As the undisputed Godfather of Bay Area hip hop, Too $hort has earned the hip hop community?s undying respect and admiration. Too $hort?s legendary status is backed up by an incredible track record spans over twenty years and sixteen albums, ten of which earned gold and/or platinum status.
Born Todd Shaw in Los Angeles, CA the Bay Area rapper spent his formative years learning to navigate survival in the mean streets of LA. He moved to Oakland at the age of 14 where he met his early rap partner Freddie B. The two quickly formed a fast friendship based around their love of rap music.
By 1981, the two turned a hobby into a thriving enterprise by selling cassettes of Too $hort?s raps for five bucks a pop throughout the streets of East Oakland. Back then customers could even request specialized tapes with $hort rapping about whatever they wanted. ?That would cost you about ten to twenty bucks,? recalls $hort. ?And whatever information that you wanted on there would be on there. It would be your own special hook up.?
The popularity of those underground tapes spread throughout the Bay Area like wildfire, with fans dubbing them and passing them along to friends.
Word of mouth had created Too $hort a loyal cult following that by the time he graduated high school he was already a local celebrity and had landed a deal with a local label called 75 Girls. Too $hort released three independent albums (Don?t Stop Rappin?, Raw, Uncut & X-Rated, and Players) for the 75 Girls before breaking ties with them and forming his own label.
In 1986, Too $hort dropped his monumental album Born to Mack on his own independent label Dangerous Music. The record did sold so well that it attracted the attention of Jive label head Barry Weiss who offered the budding entrepreneur a distribution deal and re-released Born to Mack. The album went gold with little or no radio or video exposure. This was followed by a stream of gold and platinum albums. His sophomore releases Life is Too Short went platinum as did his subsequent releases, Short Dog?s in the House, Shorty the Pimp and Get in where You Fit In along with his 1996 release ?Getting? It (Album Number Ten). His string of gold albums include Cocktales, Can?t stay Away, You Nasty, Chase the Cat and What?s my Favorite Word.
With his latest LP Blow The Whistle, Too $hort?s sixteenth album (counting the five alums on 75 Girls), the Bay Area godfather turns in what is arguably his best work to date. ?When we conceived the album we picked a winning team,? says Too Short. ?We picked the best producers, Lil Jon and Jazze Pha. We picked the best studios. Both of them are hit-makers and I?ve worked with them many times. I think that it?s the best album since Getting? It.?
Indeed it is. One listen to songs like the Lil Jon produced track ?Blow the Whistle? with deep bass and pounding 808 will instantly conjure up fond memories of listening to classic Too $hort from back in the day.