AIN’T MY VAULT: Too $hort Interview Pt. 2
Click here if you missed Pt. 1 of the interview
Getting back to Life Is Too Short, I wanted to talk a little about “Dont Fight The Feeling”. You really put yourself out there and let Danger Zone clown you on that record.
Well that record came about in a natural way because it starts as, lets do a song where a guy is flirting. I’m the guy, and I’m flirting with these little young girls and they’re resisting. They’re like “nah we ain’t fucking with you.” And I told the girls, I said “you can say anything you want about me, I’m not gonna come at you soft, so say anything you want.” And they went home and wrote their raps. And actually their raps that made the record were the first raps they wrote. My raps that made the record were the second I wrote. I was a lot nicer the first time around and we just saw the magic in what they had said. So I went back and just made my raps even more raunchy and it turned out to be a hot thing. And then Rappin’ 4-Tay comes on in the end. He was totally not even on the song [originally]. He was like “these bitches talking about my big homie. Man, gimme a verse!” It was just a natural thing.
We used to be on tour and Rappin’ 4-Tay wasn’t on the tour with us. My homeboys would take turns every night just “I’m Rappin’ 4-Tay tonight.” We were on that NWA tour, and if you told any girl that you were Rappin’ 4-Tay on the song “Don’t Fight The Feeling” you’d probably get some pussy. To this day I still sing that song in my show and people go crazy.
Did you ever get any flack for the scandalous stuff you were saying on that album, specifically with “Cusswords”?
Yeah, “Nancy Regan sucked my dick” and all that shit. Nope. NWA, 2 Live Crew they took all the flack, even the Geto Boys were getting blasted in the media. I’ve never once had my name mentioned in the war on dirty rap. I was under the radar. I never had a publicist. I never really got promoted by the label, I wasn’t out there. My shit was totally street. Even though I was selling a million copies, it wasn’t like “there’s NWA, there’s Too Short, there’s 2 Live Crew.” It wasn’t like that.
I don’t know what the fuck it was about me that MTV was just like “we’re not fucking with you.” MTV once told Jive, “I don’t care what the fucking song is, don’t bring a Too Short video to us, we don’t support Too Short.” That’s how it’s always been with me, and I thank them for that because I feel like had I been thoroughly exposed back then, if I had a publicist and I was on every Word Up cover and Right On and all that shit, I would’ve been kinda diluted. Overexposure gives you that old here today gone tomorrow type of thing. You see a motherfucker so much on the tv and heard him so much on the radio you’re like “I got enough of you.” But you would never see Too Short. If you look at the first album I did that Jive picked up, Born To Mack, you could look at that album cover, I was selling the car. I wasn’t even selling me. There’s a guy, I’m sitting on the car, I’m sitting on the back seat with the top down, and I put on all my homeboys jewelry. I had like seven chains on, rope chains and shit and I’m looking like this fuckin little pimp dude on this car. But if you really look at that album cover, that little dark skinned dude could be anybody. It’s not me, it’s not a close up of me, we weren’t selling me. We were selling the image of an Oakland player. And I said, at that time, at that photo shoot, when we picked out the picture that we was gonna do on the album cover I said “I don’t want to be famous, I want to be this motherfucker that’s the hardest underground rapper ever”.
When I did Life Is Too Short the video, and the album cover I was being told “you gotta put your face out there, man, you’re popular”. I’m like fuck a video man, I want to be able to go to 7-11 and shit. I don’t want to lose my freedom, you know? But it turns out that I never really needed bodyguards. I can go in the grocery store and people trip out but they really don’t… I don’t need like a private secret service and shit just to enjoy a day out of the house. I thought that shit would happen but I really rebelled against being famous. I wanted the music to be out there, I wanted to be platinum, but I didn’t want my face to be famous. Seriously.
That’s a interesting perspective, because it seems like nowadays so many people get into it for the fame.
And I always tell my little homies if you doing this shit just so you could be known or you making this music just so you can get rich… it’s like a bad joke. You should just love doing it and if you’re doing it good make it a job. But I’ve seen so many rappers in the last 20 years sit around and say “when I blow up, I’m shittin on motherfuckers,” “when I blow up motherfuckers gonna bow down to me” just with a lot of animosity in their heart while they making records. They want to be famous so that they can go back and frown on somebody. “Look at me motherfucker, in my new car.” That’s always been the wrong reason to me. My thought was when I blow up, I’m gonna get on stages and rock bigger crowds. When NWA took me on that first tour I think I was probably only making like six or seven thousand dollars a night, but they could’ve called me and said “Too Short we’ll pay for your bus and your hotel rooms and you don’t get no money” and I probably still would’ve went. It wasn’t a money thing.
Did any crazy stuff go down on that tour? Any memorable stories?
Yeah that was probably the first… [hesitates] I think I did it maybe twice.. [I was] like really… like… was a real slut whore slut. I fucked every Too Short fan I could find. I thought I was cute, I really did. I told my girlfriend when I was catching the plane to leave for the first show I said “I love you, I’ll call you later, I’m gonna miss you, see you soon”. I never called again.
I thought you’ve always said you try to separate Todd Shaw the person from the on record persona of Too Short?
Not that year, not the tour of ’89. And I went right back on tour the next year when Ice Cube quit NWA and put his own album out I toured again with Ice Cube because me and him were like the closest buddies out of their whole click. We went on tour the next year and did it again. After that I came back home, met a nice girl and fell in love again and I kinda saw the difference between the one night stands and the one good girl and I’ve always been able to separate the two. Like if I find a good girl I’m trying to make it work. But back then? Every pretty little girl… I could have been in jail for the shit I was doing, they was 16, 17. I often think about those girls. There’s some fine, beautiful wives out there. I done fucked a lot of dude’s wives.