Too $hort
Still Fly

TooShort1.jpgToo $hort has turned his back on the game. Sitting in a restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, he turns toward the flat-screen television above the bar, glances at the opening round of the World Cup match between France and Switzerland, and from then on, proceeds to ignore the biggest sporting event on the planet.

Instead, the 40-year-old Bay Area legend is busy breaking down business particulars with representatives from the Pack—a teenage hyphy crew from Oakland, Calif., he’s advising. Words like “advances,” “expected budget” and “tour dates” are tossed around. Finally, after an animated 10 minutes on his cell phone, a flustered Too $hort hangs up. “You’ve got four guys in the group,” he says. “So that’s like four sets of parents to deal with.”

With eight gold and/or platinum albums under his belt, and the definitive pronunciation of one of hip-hop’s definitive words (“Beeyotch!”), Too $hort’s influence spreads far beyond direct descendants like the Pack. An entire generation of rappers—anyone who ever refers to himself as a “pimp,” even if the term is misinterpreted from time to time—owes him credit. So on the eve of the release of his 16th (!) album, Blow the Whistle, XXL arranged for 21 of his progeny and peers to pay their respects via e-mailed questions we read to him in person. He’s up for the challenge, ready to prove that this old dog still has a few, ahem, tricks up his sleeve. You know he could never really turn his back on the game.

E-40: What year did you record your first song?

The first recording of my voice over music was a homemade tape in 1980. I used a jazz record that had instrumentals on it. I remember one of them was a Marvin Gaye song “Got to Give It Up” and the album cover was supposed to look like a booty or a coochie, but it was really a close-up picture of an elbow. It was sort of like a Kurtis Blow–ish [rhyme], which was the only style of rap that was out. I didn’t really do what you know as Too $hort-talking-about-Oakland until Melle Mel made “The Message” [in 1982].

Devin the Dude: What music were you inspired by as a child?

Parliament/Funkadelic, Ohio Players, Cameo were my favorites. I was never really fascinated by disco, which outshined the funk after a while. One of my favorite phrases was that disco killed the funk. But funk lived on through rap music. But I was extremely turned out by the funk bands of the ’70s. I would listen to entire albums on my headphones while I was supposed to be outside riding my bike. I grew up in a Motown house with maybe some Al Green, Otis Redding. Then we turned it into the house of funk. It was a real soulful house, but we turned it. When we were little kids, to be listening to Parliament was something your parents didn’t want to hear. That was the “noise.”

DMX: How did your experiences growing up in the hood affect you as a grown man?

I use my street knowledge in everyday business tactics. I like that I was exposed to gang members, slick hustlers, con men and neighborhood geniuses; I can spot those characters. You can run dialogue by me, and I will immediately be able to smell you.

Paul Wall: What is your favorite memory of your career?

Probably the first time I went on a major tour. It was almost like love at first sight. I quit my girlfriend after the first show and just wilded the fuck out. We were together for a year-and-a-half before that. When I left [out on tour], I said, “Baby, I love you.” On the first night, I called and said, “I’m not fuckin’ with you no more.”

Yukmouth: Who started the hyphy movement?

TooShort2.jpg The hyphy movement started way back in the day at the sideshow in East Oakland, where they used to gather at the mall and show off their fancy car or do a stunt with their car, like do a donut… I actually filmed my first video, “Life Is…Too $hort” at a sideshow… My man Keak Da Sneak came up with the word “hyphy,” which I guess was an expression of how he was feeling about his involvement in the East Oakland lifestyle… The hyphy movement we know now comes from the youngsters in East Oakland, the little dudes that are not old enough to get in the clubs. They stop their cars anywhere in the street and have a party. We used to have a sideshow specifically in the neighborhood of Eastmont Mall or around it. These youngsters have a sideshow anywhere, any intersection. They don’t care if it’s a major intersection in the middle of the day. They are going to stop traffic, get on top of the bus and dance. The youngsters started it. Yukmouth should know the answer, but he just wanted me to say the right answer so it could be in the magazine.

Read Too $hort’s answers to the final 13 questions in XXL’s October 2006 issue (#85).

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  • DM@G!C


  • Macdatruest

    Second Muthafucka. Now. My comments: mmmmmmm…..PEACE BITCHES!

