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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.
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 and X-Rated, and Players) for the 75 Girls before breaking ties with them and forming his own label.
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."
With his latest LP Blow The Whistle, Too $hort's sixteenth album (counting the five albums 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."
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. 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). The album went gold with little or no radio or video exposure. This was followed by a stream of gold and platinum albums. His string of gold albums include Cocktales, Can't stay Away, You Nasty, Chase the Cat and What's my Favorite Word.
Indeed it is. One can listen to songs like the Lil Jon's produced track "Blow the Whistle" with deep bass and pounding 808 will instantly turns up fond memories of listening to classic Too $hort from back in the day. In addition to serving as the album lead single it also has the distinction of being the title song. "I was gonna name the album Up All Night but then again "The Blow the Whistle" single took off and I went to the West Coast and to take some picture with some young kids pictures and I looked back at them and I said that's the album that I want right there. So that's why I renamed the album Blow The Whistle."
And what classic Too $hort album would be complete without more than a few mentions his favorite word, biiiiiiiiioooootch! On "Call Her a Bitch," the album's trunk-rattling tour de force takes his patented trademark catchphrase to the ultimate extreme. "I said bitch on this song more than any other time I've said bitch on any song ever,' says Too $hort with a sly grin. "I think I said bitch over a hundred times. It sounds like something I could've did years ago on any one of my 16 albums. This album is classic Too $hort but its right the fuck now."
Blow the whistle, game over.