anything all that impressive out his lyrics and just flows which are sufficient enough to make the most out of the beats and make for some funky music that you really can't take yourself away from once it's started. This is just some strange, rough rhyming from Short Dog, and it does the job.
5. "Freaky Tales"
On this one we see that the pace lowers massively and it really suits the fact that here he chooses to turn it towards the girls and rap about just how freaky he is. Now this kind of stuff is rather typical;, but you really couldn't have expected much of this kind of stuff and so this is a reason why it managed to gather so much attention as he shocks the listeners with rhymes about things that you won't have heard before.
6. "Dope Fiend Beat"
You get more evidence of just how careless he appears to be here as he kicks this one off with his signature call of "BIATCH" (a way of saying the word that he popularised before Snoop Dogg came along and took it to the masses). From here he comes out with some rhymes about him being a pimp and just how this world works (or how his rules go when it comes to just how his girls should act around him).
7. "Little Girls"
Before seeing the thing end on some instrumental work with lots of DJ scratches, we see that here we have him pulling out just about the funkiest piece of music that we could have got out of the region at the time. It is a killer joint and the perfect way to end this album off as he does his thing just how he always does with his original style of rhyming (that holds onto the Old School style).
8. "The Universal Mix"
This is a classic album from Too $hort, and although it couldn't really compete with the debuts of "Paid In Full", "Criminal Minded" and "Yo! Bum Rush The Show" lyrically, the overall feel of the thing is consistent in bringing something original to the game and funky-fresh material from start to end.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Mack Attack
3 Playboy Short II
4 You Know What I Mean
5 Freaky Tales
6 Dope Fiend Beat
7 Little Girls
8 Universal Mix