Too $hort is a Bay Area legend, and he will forever go down in history as one of the greatest to ever do it. Hailing from Oakland and creating all his music based off real-life experiences in the city, read name Todd Shaw has built his own legacy from the ground up — even claiming he never wanted to be famous in the first place. But when you have an innate talent to rap, perform, and entertain the masses, of course you step into your calling.
Fast forward to 2022, Too $hort celebrates yet another legendary moment in his career: the formation of Mount Westmore. The supergroup hails 4 of the elites of West Coast hip-hop, joining forces with E-40, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg for the ultimate rap group. With their debut single “Big Subwoofer,” fans were left in a frenzy on what seems like just the beginning of an era to come.
Most recently, Mount Westmore unveiled their second single aptly called “Bad MF’s,” as they continue to sell out and shut down stages all across the States. This is beyond just music, this is a business venture and camaraderie that remains unmatched.
AllHipHop caught up with Too $hort, before he headed to yet another exclusive Mount Westmore video shoot. Read below as we discuss how Mount Westmore operates, their recording process, his favorite VERZUZ besides his own, his forthcoming solo album, and more!
AllHipHop: How are you Todd?
Too $hort: I’m good, getting ready to head over to a Mount Westmore video shoot in a few minutes. We’re shooting in LA. Westmore is top secret, it’s a big deal. Ice Cube is running the show, Snoop Dogg is on set, it’s going down.
AllHipHop: How fun are these shoots?
Too $hort: At this point in my career, it’s just blessings. It’s incredible that it’s going down at this level at this time for so long.
AllHipHop: How was your show in Nashville?
Too $hort: Nashville was sold out. Crowd loved it. It’s the fourth, fifth Mount Westmore show. Every last one, I’m sold out. They all sold out.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song to perform up there? Because “Big Subwoofer” slaps.
Too $hort: I like the beginning of the show. I’m not going to tell you what happens, but the beginning is almost like a grand finale. It starts so big and it never goes down. I just like the reaction that people have when they see us, when they realize that “Dang, Short did this song? Snoop did that song? 40 did that song? Cube did that song?” When they realize what they’re into, it’s amazing and it never ends. I look at the faces in the crowd like “this could go on forever,” and it could.
AllHipHop: Do you guys start the show with “Big Subwoofer”?
Too $hort: It is the intro. There’s another thing that happens before that, but it’s basically the first song we perform. You gotta come see it, I’m not going to tell people the show. They gotta come see it.
AllHipHop: When are you performing in LA?
Too $hort: You’re asking the wrong person about the schedule. All I got to say, it’s coming. You definitely know LA is gon’ get it. We jumped it off in Ontario, that was the first. It had a lot of energy, and that was probably the best place to start. It was in somewhere not necessarily Staples Center, but Ontario has a really nice arena. We jumped it off in there, we sold out. We gon’ double back around. Las Vegas, San Diego, LA, everybody’s gon’ get a taste.
AllHipHop: “Big Subwoofer” is so hard though, to come out as your guys’ first single. It’s so West Coast and I love it.
Too $hort: Well you know, without saying too much, the next single and the next one after that, they’re all amazing. There are dozens of songs that we recorded to follow. So Ice Cube is the coach, Snoop Dogg is the quarterback. You got E-40 in the kitchen cooking up everything, feel me?
AllHipHop: So what you doing? [laughs]
Too $hort: I’m the OG. I’m the big homie. They all my little homies. I’m the big homie.
AllHipHop: Y’all just dropped “Bad MF’s,” out now on Youtube!
Too $hort: I don’t want to throw too much out there, but Mount Westmore was launched as a successful business. From day one, it was already in the profit range. The music is going to come to you in a very creative way. We all are in a position where we’re in control of our destiny. So how you get it and when you get it, it’s all premeditated. It’s all a plan. It’s going to extend, it’s going to expand, and it’s going to be everywhere.
Just be confident. All of us say the same thing: people go “man, when is Mount Westmore coming out?” It’s not gon’ be what you think. It’s not gon’ be “album drops June 1st!” It’s not going to be like that. Really just wait and enjoy how it comes to you. Because coming from Snoop, 40, Short, Cube, what do you expect? You don’t expect regular, do you? We got a megasuperstar, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur.
AllHipHop: What are you?
Too $hort: I’m the OG, I keep telling you. I’m the big homie, remember that. Go find somebody and say, “I’m Too Short’s big homie.” I’m the big homie, straight up.
AllHipHop: Do you ever feel pressure as the big homie?
