interview TOO SHORT (December 2010) | Interview By: Nima Etminan

   Dubcnn had the great opportunity to sit down with a legend in the game, the Bay Area's own Too Short, at his recording studio in Oakland. We speak to Short about age limits in Hip-Hop and his motivation to never stop rapping.

Short compares the grind on the streets pushing tapes out of the trunk to today's world where artists grind online and blast their music out to blogs and connect with their fans on the internet. As one of the first artists to talk about pimpin' and mackin' on records, we ask Short his opinion on Kat Stacks and other "e-groupies" trying to get some fame off sleeping with rappers.

Too Short tells us about the creation of E-40's smash hit "Bitch" and how he ressurected an old record and turned it into a big success. We also get a few words on Short & E-40's upcoming collaboration project "The History Channel" and why this time it's coming out for real. We end off the interview learning about Too Short's upcoming digital EP "Respect The Pimpin'" dropping December 14th and Short explains why digital is the way to go for the future - even for a seasoned vet like him.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to nima@dubcnn.com.

Interview was conducted in November 2010
Related Media & Links
Too Short - Bitch I'm A Pimp (Audio)

Too Short // Exclusive Video Interview // Dubcnn

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended) 

Dubcnn is right here in Oakland with the legend himself, Too Short. What's going on with you man?

Too Short: Still doin' it man! Still in it, still trying to win, still trying to get money, still rapping, still touring, everything.

Dubcnn: Now you've been in the game for what… it's getting close to three decades now, right?

Too Short: Forever!

Dubcnn: When you get up in the morning and you wanna rap, what's the main thing that motivates you to still get in the studio and knock the music out?

Too Short: I'm a natural song writer, we do have a formula where over the years it started to get pretty easy. As long as you got some originality and some talent, you can keep cranking them out. But I think I just kind of set a goal for myself to play it as long as it can go. I just wanna do it longer than anybody else say they did it. I wanna make more songs than anybody, I wanna be the oldest rapper who is active. I didn't set out to do this, but now that I'm doing it, I might as well do it to the fullest, like Brett Favre, you know?

Dubcnn: So we ain't gonna see the end of Too Short music anytime soon.

Too Short: Still scoring touchdowns, I ain't going nowhere!

Dubcnn: You've proven that there ain't no age limit in Hip-Hop. There's all these people talking about old rapers, this and that. But you're still here.

Too Short: There ain't no age limit on Hip-Hop! It was supposed to be 30, we're over the hill with 30. We passed that. 40 was like unheard of, we passed that. I'll be 45 on my next one, so that's halfway between 40 and 50, like damn, how fuckin' long will he keep going? Who knows…

Dubcnn: You started out independent, selling tapes out the trunk. Now the game has kind of gone back to where you gotta grind it out yourself, the majors ain't really doing that much for you anymore. How would you compare getting your music out there in the analog world, where you had to hit the streets, compared to being online and hitting the blogs and blasting the music out?

Too Short: I like to think in a dream world where I would have had the internet when I was coming up, thinking what kind of life it would have been, because we did do a lot and we did have a real strong grassroots movement before we ever saw a professional studio, before I ever even came anywhere near having something that was in a record store. We already had tons of fans out here. So you gotta customize yourself to the times. If it took pounding the pavement and passing out cassette tapes in the early 80's, if it took passing out flyers and snippets in the 90's, and on to the new millennium where you gotta get them MP3's out there, post your songs on your MySpace, advertise on your Twitter. You just do what's part of the times, thats' what I'm doing.

Dubcnn: So how has that experience been, being in touch with your fans online on Twitter and places like that? Do you think there is a downside to being so accessible?

Too Short: I think that just like Obama won the presidency, if you don't do it, somebody else is gonna do it. If you gotta take advantage of everything that's out there, then I don't see any real downside to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Except that me, I have a lot of friends, I know a lot of people. When I see them I shake their hands, I see how they're living, I know things about them. You don't really get that effect when you have cyberfriends. You just get a still photo and maybe you can get some UStreaming jumping off. But really, you just get a picture and you make friends with this picture.

It's kind of hard for me to grip that concept, being out here for 20+ years and shaking hands and meeting people, hanging out in neighborhoods and doing stuff. Now all of a sudden I have 20,000 cyberfriends. Shit I got 20,000 real friends! So there is an adjustment mentally, but it's the business so we gotta do it! I'm the same artist who would have told you 25 years ago that I never wanted to be on the front of an album cover and never wanted to make a video! I just wanted to make music! Now I've got 50 videos and 50 albums covers, so things change

Dubcnn: You were one of the first to bring pimping and macking and all that on records. How do you feel when you see stuff that's going on on the internet right now, like you've probably heard of Kat Stacks setting up rappers and putting them on blast, these groupies advancing trying to come up and put these rappers out there. How does Too Short feel about that?

