On this episode of People’s Party, Talib Kweli and Jasmin Leigh sit down with Bay Area rap legend Too $hort. The trio touch on a range of topics, including the evolution of the Bay Area hip-hop sound, Short Dog’s multiple retirements, the huge success he found working with artists outside his genre like Lil’ Jon and Biggie, his trademark persona as a pimp rapper, and why that seems to translate to such a wide audience.
Later, $hort gives his feelings on the #MeToo movement. He also discusses his versatility as an artist in balancing subject matter. He gives insight into his close friendship with Pimp C and what it was like being in the studio with Biggie. He tells about the early days making customized raps for the kingpins in his neighborhood, how dope money funded the early days of west coast rap, and Oakland’s identity of being the epicenter of the pimp game. Finally, Too $hort shares his experiences navigating 2Pac’s multiple personas and speaks on the future of Oakland’s state of gentrification.
1:34 — $hort speaks on hearing hip-hop for the first time in ’79 through ‘Rapper’s Delight,’
and how he knew it was his destiny. He also touches on the foundation of bay area hip-hop finding their sound through sampling groups like Parliament/Funkadelic and how this later evolved into the Hyphy Movement.
8:20 — $hort explains how his multiple retirements were really just the beginnings of new phases in his career and expanding his horizons toward working with acts like Biggie, Jay-Z, and Lil’ Jon.
11:26 — $hort reminisces on his early days — parkin’ lot pimpin’ outside the clubs in Oakland.
13:23 — Talib brings up $hort’s hit song “Blow The Whistle” produced by Lil’ Jon, and asks him if he knew it was going to be such a monumental classic before it was released.
17:13 — Talib asks $hort what is so powerful about his trademark word “Bitch”. $hort talks about his niche in the rap game as that alter-ego pimp with an approach that people recognize as entertainment, not taking too seriously, just having fun with it.
21:05 — $hort speaks about hard lessons learned on how to navigate social media after a magazine article in XXL was completely misunderstood by the public.
24:27 — $hort talks about the #MeToo movement and the satisfaction he feels in seeing the rise of female rappers who emphasize strong sexual empowerment.
26:46 — Jasmin asks $hort if raising a daughter has changed his perspective and approach going forward in life.
28:02 — Talib tells $hort he taught him a lot with his ability to balance subject matter. While mostly being known for songs like “Freaky Tales” but still being able to turn around and make a hit conscious record like, “The Ghetto”.
30:19 — $hort opens up about working with Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy. He details what led to his infamous, off the top of the head monologue at the end of the song “The World Is Filled…” from Biggie’s album “Life After Death”.
34:50 — $hort talks about his two primary influences. Spoonie Gee being one side of that coin as the ladies man, and Melle Mel on the flip-side as the conscious street rapper.
37:28 — $hort gives insight on his close friendship with rapper Pimp C, and tells us what it was like going on tour with UGK. They also talk Scarface and Willie D running for city council.
40:55 — The trio discuss how Trump has changed the world of politics and $hort gives his take on one good thing that has come out of his presidency.
43:43 — $hort explains how dope money financed the early days of west coast rap, detailing his own experiences getting his career going, and explains how other west coast hip-hop artists like Dr. Dre and E-40 did the same.
49:26 — $hort talks about Oakland’s close knit community, and the trio discuss things of common it has with other cities that are similar in size and demographics.
53:52 — Jasmin asks $hort if he feels like hip-hop is the american dream personified.
57:31 — $hort speaks on making customized raps and putting them on tape for the local kingpins.
1:01:19 — $hort tells his story of how he and Tupac Shakur became friends, and speaks on his first-hand experiences of Pac’s multiple personas.
1:06:59 — Talib asks $hort to talk about Oakland being the epicenter of the pimp game asks what it is about the bay that attracted that element.
1:13:42 — $hort talks about the future of Oakland with regards to gentrification.