Too $hort: No, because I didn’t just do it first. I did it first and I did it on the level of the best. When I walk in the room, no matter who’s in the room and what level of success they have, I’m confident because I’ve been there, done that. My situation is timeless. I didn’t do things that happened, came and went, then you say “I remember when he did that.” Mine is timeless. The things that I dropped out there, they stay out there. They stay resurfacing. You can’t walk anywhere. You can’t go to a restaurant anywhere and not hear “Blow The Whistle.” You go on the elevator and “Blow The Whistle” comes on.
AllHipHop: And it never, ever gets old. How? I know it was a super simple beat.
Too $hort: It’s magic. Shout out to Lil Jon. Lil Jon made that beat. Everybody knows Lil Jon made “Shake That Monkey,” me and him did that song. But not a lot of people seem to know that me and Lil Jon also made Blow The Whistle.” Just me and him.
AllHipHop: Who came up with the bad M############ concept?
Too $hort: That song came from Jermaine Dupri to Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg dropped that verse on there, shot it to the homies. We all put our touch on it, then it went to Battlecat. He put his touch on it, and after he put the whip on it, now you hear what it is. Snoop spearheaded the “Big Sub” video, but a lot of our visuals are going to be Cube Vision. You know what Cube Vision is? That’s Cube’s company, his major movie making company. A lot of what you see coming up from the Mount Westmore visuals will be the vision of Ice Cube.
AllHipHop: What’s the best memory from that video shoot?
Too $hort: Literally while we were shooting “Big Sub,” we were having meetings about business. We were behind-the-scenes at the video shoot, then we’d dip over to the studio and we did some stuff for Snoop’s compound. We’re literally shooting the video for “Bad MF’s” while we were shooting the video for “Big Subwoofer.” That’s how we do it, these guys operate a little different.
You think we’re just doing a show, but it’s a show going down and it’s 5 other business ventures happening at the same exact time we’re doing the show. It’s a different space than what an artist would conventionally be used to. This is what it is: multiple film crews at all times, multiple handlers and people doing things. There’s so many people involved. You gotta get a little sit down orientation and go “okay, this guy is the behind-the-scenes videographer. This guy’s here representing such and such sponsor.” It’s endless.
AllHipHop: Is it hard to plan, to get all 4 superstars in one place at one time? Is that difficult at all?
Too $hort: No, we do it strategically to respect everybody’s schedule. A couple of time frame windows will be thrown out as far as times we could shoot a video, like now. We all agree to what works in these potential dates, because the dates mentioned happened to be dates that you can really get Snoop, really get 40, really Cube. We pick the dates. As far as the live performances go, they usually take place on the weekend. All of us have always made time on the weekends for live performances. It’s a matter of putting it on your performance schedule, that’s all.
AllHipHop: In “Bad MF’s,” you shout out Dame DOLLA, what’s your relationship with him? Especially him also being from Oakland.
Too $hort: Dame DOLLA is my homeboy’s son. My homie Houston. Long before I even knew my homie had a son that played basketball, I’m saying I’m cool with his daddy. Like I said, I’m the big homie. [laughs] But I also mention GP, that’s Gary Payton. I mentioned Beast Mode, that’s Marshawn Lynch. I mentioned the people that came up really in the hood in Oakland and really did good. If you could survive the environment, I’m not going to say make it out but just make it, then you have an opportunity to do so much more for the community when you give back.
AllHipHop: How did you feel when Dame started making music?
Too $hort: I get it. It’s some Town s###, it’s some Oakland s###. I wouldn’t think anything of it. I’ve been in the studio with him, he really flows and really writes. That’s something that’s in him. It’s not something he’s doing as a fad. It’s something that came with him with basketball. He didn’t just get rich and famous and go, “I want a rap too.” He was already doing it. We support him man, all the way. He’s one of our hometown heroes, 100%.
AllHipHop: E-40 really said “I’ve been around since dinosaur urine.
Too $hort: [laughs] “You’ve been around since when? Yesterday.”
AllHipHop: How do you all come up with this s###?
Too $hort: 4 dope songwriters, that’s all I can say. A lot of perfectionism going on in there and a lot of really talented people helping us. Engineers, producers, team members, everybody. We got a lot of input from people. We don’t just know, love, and trust them because we know them, we know them because we worked with them. We know what they do. It’s a lot of talent.
You’ll take us a beat right? All 4 of us have to agree on the beat first, which so many beats got passed by that probably were great. But to get all 4 to like it, it’s gotta be a certain kind of thing. It’s gotta be up to a certain standard that gets the approval of all 4 members. Let’s say Snoop or 40 puts a verse on it, you got this instantly. If Snoop goes first, instantly he does so many things on the song, it’s instantly next and you’re like “whoa!” So now I’m listening to a half a song, and you still got Too Short and Ice Cube coming up. Every time the next person adds another layer, it just gets better. It happened on every single song, every single one.
AllHipHop: How do you guys decide who goes first?