Too Short: It's different tools in the game right now. Back in my day, you could potentially be involved in something that would have been a media scandal, but there were no media scandals back then as easily accessible as they are now. It just wasn't the instantaneous blast that goes out there. When somebody passed away or some crazy rumor started and it just goes from text message to email to text message and everybody knows it in the same day. It wasn't like that back in the day. So it's kind of tough to think what would have happened if it would have been this way back in the day. Cause I probably would have been tabloid king if they would have told some of the stuff I did over the years. I'm glad that I came before that stuff, but now I mean come on man…

Dubcnn: What would you tell Kat Stacks if she came up to you trying to holler?

Too Short: I don't know man. I personally feel like I understand what she's done, what she's popping her collar and kicking up dust about. But from what i've heard, nobody really got down to the nitty gritty of what her skills are, like what can you do? Okay, you can look good enough to get a trip back to the hotel, but what happens at the hotel? Is that pussy banging? Is that like some super bomb ass head? Like what the fuck does she do? I don't really care that she's sleeping around.

If I had her, I'd be like "Okay, you like to fuck a lot of guys, you don't really get much for it except to vent on the internet. Let me show you how to make some money with that pussy." I would pretty much educate her and tell her that's her money maker, not just a flag that you wave like "Hey here's the pussy!" That muthafucka is worth some money, so unless you're getting payed for them downloads and hits, you're just getting hit for free! You're just wearing it down, it's gonna be looser than elastic! You gotta use your heard to control your pussy.

Dubcnn: Getting back to the music… Everytime they tried to write you off, you came back, whether it was "I Luv" with Daz and Trick Daddy and Scarface, or "Bossy" with Kelis, or now you've got the song "Bitch" with E-40 which is blowing up all over the country. What's the story behind that song?

Too Short: Like I said, we do have a certain formula and we know how to make records It was supposed to be over for me before "Shake That Monkey". Then that song came out and they were like "Oh old dude still rapping, let's give him one more song." Next thing you know here comes "Blow The Whistle". Then they were like "Oh the old dude is 40 now!" "Blow The Whistle" is like the song that won't even go away! I'm popping up here and there, Snoop's "Life Of The Party", Kelis "Bossy", just trying to be on stuff and be active, doing remixes or whatever.

Just like I know right now as we're sitting here, there's something you haven't heard that's gonna be active and I'll be 45 and it's gonna be in rotation! The song with E-40, "Bitch", that's the song that's hot now, moving around a lot of cities, I've been going around performing it. Everybody don't know it yet but in every city I sing it in I see the crowd's reaction. In some cities it's really hot.

It's a song that was out a while back, I had some little homes out in Oakland, the Trunk Boys, from East Oakland where I'm from. They had a mixtape that they asked me to get on, I appeared on 2 songs on the mixture, one called "Cup Cake No Feeling" and they had another song "Scraper Bikes". People that don't know about the scraper bikes, that's something you should YouTube or Google, it's a little thing going on out here with the kids and they're actually making their bicycles look like cars with rims and colors and candy wrappers and everything. The Trunk Boys had these songs floating around and they got a lot of fans.

They had this one song on there "Don't Act Like A Bitch", one of the songs that I was on. I always thought to myself - this is back in '07, pushing into '08 - I was thinking "Damn that's a nice fuckin' song." So time went by and everything went away and I pulled the song up out of the woodworks and resurrected it, brought it back to life and put E-40 on it. E.40 got 50 Cent to be on it and it's all the hit that I knew it would be!

So that song has finally prompted me and E-40 to say "Okay, enough is enough. We made too many duets, too many songs. We've been friends too long. We might as well just make the album together." We've already been working on the album, but we just talked on the phone the other day and confirmed that this will be the next project that both of us will be releasing. The duet album, Too Short and E-40, it's called "The History Channel". So far what we've made, he's 42 and I'm 44, and if you're thinking old dudes shouldn't be making music like this, watch what I tell you, the shit is hot.

Dubcnn: Now that concept "History Channel" has been talked about times and times again in the past.

Too Short: We've held on to that title for a good 7 or 8 years and counting. We're not letting it go.

Dubcnn: But this time it's for real for real?

