The Icon

Actor, music producer and West Coast rap pioneer Too Short celebrates 30 years in the game as one of the most successful artists in any genre during that time span – a feat only a handful of industry vets have successfully achieved. With six Platinum Albums and four Gold Albums under his belt, Too Short is one of the most sought after and respected Hip-Hop artists, having worked with a star-studded list of fellow artists including Jay Z, Biggie, 2Pac, Ice T, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Diddy, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Lil Jon, T.I., Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Fat Joe, 50 Cent, Redman, Wiz Khalifa Kid Cudi, Lady Gaga and many more. Too Short has bravely navigated the crazy music industry, with success on both major and indie labels, while humbly staying true to his unique sound and never succumbing to criticism or pressure to change his music.

Early Life

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Todd “Too Short” Shaw and his family moved to East Oakland, California in 1980. As a budding music producer, Too Short released his first single titled “Don’t Stop Rappin” 30 years ago in 1985 featuring raw, simple drum beats. After selling cassette tapes trunk to hand in the streets of Oakland with his then rap partner “Freddy B”, he would go on to form “Dangerous Music” where he regionally distributed both his own music as well as that of various notable Bay Area rappers. In 1987 the rising star released his first studio album titled “Born to Mack” and followed up with his sophomore project “Life Is…Too Short” a year later, creating quite the buzz in the Bay Area and beyond.

The developing artist would go on to release six more albums while working with Hip-Hop’s heavyweights at the time including Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. and Scarface. One of his notable collaborations during the time was on the track “The World Is Filled…” on the classic Biggie album “Life After Death.” The feature introduced Too Short to a much broader audience as his distinct tone stood out on the record. He also appeared on TWDY’s hit single “Player’s Holiday” in 1999 and on the Priority Records compilation “Nuthin But A Gangsta Party.”


After achieving success on the West Coast, Too Short relocated to Atlanta in 1994 where he would spend the next 15 years – a move that would become a defining moment in the rapper’s career. On the horizon of the new crunk music movement, Too Short started working with producer Lil Jon who in turn helped him make dance music that started bumping in the clubs, ultimately transforming Too Short’s career. In 1999, he released his eighth album “Can’t Stay Away,” featuring star-studded appearances by 8Ball & MJG, Jay Z, Jermaine Dupri, Diddy, Daz Dillinger, Lil Jon, Soopafly, Scarface and B-Legit, solidifying his influence in the new Dirty South music movement.

The Originator

The multi-faceted musician would go on to release several more albums including “You Nasty” (2000), “Chase the Cat” (2001), “What’s My Favorite Word?” (2002), and “Married to the Game” (2003), all of which reached the top of the Billboard 200 charts. In 2004, Too Short struck gold when his earlier 1990 hit single “The Ghetto” was featured on the record-breaking video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, garnering major success as both an artist and businessman in the entertainment world.

In 2006, Too Short went back to his Bay Area roots and tapped into the “hyphy” movement to release his biggest commercial hit single “Blow The Whistle” – just eight years ago when he turned 40 years old. The song peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 charts and arguably became a classic West Coast anthem for years to come. In 2008, Too Short was honored at the fifth annual VH1 Hip-Hop Honors along with Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Slick Rick and Naughty by Nature, rightfully cementing his place in Hip-Hop history.  The success continued to roll in for the 26-year rap veteran when he teamed up with Wiz Khalifa for the hit single “On My Level” that achieved Gold status. Too Short also appeared on Snoop Dogg’s 2011 album “Doggumentary” on the song “Take U Home” and on the 50 Cent song “First Date.” The following year, Too Short linked up with the Bay Area Ambassador E-40 for a historical double disc album titled “History: Mob Music” and “History: Function Music,” that both charted in the top 100 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Still in popular demand, Too Short was featured on Lady Gaga’s song “Jewels N’ Drugs” along with T.I. and Twista in 2013.

Too Short recently returned to L.A. where he will achieve a life long dream of opening a state of the art production and digital media facility featuring three recording studios, White Cyc/Green Screen Suites, broadcast and editing bays and more – all in the name of giving back to up and coming artists looking to perfect their craft. Too Short opened “The Magic Gate Studios” along with co-owner and industry veteran Monica Payne, in Studio City in October. “I just want to help all talent, no matter what type of music. We’ve built something that we can offer to artists in this digital age,” he says. “It’s just all about dreams coming true, mine included. Magical things will happen; careers will be started. The people we have here [at Magic Gate] are all talented and we’re putting our blood, sweat and tears into this…we know the rewards will come later.”

While giving back to the industry’s rising stars, Too Short is also prepping the release of his iconic “30th Anniversary” Album due in early 2015, but in the interim fans can get their Too Short fix with the impending release of his EP appropriately titled “19,999 Bitches “ which will be released November 2014. The well-rounded artist will also release an exclusive book of photos from his personal collection featuring handwritten versions of his records to commemorate his 30 years in the game. Always on the grind, Too Short will keep his fans happy with a new album, national tour and another duet album with E40 also coming in early 2015.

When asked how he’s been able to remain relevant in the ever-evolving music industry, Too Short says “it’s a combo of being dedicated to making really good music, top quality from start to finish, while being down to earth and treating everyone and my fans with respect.”