Album: Gettin' It (Album Number Ten)

What breed of rapper would open their fourth platinum-certified album (and seventh solo album overall) with a soft jazz cover of "I'd Rather Be With You"? Too Short, the preternatural mack, who moved from the Bay to Atlanta while he was recording Gettin' It; thankfully, Short Dog's crucial collaborators Shorty B and Ant Banks came with him. The album's eponymous intro was Short Dog's biggest mark on 1996; "Gettin' It" peaked at No. 68 on the Hot 100 and at No. 49 on the R&B chart. This was, supposedly, a victory lap for Too $hort, who returned quickly enough three years later, only to find that his influence had spread as far as Atlanta and Houston; listen to "Wanna Be A Baller," which Lil Troy released two years after "Gettin It," and tell me you don't hear the echo. —Justin Charity