Too $hort Finally Brings Pimping to NYC
Adam Gong, Too $hort, and Kelly McClure.
Whenever I interview a celebrity or big time musician, the main thing I’m concerned about is that they intensely like me and that I earn their approval either verbally or non-verbally, so it was no skin off my ass to be made to wait for Too $hort in the lobby of the Dream hotel in Manhattan for damn near an hour. Me and Adam, the English photographer whose accent was so thick I basically just stared at him when he spoke making that polite “I basically have no idea what you’re saying” nod, sat on a big gold couch against a window, facing the door, afraid to get up even to use the potty, knowing that Too $hort could waltz in at any moment, and when he did, smelling of you know what (pot), I was starstruck in this weird way that let me become quickly comfy enough to tell him that I masturbated to his music when I was little.
Too $hort is an Oakland-based rapper who, aside from becoming hugely successful and infamous for well crafted, pervy raps, had never played a full show in New York until last week’s shows in Brooklyn at Knitting Factory. I know that my editors sent me to interview $hort because they thought it would be funny, and it totally was. Oh, and he stared directly at my lips the whole time he was talking to me, but I didn’t catch him looking at my big booty once, which I was bummed about.
Photo by Adam Gong
VICE: So these are your first shows ever in New York? How can that be?
Too $hort: This is my first time ever performing a Too $hort show in New York. New Yorkers never really liked Too $hort. At last night’s show I noticed that a lot of people knew the music, so I asked, “How many people here are from New York?” And like five people raised their hands. They were all from somewhere else, living in New York.
How do you think the New York music scene differs from the LA music scene now, compared to how they differed ten years ago?
Well, the younger generation of New Yorkers seem to like music from all over the place, where before it was like people who listened to hip hop only liked artists who came from the five boroughs.
We were talking before you got here about how your earlier stuff was more lyrical/rhyme based (which Adam preferred) and now it’s more beat based (which I like), do you find that change has happened as a way to “change with the times” or whatever?
I just do what I do. I just sit in the studio and if I like the way it sounds, then it’s OK to me. I can go in there and make a pop song, or a slow song, or some really beautiful sounding R&B song, however, it doesn’t matter. I’m out of the box now. I don't have to satisfy the label anymore.
"Money on the Floor" by Too $hort featuring E-40
Your new video for “Money on the Floor” is really hot and has a lot of ladies' butts and stuff. Do you have a lot of say in your videos, like in terms of picking the girls?
I’ve done a lot of casting. I didn’t cast that video, but I’ve done a lot of casting. That video has a lot of booty shakin’ in it, and I’ve already shot 12 videos for the new album, and that’s the only one that’s gonna have booty shakin’ in it.
People expect me to go a certain direction with videos, but the rules I gave the director of all the other videos are: no cars, no driving cars, no standing by cars, no sitting at a table with bottles of champagne, no opening mansion doors, no swimming pools with girls in bikinis, no violence, and no booty shakin.’
So do you mainly get asked about your pervy raps? Like, is pervy stuff the go-to in interviews for the most part? You must get sick of it.
Well, this new album is very explicit, but not the imagery in the videos so much. I mean, I’m trying to be creative, and one thing that rap isn’t right now is creative. I love it, I’m not trying to knock any of the new artists, but originality isn’t on top of the list.
Well you’ll hear comedians say all the time that “working blue” and just cussing and talking about sex for a cheap laugh is cheating. It’s too easy. But then also, sex is such a common bond that I’m sure it’s hard to steer too far from.
One of the reasons I’ve had such a long career is because I’ve treated people right all the way up, but really, I’ve stayed true to the sex. Sex sells. My image is a pimp, and what does a pimp sell?
Photo by Adam Gong
So between New York ladies and California ladies, which do you prefer?
Life has changed out here. Booties are shakin out here now, they’ve loosened up a bit. But I’ll tell you one thing, in Manhattan, when it’s like 80 degrees or 90 degrees outside, I could sit on any street and just watch the ladies walk by. I have four favorite places for womanizing: LA, Miami, New York, and Vegas. All pussy supermarkets.
Would you consider yourself to be a feminist?
I think the whole world is one big misogynist. Even a lot of women are. I don’t see a problem with looking at women as beautiful objects. I’m an artist. I don’t know how to paint, but I know how to make music, and women are art. My favorite thing about women hasn’t necessarily been to have sex with them, I love to just look back at the bed, and pull the covers back, and just look at naked women.
When I was in grade school I checked out Life Is … Too $hort on tape from the library, and listening to it led to my first masturbation experience. I just wanted to let you know that in person.
[claps] You are in a very large group of people who tell me that. This one girl told me once that she loves Too $hort because the first guy who ever fucked her good always played Too $hort.
Too $hort’s new album is called No TrespASSing and it comes out February 28th with guest appearances from E-40, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. Check out the tracklist below:
1. What the Fuck
2. Got Her Like
3. Playa Fo Life featuring Dom Kennedy & Beeda Weeda
4. Trying to Come Up featuring C.O.
5. Crush Cologne featuring Rico Tha Kidd & DJ Upgrade
6. The Magazine featuring Chase Hattan
7. I Got Caught featuring Martin Luther
8. I’m a Stop featuring 50 Cent
9. Hog Ridin’ featuring Richie Rich
10. Porno Bitch
11. Shut Up Nancy featuring Kokane
12. Boss featuring Silk-E
13. Hey featuring Silk-E
14. Money on the Floor featuring E-40
15. Double Header featuring Wallpaper
16. Respect the Pimpin’ featuring Snoop Dogg
17. Ba Boom Cha
Epicly Later'd: Ed Templeton - Part 3
Meeting Earth's Strongest Men at the Top of the World
Welcome to the Bananapocalypse
The Return of Radioactive Man
The VICE Guide to Travel: Miss Camel Beauty Contest
Yakiri Rubio Killed Her Rapist in Self-Defense—Now She May Go to Prison
The VICE Podcast - Akhil Sharma and His New Novel, 'Family Life'
Fire Walk with Me
The Creator of the Greatest Criminal Defense Attorney YouTube Ad Is Also a Battle Rapper
VICE News: Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine - Part 5