By Jack Barnes
This week’s guest on Questlove Supreme is Oakland rapper/actor/producer Too Short. Check out the latest episode of Questlove Supreme with Too Short only on Pandora here. See below for quotes from Questlove’s interview with Too Short.
– “I moved to Oakland in 1980. The year I moved to Oakland is the moment I started rapping, that same summer. I started rapping and it was a novelty thing. Got to high school that year, my brother and his friends nicknamed me Short. And they gave me the nickname Short because I was the shortest person in the whole fucking school. It was a dude named Shorty that was taller than me…I was 5’2” on my 19thbirthday. So in 1979, right before I moved to Oakland “Rapper’s Delight” came across the airwaves. Now before “Rapper’s Delight,” you would hear rap but not have a name for it….when “Rapper’s Delight” came, me being a elementary school drummer, high school marching band type kid, I instantly heard the cadences…I immediately recognized the patterns as something I could do, and I just tried it.”
On shows during the early days of rap:
– “In the early days, I remember a show I got to open up was for when “Check Out My Melody” was the hottest shit. Public Enemy had one song and Russell sent them all out young…I remember it being Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim…So I probably got to go out and do like two songs. But I remember back then, motherfucking rappers didn’t talk to each other a lot. If you’re on a show with another rapped, it wasn’t like “What’s up, homie?” You see these motherfuckers, you just look, you look, and look away and don’t say shit…”
On keeping his raps clean in the early days and what happened when he didn’t keep it clean:
– “I was told in the early days in ’85, ’86 when I got in the studio, they were like, “You can’t do the stuff you do on the streets. You can’t curse in the records because you can’t market them, to sell them, and get them in record stores.” The only people that can curse on records are comedians…I made two albums with no cursing…And then it came time for us to do our own thing and I always had this song called “Freaky Tales”…Just give me the fucking studio and record this and watch what happens. I knew it…we’re going to press up 2,000 cassettes. Jive got wind of us. We were probably up to about a few hundred thousand…”
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