Too $hort

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About Too $hort

Hip-hop’s cheerfully libidinous id, Too $hort makes music for a world where the top is always down, the cup is always full, and the party can always get freakier. Born Todd Shaw in South-Central Los Angeles in 1966, he started selling tapes out of the trunk of his car in the mid-’80s, not long after moving to Oakland. But with 1987’s Born to Mack, he caught the ear of the Jive label, which licensed the album for widespread release. One song, in particular, would cement his name as rap’s premier hedonist wordsmith: “Freaky Tales,” a 10-minute litany of hookups, adventurous sexual positions, and gleefully extreme hyperbole. That tour de force of risqué wordplay would become both a calling card and a blueprint for his brand of stripped-down rhymes, punchy drum machines, and analog squelch. A bootstrapping workaholic, he kept the albums coming through 1996’s triumphant Gettin’ It (Album Number Ten), before taking a three-year retirement. He bounced back with 1999’s Can’t Stay Away and has remained a reliable purveyor of smutty rhymes and sly wit ever since. His beats have evolved with the times, but his attitude has stayed true to one central tenet. “There’s one rule that I always tell people if they really want my advice,” he told Apple Music. “Do not forget to have fun while you’re on top. Don’t forget to enjoy it!”

Los Angeles, CA, United States
April 28, 1966

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