Just when you thought you'd seen and heard it all — from Snoop Dogg giving up smoking and Fat Joe vying to become the king of radio to Jay-Z having beef with longtime friend Jaz-O and Ice-T playing a cop on TV — Too Short, the man who's made a career out of yelling the b-word, has been thinking about making a "one hundred percent positive album."
"I'm not going to shy away from pimps and hos. I'm not gonna shy away from sex, but I'm not going to speak on it in any other way than a positive way," Too Short said last week about the album he hopes will be the follow-up to his October 29 release, What's My Favorite Word?
"Positively speaking on the pimp game ... a guy was talking to me the other night. He said, 'I'm a pimp and I just need some of that game.' I'm telling him, 'I'm a rapper. Regardless of what you hear me rapping about, I've never prostituted a woman. I've never had a woman go sell her body and bring me the money.'
"I'm saying to the dude, 'Do you really know what pimping is?' " he continued, clarifying the concept of the LP he wants to drop in 2003. "That's when you go deep into your own soul. ... It affects you because you're talking people into doing things, and they come back and you see what it does to them. You send a girl to go out, and say your girl gets robbed or murdered. You sent her to go get killed. A real pimp has to not have feelings almost. ... [Telling those types of stories], that's a positive way to give you the light on pimpin'."
What's My Favorite Word?, Too Short's 14th album, sticks more to the scope of what we've been used to hearing the MC spit since he started independently pushing records in 1985. He does admit to being too caught up in writing rhymes about sex the last couple of years, however, and says he toned down and balanced out his new material (see "Too Short Gets Serious (About Pimpin') On New Album").
"This is an album where I took time to reflect on what I had done throughout my career," said the Atlanta-by-Oakland resident. "I actually sat down and listened to all 13 of my albums, just trying to rediscover, what is Too Short? What have I been about? Where did I come from? Where am I going? The reason why I did this was, the last two albums I released — Chase the Cat last year and You Nasty the year before that — those last two albums had a lot of explicit content.
"Some people might not want to remember this or might not know this, but all the albums I put out [before those two] were equally as clean as they were dirty," he added. "In '88, '89, '90, '91. ... When I was making these albums, it would be four or five songs that didn't have any curse words, that were about social issues in the community. I've always had opinions on what was going on in my community. I always knew a lot of people listened to me, so why don't I speak on police brutality and things like that?"
Although the self-professed, real-life player says he doesn't have any qualms about people mostly remembering him for his libido-laced lyrics when he does decide to retire for good, he wishes some of the ladies he dates would see him as Todd Shaw, the guy who likes to bowl and play pool, rather than his unabashed stage persona.
"I really do have one than more girlfriend, more than one love interest," the 36-year-old explained. "At the present time I'm not in love, but I'm more than open for a special lady to wipe the rest of them all out. I don't do a lot of messing around with dozens of women, but I do leave it open when I meet a girl: 'I have a friend in Chicago and a friend in Atlanta, but I am open for making new friends.' It helps that I'm being honest, but I have a hard time getting myself into a relationship because of Too Short.
"I have to break that stereotype. It takes months to show a woman that I'm not Shorty the Pimp — that's the job," he lamented. "I can present you a nice guy and she'll [say], 'I like you,' and I can continue to present that to you. But people keep walking up [to me while I'm on dates] like, 'That's Shorty the Pimp. I want to be like you, you got hos.' Then I have to turn back to her and be like, 'That's just what the fans say.' She's like, 'I ... I don't know about that.' "
Even if Short does find a special lady to turn deaf ears to his fans, he'll also have to get her to turn a blind eye when she looks at the credits of his next film project. He just produced "Get in Where You Fit In," the first in a series of porno movies named after his songs. He hopes to have it in stores later this year, with a second volume following in early 2003.
All of Too Short's flicks will contain original songs and instrumentals. "You could be watching your DVD and freestyling," he boasted.