Too Short: Yeah! The only thing that ever stopped us in the first place was Jive. There's something about Jive, they don't like their artists to collaborate together. I don't know why. They gave every excuse in the world for why it just wouldn't be the thing to do. I remember one time Jive stopped me from making an album with Lil Jon, this was back right before Lil Jon blew the fuck up.

Dubcnn: You used to have him on your albums!

Too Short: Yeah, that was my guy! Jive was kind of the reason why it didn't work out. We were supposed to be a team and Jive grabbed Lil Jon and put him in a room and told him "Make beats" but they didn't believe in him when he was fresh signed to TVT as an artist. TVT wanted to do a project, they wanted me to be on like 7 or 8 songs! It would have been a huge thing for me and my career at that point, but that's just how it is. I think a E-40 and Too Short album 10 years ago would have been the shit.

Dubcnn: It's still gonna be the shit.

Too Short: It's still gonna be the shit right now. But before the MP3 downloads and the filesharing shit, the good old days when you went and actually bought the damn CD, those days…

Dubcnn: Speaking of MP3's, you entered the digital age with your last digital only album, "Still Blowin'" which came out earlier this year. How was that experience?

Too Short: I plan on doing more of that, digital only releases, just because it's the same effect as a mixtape. You can put some songs out there, see which ones get the most hits and these are the ones you might wanna put on a album when you do put an album out in stores. Plus, I mean how easy is clicking a button and then you get a check?

Dubcnn: You've been working with Empire Distribution, and you're planning on releasing the "Respect The Pimpin'" EP on December 14th.

Too Short: I keep saying this shit about age and how I don't wanna stop rapping, but I really don't feel like competing right now with the Drakes, Lil Waynes and Kanyes and trying to put out a big blockbuster album 4th quarter with big videos and all that. I never really wanted to be in that when it was bling bling in the 90's with the million dollar Hype Williams videos. I never wanted any part of that stuff. But now I'm like… I don't feel like I have to make albums. I can make songs, I can make EP's, it can be a 5 song release, it can be 2 songs. As I make the music and I feel like it's something I wanna put out there, then I'm gonna put it out there. We might even do one song, one video. That would be the project. There are no rules in the digital age, it's whatever you can think of.

Dubcnn: That's what it is. As far as up and coming Bay Area artists, who are you messing with right now?

Too Short: I really like working with some artists from the neighborhoods around here, younger kids like the Trunk Boys, trying to help them get their music out there. One of my favorite artists that's up and coming is Erk Tha Jerk. He makes his own beats, he's got songs in rotation, he's a cool dude, with a different kind of look, different approach. It's a lot of that going on out here, cats that are hovering around the game, waiting to kick that door in.

For right now, it's just some people that are a little too original for the monotonous game that's going on right now. Some people need to just wait it out till everybody gets tired of the same old video and same old song over and over again, until we can get some originality back in. I know that when the Hip-Hop ears open back up to the masses, when the masses wanna hear some real stuff… I mean I like Drake, he's really rapping, Lil Wayne got a lot of flow, but it's a lot of good rappers being shut out because it's just too good. We're all ignorant right now as rap fans, we're like one big retarded muthafucka. I think we really need to get back to that intelligent Hip-Hop, let's use our voice. It's so loud and it's just so quiet right now at the same time.

Dubcnn: I like how you and E-40 as the big homies from the Bay always looked out for the up and coming cats. It seems like in L.A., it's been an issue… That's never really been the case in the Bay.

Too Short: *laughs* Yeah, anybody come at me right now, if you got a good song, we can find a way to make a song together, work together. If you don't wanna do a song, we can sit down and chop it up and we might just need some advice or some game! I mean that is part of the Bay Area Hip-Hop culture, to mix and mingle. We got a thing going on out here from day one, that usually in the music game, if some friction comes about and somebody is mad at somebody else, then the community usually heals itself, we'll deal with it.

We don't have a lot of enemy rap crews going around trying to kill each other. It's enough real cats in the street to not let the music cats venture off into that. We don't have that political thing out here. In L.A. it's a lot of politics too with where you're from and who you're affiliated with, you can't work with the wrong person. I'll go rap with Vallejo dudes, Frisco dudes, Palo Alto dudes… Me and the HoodStarz did a bunch of songs together, it's whatever!

Dubcnn: We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to dubcnn. Is there anything else you wanna let everybody know?

Too Short: It ain't over! It ain't never gonna end! *laughs* And we got the best weed out here.


Too Short // Exclusive Video Interview // Dubcnn

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended) 




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