It was a rough Valentine’s Day this year for Hip Hop’s perennial player, Too Short.
The veteran game spitter wasn’t frustrated by a lack of companionship for the day dedicated to romance (“I’m about to go find me some love and take her on a dinner date,” he playfully noted to HipHopDX a few hours before his Valentine’s evening activities), but rather a lack of understanding from an onslaught of bloggers, tweeters, and even some self-proclaimed Too Short fans who took time out of their Valentine’s Day to voice their outrage over a recent video message Short filmed for XXLmag.com (which has since been removed from the site).
In the clip – part of a “Fatherly Advice From Too Short” series filmed for the online extension of XXL magazine – the man who 25 years ago on his first major-label album, Born to Mack, warned “Little Girls” about the dangers of growing up too fast was seen and heard sharing some of his wisdom for their male counterparts: “When you get to late middle school, early high school and you start feeling a certain way about the girls … I'm gonna tell you a couple tricks. This is what you do, man. A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls. We're going way past that. I'm taking you to the hole. There’s a general area down there, a little spot that girls have that feels really good to them. Don’t kiss them down there yet, that’s later in life. But this is what you do. You push her up against the wall or pull her up against you while you lean on the wall and you take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens. It’s like magic. You gotta find her spot, they all have a different one, but it’s somewhere in there. Just go for it. When you feel like it becomes a little more moist that’s when you know you’re doing it right."
During the midst of the media firestorm he now finds himself engulfed in due to the above statements, Short Dog spoke to DX to help clear the air about just what his real intentions were with his videotaped advice for teen boys. The 45-year-old additionally addressed his now three-decade long battle with media who still can’t seem to separate Todd Shaw from Too Short. The author of some of the most memorable “Freaky Tales” in Hip Hop history closed out his conversation by speaking about his upcoming 19th studio effort, No Trespassing (due February 28th), and the album’s ear-catching diss track aimed, not at recent on wax adversary, and fellow Oakland rapper, Messy Marv, but at CNN’s controversial crime reporter Nancy Grace.
Too Short Reacts To Fatherly Advice Video For XXL
HipHopDX: I was just looking at your series of tweets [@TooShort].
Too Short: Yeah, it’s … interesting.
DX: I love the “I think we should ban all negative comedians, books, movies & songs. Let’s get that 1945-1965 American swag back.” [Laughs]
Too Short: It would be a good thing. It’d take us back in a lot of other ways, but it’d be a good thing … morally, that is.
DX: I know you don’t really wanna discuss it too much, but can you just speak on this whole confusion there seems to be with folks not understanding that Too Short is a made-up character. You woulda thought after 30 years they woulda figured that out.
Too Short: Yeah. Well, man, over the years I really, really, really tried to – whenever I would do an interview or I’m on the radio or just in general conversation when somebody’s trying to lure me into [that persona like], “Be Too Short” or “Talk the Too Short stuff,” I would always tell them that when I’m making music I’m in this character and it’s [just] for the music. I would never do my interviews and be like, “Yeah, I’m a pimp!” I would never get all like ignorant in an interview, and I pretty much drew the line and kept it that way for years and years.
Just on this last run out to New York doing some media – We had actually done the whole XXL visit, the interview was done and I didn’t exactly know what it was for but it was just asked like … It all stemmed from something about 2 Chainz has a song on I think, a Rick Ross mixtape and – I don’t know if I’m saying this right because I haven’t really heard the song myself, I just keep hearing about it, but the song I think it’s called “Fuck ‘Em,” and in the song 2 Chainz has a line, he says his dad wasn’t around, his father figure was Too Short. So people started tweeting that to me, and I guess it had been on Twitter a lot and one of the guys in the interview, they’re like, “Man, can we get you on camera [saying] what would Too Short’s advice be to the [kids]?” Like, if I had a son or something, what would Too Short [say to him], some like bad advice. … So it was supposed to be a joke. It was supposed to be in that nature, but I’m assuming that – I never even really saw what all they put out, like what exactly was the footage that pissed everybody off. ‘Cause I just keep reading the one quote about Too Short wants to molest little girls or some shit. But, I guess it woulda been better if they woulda set it up right. I didn’t know what it was for; I figured it was in that context of comedy, but it seems like it went out as a matter-of-fact statement.