  • fuckthegame

    too $hort >>>>>>>> _______ dude is the muthafuckin og status of the game. even with grey goatee hairs he still drops classic after classic

  • pop a poppa

    bitches come a dime a dozen…
    so don’t get mad when I fuck your cousin,
    your two sisters, I even fuck your
    Short Dog in the house with some
    player shit.

    like D.O.C. – no one can do it better


    Short is still holdin it down for tha bay…i personally have rocked 2 sold out shows wit him…one in vegas and one in fresno…and he still got it..he give a dope show err time

  • Drastik Hussain (Dionysus repper)

    First off the Bay in this mother fucker.. 2nd uncle Too Short is a real ass nigga… He been teachin pimp courses for years and me plus my crew been following the curriculum, going hard on a bitch, and keeping it pimpin.. Short dogg knows what im talking about…one love my nigga!!
    “Fucking Ho’s all Night Going dumb” famous words!!!

  • john cochran



    But you still drink 40′s don’t CHA? YAYYY AREAAAA

  • silk.wire

    short keep putin out that pimp shit richmond my nigg

  • c_realla

    I grew up on $hort. Give the man his props for staying deep in the game.


    yep too $hort taught your favaroite

    rapper how to say


  • jon jon–23

    Too Short is definitely a legend. He was an entrepreneur way back in the 80′s and he is still releasing music and making moves. A lot of people used to talk down on him because of his slow rap style, but his lyrics carry weight and just hit you in the face with reality. He is one of my favorite all-time rappers. Even though a lot of rappers have come and gone, Short Dog knows how to stay afloat in the rap game. He has been around for a quarter-century!

  • oh yeah…it ain’t over muf*ckas

    Like them fools from the Luniz said……”Too Short was the first Oakland Raider on the set…”

    Nuff said….

    “Cuz i’ll give u a bitch before i give u a joint. Bitches ain’t shit and now i made my point. So u can light that weed while i spit this rap, and tell u bout a player from way back….”

  • BabyGirl


  • Raskel

    A on some real shit homie, I was at 740 in L.A. and too short came out and ripped shit, I swear to god it was a WESTCOAST party fa sho.DONT YOU WISHED YOU LIVED HERE, HA HA HA HA HA

  • freeagent

    Album #16 has finally hit the stores after a long wait! I’m loving cut 1 and eleven. These are really nice Too Short songs. I give this album a high score because I can tell that Short put alot of work into it. I was hoping to give it a A+, but do to the fact that it’s so up tempo and not enough classic type Too Short, I would have to give it a B-. Pretty good album. Great work by Lil’ John. I think I was expecting, plus looking to hear another freaky/cocktails. But yet I’m bumping this album!!!!!!!!!!!

  • human growth hormone

    The decreased level of human growth hormone is the primary reason for stunted healing in elderly individuals.

  • Sir Jantz

    You couldn’t be a better player than me, even if you fucked every day of the week!!!!

    Too Short is the biggest pimp since Dolemite! He’s been pimping since been pimping since been pimping! Now he got them blowing the whistle! Too Short keep doing your thing cause I ain’t mad at yah!!


    wut iz it dis ya nig from da seminary east oakland bitch ya heard
    we fuckin wid it
    pinkies up wrist down my niggaz no wutz up
    Messy my cuzzin and so is ya boy and quin
    so holla at me short

  • Lari da jeweller in London.

    2 sheezy the man been putting it down for years wit dem freaky tales, album number 16 and he ain’t signed to G unit bullshit like some other old school cats.
    Thats big got nuthin but respect for this cat he is a living legend, I’ma cop the album anyway. A lot of gabbage albums out these days these young cats don’t know how to make good music.

  • remy ma

    whats up too short big up to your big come backby holdin it down for the bay and showin all the little youngsters tryin to come up love. well you are well respected. sincerily remy ma

  • Lautrell Moore

    i love too short

  • prometheus

    “i come from east oakland where tha youngstaz get hyphy!”

  • Mr.twirk it

    Shake dat monkey wus ma shit..yup 2 short is a big tyme o g so all ya hatin ass ni66az hop off da ni66az nuts.

  • pmahaillk

    What’s he 1,000,000 years old? Retire after after this 1.