Todd Shaw, 28 April 1966, South Central, Los Angeles, California, USA. Diminutive rapper from Oakland, California, where he moved at the age of 14. His first introduction to rap, not a familiar form on the west coast at this time, came after hearing the Sugarhill Gang and Melle Mel. In 1983, on the back of three years hustling his own homemade tapes with partner Fred Benz, Too $hort signed to independent label 75 Girls. His first two albums, though musically valid, suffered from an over-reliance on hackneyed tales of pimping and gun fights. After another album he set up his own Dangerous Music company in 1986, co-founded with manager Randy Austin. Born To Mack whistled up sales of over 50, 000 from the trunk of the artists car, and Jive Records became intrigued by this parochial phenomenon. They re-packaged Born To Mack which went on to go gold and establish Too $hort as the first west coast rap star.
Lyrical matters had, however, only...