I don’t know what had happened, but the shit gets out of control and I’m like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” And I talked to some very responsible females, some very important females, and they’re like, “We know you, we love you, we know the deal, but these are very negative words, it’s just very damaging, it does not look good, it’s not cool, period.” I agree, totally. When I look at it and I read it I’m like, “Damn, this is really not cool.” So, I’m trying to keep it on the up-and-up. It ain’t about some politician stepping up to the podium with some political apology, it’s just like, Damn, it’s a fuckin’ bad joke gone terrible.
And all I can do is say the truth, [which] is like, whoa, I’m about to really check myself dealing with the media and dealing with statements I’m releasing now. ‘Cause its like, 20 years ago we wouldn’t have had a social media frenzy over any little statement of the day from entertainers. Where right now that’s what it is, that’s what it’s gonna be. And it’s a new level of responsibility that needs to be taken by people like me and people in my position: that you can’t really just blurt out things without thinking about the context it may be taken in. This has happened a few times [and] I feel like this is going to continue to happen from now on. This is what it is now: if you make a statement that has a potential way to be twisted or – just like the politicians when they run the smear campaigns. It’s the same thing.
DX: There’s a petition going around now to have XXL’s Editor-in-Chief [Vanessa Satten] fired for letting that video be posted. And whether it was right or wrong to do that, grown folks are in denial if they think young teens aren’t doing that. I mean, even if you were being serious, that stuff was going down in my middle school back in the day, so I know its still gotta be going on now.
Too Short: Yeah man, but I don’t even wanna get in defense of the whole thing. I’ve been to graduations with my girlfriend’s little sister – sixth, seventh, eighth grade – and it’s like several students with babies. And I’m like, “How the hell is this happening?” But, you know, I’m not going to get into the whole part of how much of that is going on. When did we all lose our virginities? What were you doing in high school? So, yeah, I’m not getting into all that.
[Going back to the tweet] where I was being funny about the American 1945 swag. Once upon a time we weren’t any sexually different, our sexuality wasn’t different, it was just kind of not out in the open. All of the same stuff was going on. I read books, and it’s no doubt about it, we had teenage pregnancies in the 1940’s, 1950’s. And I mean, c’mon now, we know all kind of stories. I know stories about little girls who had babies and the mother pretends that she had the baby so the little girl can go on and live her life without being scandalized. And I just feel like now, we went through civil rights, we went through the ‘70s, we empowered sex and drugs, we got through the ‘80s decadence, and now we’re here and it’s open-minded, everything’s out front in the open and we still judging each other.
It’s like the gay marriage thing. I feel like you can talk religion all you want about gay marriage, but at the same time most of the gay people that are going to get married, they want them benefits of the marriage: the financial benefits, the tax benefits. I figure that’s why a lot of gay people want that. Like, “I’m gonna be with this partner forever, can I get a tax break?” But at the same time, there’s a bunch of married people – man and wife – who ain’t honoring the union. They’re not even living up to it. They’re getting divorced after two years, five years, and they’re cheating on each other and all this stuff.
You can look at all this stuff, and I just feel like if we’re gonna air it out, air it all the way out. ‘Cause the only reason why I addressed this whole thing is [because] I woke up and was reading like, “Fuck you Too Short. You fucking rapist.” I’m like, “What the hell?” … It’s like a wake-up call for me, man. Whoever set it off, I’d really like to thank that person ‘cause I got a lot of interviews to do coming up and I really don’t wanna be like telling stupid jokes … like some pimp joke or some sex joke.
Too Short Considers Leaving Rap With A Positive Album In Future
DX: I think I can give you some insight into why this happened. I think the reason that people have this perception is because you stopped making songs like “I Want To Be Free.” ‘Cause now you have a whole generation of folks in Hip Hop who are too young to remember your more balanced content and think you’re just a dirty old man.
Too Short: Yeah, this is true. A lot of positive feedback came from people who really do know. But, it still kind of concerns me that all of these years, the people that didn’t know, they never really got it. I’ve read so many things about myself, about the explicit lyrics and whatever. … The lyrics [were interpreted as] misogynistic or degrading to women, but if you listen, if you was there, it was all funny, man. It was entertainment. You would listen to a Too Short song and parts of the song would make you laugh out loud the first time you heard it. And that was the intention of it. It was not intended to ever be like, “Hey guys, I want a million people to listen to me and let’s fucking just shit on the females.” It was never about that.
