Too Short Biography
Last updated: 07/07/2009 12:00:00 PM
Whoever coined the phrase "you can't keep a good man down," obviously had Bay Area rap pioneer Too $hort in mind. He has overcome tremendous obstacles in his quest to be the best player/rapper in a game he largely invented.
For the past ten years, Todd Shaw (AKA Too $hort), the man who was quite literally "born to mack," has been rap's original pimp lyricist of the year -- selling his unique blend of laid-back folk poetry to millions of die-hard fans around the globe. Beginning with his classic underground "Born To Mack" on through LPs like "$hort Dog's In The House", "Get In Where You Fit In", Too $hort has released an unprecedented ten straight LPs (seven on Jive Records). In a world where the average rapper is lucky to see three records hit the shelf, Too $hort has seen each of his Jive releases either go gold or platinum with little or no major support from major media outlets. Back in the day, the average fan learned about the new Too $hort record strictly by word of mouth traveling from street to street, hood to hood.
What's the secret to $hort's winning streak? Well, to let him tell it, it's all about staying true to the game by being yourself and never switching your game plan to be like the next man. And $hort's game plan is simple -- take the game that he learned form observing Oakland's infamous pimps and players and lay it down over some infectious bass-heavy mid-tempo funk known throughout the Bay area as "Dope Fiend" beats. "In my case the 'dope' is the music and the 'fiend' is the one that listens to it," explains Too $hort. "I first conceived it as this kind of infectious music that you didn't hear on the radio or TV. Basically, I wanted to create music that the real players bump."
But in 1996, after a ten year reign of spitting game on the mic, $hort shocked the world and retired from doing solo recordings. Yet after announcing his retirement and dropping the stellar platinum "Gettin' It (Album Number Ten)," $hort's trademark high pitch voice began to pop on almost every major recording you can think of, proving that the sultan of Black Exploitation's reign on wax was far from being over. In the past year or so, he has blessed the mic with the likes of Jay-Z, E-40, Lil' Kim, Scarface and Jermaine Dupri. And now, due to tremendous popular demand from his fans and Too $hort's own love for the rap game, he returns with the stunning "Can't Stay Away" (a title that is derived from the Bootsy Collins' hit of the same name), his eleventh recording.
Produced by Erick Sermon, Ant Banks, Diamond D, T-Mix, Jazza Pha' and newcomer J-Mack and with guest appearances by 8-Ball & MJG, Jay Z, Scarface, Daz and E-40, "Can't Stay Away" delivers the kind fo slow and mid-tempo deep bass beats that fans have come to expect from Too $hort and promises to be one of his best efforts ever.
"I named the record 'Can't Stay Away' because it is indicative of how I feel about the rap game, the player game, the pimp game, the women, the music business. Putting down the mic meant putting down all of it... the whole thang, and I just can't stay away from it all."
With a brand new solo LP and a thriving new label entitled $hort Records, the future looks extremely bright for the Bay Area player, who has endured a roller-coaster ride filled with ups and downs. "I had two business partners that I had to buy out," says $hort. "I had two lawsuits on me, a wrongful death suit and I had the IRS on me. But at that time, my records were selling, there were tours, concerts, so it wasn't like everyday I was walking around with my head down." However, as we approach the new millennium, $hort states that he has never been happier with is career. "I don't wanna be Master P, or Death Row, or Puff Daddy. All I want is to make records and put them out there for the streets. That's what I'm i this for. If I can't do that, then all this other stuff was for nothing."
Pimps, players and playettes and player-haters, prepare for the second coming of the original mack of hip hop -- Too $hort.