S2 E18 | Too $hort
Big Bank, DJ Scream and Baby Jade return with a new episode of the “Big Facts” podcast featuring West Coast legend Too $hort. The rapper stopped by to talk about his legacy, controversial YouTuber Kevin Samuels, as well advice he has for up-and-coming artists who are looking to secure longevity in the music business.
The conversation took off running after Banks asked the hip hop pioneer to list some of his own musical contributions that have yet to be duplicated.
“For one, every time you get a rapper with a dope style and voice, people always steal it. Nobody ever really stole Too $hort voice — nobody try to mimic it or nothing,” he began. “And on the other side, my blueprint has always been funky music with a lot of bass and just spit a lot of game.” Still, he admitted, “I can name you the few that figured it out.”
“But people try to do certain things and they’ll have the beats, but they won’t have the game. They might have the game but they don’t have the beats — and it takes both. You wonder like, ‘Mane, this nigga can’t really rap.’ But I’m spitting a lot of game and the beats sound so damn good in your car — and people don’t know that’s how we was cheating the game,” he continued.
During the discussion, Too $hort, who has released 21 studio albums over the span of almost four decades, revealed how he picks which songs make it to final production.
“You mix your songs in the studio … I mix my songs in the car,” he said. “I go to the guy and get the best goddamn stereo I can get. I’m like, ‘OK, this one sounds good.’ I just put everything to the test in that car. If it don’t pass the car test, it don’t get mixed and mastered. So literally, my shit was customized for your expensive ass stereo in your car.”
Too $hort rose to prominence in the late 80s thanks to his drug culture and street survival-focused lyrics and catchphrases. Though yelling “bitch” at a squeaky pitch became synonymous with the Los Angeles native, he never trademarked the phrase.
While further reflecting on his contributions to the rap industry, the emcee admitted he had “mixed emotions” when the phrase grew more popular. But he noted, “The big picture of it is Death Row comes along. Snoop Dogg starts saying it. Death Row adopted it — biatch — put a little twist on it. And I feel like … let’s say, had I trademarked it before that and I’m like, ‘Anybody that say it gotta pay me,’ I don’t feel like it would’ve became what it did.”
“It’s a contribution. That’s what hip hop is. What if you could trademark a hairstyle or a fashion style. Hip hop is a gift. A rapper do something, the whole world does it,” he added. “That’s what we do. We give out phrases and new looks and silk words and we give it to the world. That’s what we do.”
Too $hort also shared his thoughts on controversial YouTuber Kevin Samuels. The self-proclaimed lifestyle expert, who rose to fame due to his polarizing dating advice and comments about Black women (which many found offensive), died earlier this month. He was 56-years-old.
“I don’t know the whole journey,” the veteran admitted. “All I know is the recent clickbait. I can’t get to the gist of where it came from and what it was. I don’t know. It sounded like some pimping but then it sounded real anti-female. I don’t know … it sounded hateful.”
The rapper is no stranger to receiving backlash for his artistic expression. He said he’s dealt with it by having “balance.” “Something that I always did — and you can talk to the women that know me — I will get on that stage and in that studio and talk a lot of shit. Then I’ll get off the stage and I’ll be a gentleman,” he explained. “And even though it’s 100% player status, I’m still running it from a gentleman’s aspect. So when you leave the room, they don’t go, ‘Oh, that nigga came in disrespectful.’ It’s like, ‘Damn, I thought he was going to be rude.’ It’s a balance in there.”
He added, “I try never to walk through life and act like Too $hort. It doesn’t really work for me, but I know that people are influenced by me … I don’t do that myself.” The hip hop OG added that while Too $hort may be his persona, “it’s real ingredients.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Too $hort episode if the “Gettin’ It” emcee didn’t drop some gems. While talking to the “Big Facts” crew, he stressed the importance of burgeoning artists having a good work ethic if they’re seeking longevity in the music industry. “I noticed the people who win in this game are always the overachievers. They’re the ones who put in the most work,” he said. “You sitting there measuring talent and skill, the looks and all this shit, but it’s really the hustlers, man. The hustler always wins in this. And my whole life, I’ve been a hustler — my feet on the pavement.”
He continued, “I just think it’s the hustle. I tell a motherfucker … when you put in all this work and you get your foot in the door and you look around and you’re like, ‘Oh shit, I’m on stage. They love me. I made it‘ — you should look at it like the opposite of that. This is where it starts.”
“Every time you set these goals — whether you achieve them or not — when you get to that point, it starts all over again. It ain’t no endgame. When you think like that, you’re the winner. You’re going to win,” he added. “I’ll tell a motherfucker hustle hard,” he said. “You gotta go through some stuff. Can you blow up, fall the fuck off and blow back up again? Can you do that? That’s longevity.”
Like always, if you liked what you heard, be sure to stay tuned every week for new episodes of “Big Facts.” Also, don’t forget to watch the latest show above.