There’s this one song on this new album, [No Trespassing], it’s called “Trying To Come Up,” and it came out of me, the Too Short you talking about came out of me. You can go back and you can find some statements I was making in the press three, four years ago [where] I was saying I really don’t wanna put out this negative, dirty music, I’ma try to like clean it up. And, attempts at doing that have not worked yet. … It’s just a thought, but I’m thinking album number 20, I might just walk away from this thing and leave it on a positive note and just say, “You deal with it. You fucking tell me what the fuck Too Short is.”
DX: Well, I mean, personally I’m really diggin’ the “Hey” joint – it’s your best single since “Blow The Whistle” – so … this would be bad timing if you walk away now. [Laughs]
Too Short: On this album I had an option to make music that was geared for the under 25 crowd, but I don’t think I did that. In my mind, I was being very conscious of the Too Short fan, not the “Blow The Whistle” fan. … The subjects are not just “bitch, I’m a pimp,” or “shake your ass,” I really tried to stay away from that. I tried to talk about different grown-up relationship situations without being too raunchy. And I don’t know if you heard it, but when you do hear it you’ll see what I’m saying.
And then … so far I’ve shot 12 videos. One of those was shot by Ben Griffin, who does a lot of E-40’s videos. He did “Money On The Floor.” It was kind of like a misogynistic song, so I kind of wanted a guy to shoot the video. It was the [buzz] single that comes out before the album, and I wanted to reel you in a little bit with the asses wiggling [so you’d] be like, “Oh, this that old-ass Short … So fucking typical.” And then, I shot 10 of the 12 videos with a lady named Joslyn Lyons. I met her and she showed me some Talib Kweli videos and some stuff she had did, and I just liked the texture of what she had done. And I said, “If I shoot videos with you these are my rules right here: I don’t care what the song is saying, I don’t wanna see any cars in the video, I don’t wanna stand by a car, I don’t wanna be in the car driving, I don’t wanna pose in a car, I don’t wanna be in the backyard by a pool with my jeans and t-shirt on and girls in bikinis jumping in and out the water and I’m pretending like this big house with the pool is mine, I don’t wanna pull up in the driveway and open the mansion doors and walk around the mansion that we just rented for the day, I don’t wanna go to a club and we at the club at the bar at the table with the bottles setup and the chicks sitting around and everybody’s hugging everybody.” I said, “None of this shit can be in the video, and no violence.” So, we sat there and we talking, and basically I just told her everything that Hip Hop videos are don’t do the shit.
Too Short Explains Making Song Dissing CNN's Nancy Grace
DX: So, what did you guys do visually for the Nancy Grace diss song on No Trespassing? [Laughs]
Too Short: Well, that was a preview [clip for “Shut Up Nancy” that someone posted online]. Somebody did me the favor of trying to portray what I was talking about, but they kind of missed the point. The song is not about Nancy Grace. I watch CNN, and just like everybody else knows what Nancy Grace does. And I just feel like, when did CNN stop being the global news [source] and go to just showing kidnapped little kids and violence against Caucasian women? You turn on CNN Headline News, there ain’t no news. It’s just, “Who are we looking for right now?” So and so’s wanted and so and so’s up for trial. It turned into fuckin’ Entertainment Weekly or some shit.
I would watch this stuff, particularly with like Casey Anthony, and you’d hear the different sides of what the case was, and we all know the outcome of the case now: that the defense actually won. And I was just looking at the anger in Nancy Grace’s face and how she would be yelling at the screen. So, I’d be hangin’ with my chicks and if they ever got too loud or we got an argument coming on or just talking shit, I would be like, “Shut up Nancy.” They’d be like, “Who the fuck is Nancy?” I was like, “Any female yelling at me and yelling out some crazy opinions, your name is Nancy.” They’re all Nancy. I got a homegirl named Nancy and I was like, “When you hear the song ‘Nancy,’ it ain’t about you.” [Laughs] I just feel like that’s every irritating, loud-mouthed girlfriend that’s just - you trying to watch the game and she’s just like, “They oughta put Casey Anthony in the gas chamber.” And I’m like, “I’m watching the playoffs, Nancy, shut up.”
DX: Now after I print this, you already got your apology letter for Nancy Grace ready, right? [Laughs]
Too Short: I definitely don’t wanna be in a fight with Nancy Grace. She look like she might can throw them thangs. [Laughs]