Too $hort picks his top five Too $hort tracks
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Too $hort picks his top five Too $hort tracks

Too $hort is an Oakland legend and has always represented the Bay Area in the mainstream. The emcee (real name Todd Shaw) found a buzz in the 1980s with his underground cassettes, and by the end of the decade, he had managed to get signed by Oakland independent label 75 Girls Records And Tapes.

On this label, in 1983, he released his debut album, Don’t Stop Rappin’, and from there, continued to grow. In 1985, Too $hort and his counterpart Freddie B formed a label to create and distribute their music independently, and they had continued success. 

However, slowly but surely, their music began to travel nationwide. Too $hort eventually signed with Priority and released a string of albums. From Born To Mack to Short Dog’s In The House and Cocktails, Shaw has put out an unfathomable amount of music and has had great success.

Shaw has put out a vast array of singles with MCs from California to New York. However, after 16 solo albums, the artist reflected on all of his material and, in an interview with, Shaw picked out some of his own favourite tracks.

Too $hort’s top five Too $hort tracks

5. ‘Blow The Whistle’ – Blow The Whistle (2006)

Shaw’s first pick was ‘Blow The Whistle,’ a single from his 2006 project of the same name. Explaining why he selected the song as one of his favourites, the Oakland native explained, “My personal ones would be ‘Blow The Whistle.’ Not necessarily because of the beats or the rhymes, but just because the song was magical; it won’t go away.”

He continued, “It may not have gone platinum, but it made me more money than any other song I made in my life! The amount of requests I get from people who want me to sing them that song is incredible. I never had a song like that, and it just amazes me that I made that song at the age of 40.”

4. ‘Call Her A Bitch’ – Blow The Whistle (2006)

Shaw also selected another song from Blow The Whistle, which he believes is an extremely significant song entitled, ‘Call Her A Bitch’. Explaining why it means so much to him, Shaw disclosed, “I was always proud of that song. I never said ‘bitch’ so many times in one song, I don’t know anybody that could memorize that song, including myself.”

He continued, “Nobody could recite it word-for-word because it has too many lines in it. I wish I could sing it in concert, but I can’t memorize it. I’ve tried many times. It was just something I was fucking around with in the studio, and it just kept going. I counted, and there’s like 200 and something bitches in there, definitely a lot of bitches in there.”

3. ‘Freaky Tales’ – Born To Mack (1987)

Too $hort also went back to his origins and selected some tracks from his 1987 LP Born To Mack. The first track the lyricist chose was ‘Freaky Tales’. Although over nine minutes long, the Dangerous Crew co-founder spoke about the song’s minimalism, explaining, “[It is] the most simplistic song, it’s a classic, and it’s like five tracks of music, including the drums. It couldn’t be more than seven fucking tracks with the vocals included.”

Speaking on the single’s creative process, Shaw divulged, “It was recorded in a very nice studio, but it’s just not quality, you know what I mean? If we would have recorded ‘Freaky Tales’ now, with the same notes, with the same amount of instruments, and same everything it would just sound a lot better. It probably wouldn’t be a classic.”

2. ‘Dope Fiend Beat’ – Born To Mack (1987)

Shaw also selected ‘Dope Fiend Beat’ claiming that the track which appears after ‘Freaky Tales’ on Born To Mack is almost a follow-up to its predecessor, stating, “I always considered them one song because they come on the [Born To Mack] album back-to-back and they were always very near and dear to me, and to my live performance; as well as to the evolution of Too $hort and what Too Short was to become.”

He continued, “‘Freaky Tales’ and ‘Dope Fiend Beat’ were the foundation of me going platinum and going nationwide and not being a local artist anymore. So those two I would put on the list together.”

1. ‘Gettin’ It’ – Born To Mack (1987)

Shaw’s proudest release is from his tenth project, Gettin’ It. The track features the iconic P-Funk pioneer George Clinton’, and this meant a lot to Shaw, who explained,”‘Gettin’ It’ is another song that means a lot to me because I got to work with George Clinton, who’s always been my musical hero. He brought the bulk of the [Funkadelic] band with him, and everybody did something on the song, they were talking and singing, playing instruments, and it was a memorable session!”

He concluded, “We also did a remake of a Parliament song ‘I’ve Been Watching You.’ If you notice on the Gettin’ It album, I’m not even on that song. I left the studio, and they did it without me. I liked it so much that I put it on my album without me on the song. I don’t know another artist that would do that, but I did.”