BY MAX LIGHT • NOVEMBER 6, 2018
Too Short is a pioneer within Rap. While Todd Shaw has been churning out albums for 31 years, his career in music goes back even further. With such an extensive resume in Hip-Hop, Too Short takes a moment to reflect on some key moments in his career. He produced 3 Decades Of Game, a documentary that includes some rare footage, as well as concert performances (including many with live bands) that shows how this Oakland, California mainstay is still gettin’ it.
Highlights in the documentary include Short Dog with late Midwest Rap trailblazer MC Breed. The two artists discuss Too Short’s 1996 exit strategy, during a short-lived period of retirement. “On [Gettin’ It (Album Number 10)], you say that after this album you’re retiring and the only way you’ll come back in the industry is if you get a million dollars. What’s going on?” asks Breed. Without hesitation, Too Short breaks down just what he meant by proposing to retire. “To use the word ‘retirement’ was my way of to just let them know how serious I am.” Comparing the Hip-Hop game to Sports politics, the Dangerous Crew leader explains the method behind the madness. “It’s like a free agency. When your contract is up, you go to the highest bidder [to get] the best deal. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t even think about what’s in advance. I’m telling you what’s in advance. I want the [million] or nothing. I’ll kick back and not rap anymore if I can’t get paid. If I gotta go for the same deal that they offer us on the come up, I’m not going for that. I want the Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson money.”
Too Short and Jive Records came to a contract renegotiation agreement, but it was only after a slew of artists showed the O.G. (who is originally from Los Angeles, California) some major love. Years before UGK, Juicy J, and Lil Wayne used features to escalate their status, Short Dog did an astounding 22 collaborations on others’ projects. It helped wake his label, new generations, and audiences up to a style, sound, and substance that runs in its own lane. “Guys like Biggie, and JAY-Z, and Erick Sermon were immediately like ‘let’s do songs’…and it changed New York and the East Coast’s perspective of me,” recalls Short. An artist who was not always warmly received in East Coast markets (at least in the press and on radio) made an important stamp at a pivotal time. There is also footage of Short and Ice Cube together in the studio. Cube was one of the artists who reportedly pushed his longtime peer (since the N.W.A. days) to keep pushin’. E-40, 415’s Richie Rich, Raphael Saadiq, and others also speak.