Too $hort: For the most part, it’s first come first serve. If the beat is up in the air, as it comes back it’ll have a verse on it. Then it’ll have 2, then it’ll have 4. If you happen to be a little busy at the time, you might end up on the last verse. Or if you’re instantly motivated before the other members, then you might be on the first verse. We’ll listen to all the verses, and somebody might say “based on what so and so said, we should put his verse on first, then put his own last.”
Most of the time, everybody understands their part. If I got the song, I’m listening to a blank canvas, it’s a beat with no hook, I just start. If what I said sounds right on the beginning, they’re not going to all try to make first verses. They’re going to follow what the person before them did, and we write like that. If you already hear two verses, you’re going to listen to the song and build on that. You’re not going to try to go “I just said something that needs to go first,” you fit in your slot on that song.
When it’s E-40 or Snoop Dogg, they really start a song off a certain way. It gets a certain little groove. When it’s Ice Cube, when he goes first, he instantly comes out and says something very prolific. His words are enunciated and his point is made, then you’re left with “I gotta follow that.” He will set the tempo, the mood of what that song is. I got my ways too, we all bring something to the table. I’m not going to say it’s an easy job because we’re so skilled, it’s really fun. It’s really fun to be this age and to be doing something you’ve been doing professionally for so long, and you still have a brand new purpose: to be your best, to do your best work. That is my motivation. It’s a challenge, it’s everything. It’s a renewal, a rebirth. I get to be a young rapper again, right?
AllHipHop: How much are you all smoking together?
Too $hort: It’s funny because E-40 is an occasional smoker, who smokes whenever the f### he feels like it. Ice Cube is very personal. He’ll blow, but you’re not going to see him blowing all the time. I don’t really see him in the cypher or nothing, passing around. He blows his thing and does him. Snoop is like a cloud of smoke. Whether it’s getting passed you or not, it’s still burning. It’s there. You don’t even have to ask, you’re going to hear that lighter flick. Me, I keep to myself because it looks like a blunt, but it’s really a joint.
AllHipHop: The Brown papers!
Too $hort: I smoke these, so nobody really smokes when I smoke. I grab my little thing and I keep it, I don’t offer to share with anybody. It’s the way it is.
AllHipHop: Do y’all be drinking the E-40 tequila?
Too $hort: Yeah, we sip. We do a little sipping. It’s not a get drunk environment. It’s not a super turnt up, acting like we’re a 21-year-old environment. It’s a real f###### business. The job’s getting done, the s###’s getting handled, and everything’s f###### organized. It ain’t no f###### chaos. If anything is out of order, it gets checked and handled immediately. It’s not a lot of stupidity, you know?
AllHipHop: All the fans want you to come to their city. “Come to Milwaukee, come to Denver, come to Fresno. We’re ready for you!”
Too $hort: It’s not even our choice where we’re going to go to, it’s the city. The city has to invite you. The promoters, the people, they gotta put it out there. It’s an invitation from the city to the artist in this situation. We’ll come. Wherever they call and invite us, we will be on the way.
AllHipHop: Obviously you and E-40 had that VERZUZ moment. Is there another VERZUZ that’s your favorite besides your own?
Too $hort: I like the Snoop Dogg, DMX VERZUZ because that was the first one where they got in the room together. The first one I saw where they got in the room together, they presented it to you and they’re right there, 6 feet apart or whatever. I like the evolution of it when it started on IG Live, the attitudes and the style. I like how Apple Music got involved and elevated it to the production to the level from what Snoop and DMX did to how it looked when me and E-40 did it.
We had a stage set, we had props, we had a location. We ushered in what it became now. Now Triller has it, it’s explosions, lights, feature artists coming on. We didn’t bring out any features. If me and E-40 had a stage, an audience, and features, it would’ve been a live concert. I like the version that we did where it was just me and him and we were in the same place, we had nice props and the set was dressed. I like that version. Shout out to VERZUZ. Shout out to Swizz Beatz and Timbaland doing that, that’s some dope s###.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Too $hort: Outside of Mount Westmore, I am dropping an album in May. A Too Short solo album called Sir Too Short and it’s a f###### dope ass album. I have other projects in the works. I’m doing the documentary, it’s a mini doc. It’s very short, about a 30-minute documentary and it’s about game. What is the game? It’s called PASS GO. The PASS is players against sucker s###, and the GO is game only baby. Game only!
AllHipHop: Because you can’t fit Too Short’s life into 30 minutes!
Too $hort: It’s not a Too Short story. It’s just about the game, how we spit the game in our music. A lot of artists do it and a lot of artists don’t, so we’re highlighting the artists that speak game. We’re also highlighting the sucker s### that we’re against. A lot of sucker s### going on out here.