Tomorrow night at Walter's On Washington, Rocks Off introduces Reduxion to Houston. The monthly party will feature some of the city's best bands trotting out live sets of music from artists who influenced their sound along the way.
We spoke with Ryan Taylor last week from The Burden, who will be doing a set of Black Flag covers, about growing up with the hardcore band and their lasting mark on him and the guys in his band.
Today we speak with HPMA winner and local Houston rapper Fat Tony about Too $hort, an artist who he will be covering at the show on Thursday night.
Rocks Off: What does Too Short mean to you in terms of your craft and how you create music today?
Fat Tony: I listened to Too Short a lot in high school because I was doing my best to be a student of hip-hop as well as I loved vulgarity and Bay Area rap music. Too Short means a lot to me because without his work as an independent regional artist I wouldn't be where I am today.
He's one of the key artists in rap music that took [the] independent D.I.Y. music business to the attention of major labels. His influence runs deep throughout the West Coast and South. Artists from Pimp C to Devin the Dude to E-40 to Mac Dre can say they've all been Too Short fans and comrades. His flow is a standard in rap vocal styling.
I just wish I had more friends in Houston that shared my love for Bay Area rap music. It's so regional, just like Texas rap music, that not many people outside the west coast know much about it, even the classics. When I went to L.A. recently at a hipster-ish electro/new wave club they were playing tons of E-40 and Too $hort like it's nothing with kids going wild to it all.
I haven't even heard anything off of E-40's latest album as singles on Houston radio. Just the old-school folks in Texas know wassup. The youngsters are a little clueless. Except DJ Dayta and Sober from Dallas.
RO: Too Short is one of those artists that don't get his due, overshadowed we think, because he came in around a busy time in hip-hop. Do you agree?
FT: He gets his due from real rap music fans and artists with any sense. He was never a huge mainstream star, but anyone that takes a look into rap beyond television and the radio knows what's up. Plus he's even had some hits for the 2000s for his work with Lil' Jon and he was poppin' in the 90s through his own albums, plus features on big records with Scarface ("Fuck Faces") and E-40 ("Player's Ball"). Journalists such as Noz of Cocaine Blunts fame has even released an extensive interview he did with Too Short that was commissioned by Vibe magazine.
RO: His music was so simple early on, and low-key. It was almost industrial...
FT: Less is more sometimes. But I think his music is more funky than industrial. Too Short took bare hip-hop beats and added the funk to it. Putting some instrumentation in the production before many even thought about doing so.
RO: What are your favorite Too Short albums or tracks?
FT: "Cusswords" from Life is Too Short album is my favorite of his. Others are "Freaky Tales," "Don't Fight the Feeling," from the same album and "Just Another Day" from Get in Where You Fit In. "Don't Fight the Feeling" used to get quoted almost daily in high school especially the lyric "I'm a player, bitch, I thought you knew/ Like every other nigga in my crew."
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RO: What Too Short songs should be on an ultimate mixtape of his stuff?
FT: All six versions of "Freaky Tale" (laughs). If you just include all his singles and live show staples you're good.
RO: What songs are you planning on at Walter's?
FT: Some of his older classics, collabs, and some newer stuff. Tracks I got in mind right now are "Blow The Whistle," "Shake that Monkey," Cocktales," "Blowjob Betty," "I'm a Player," "Freaky Tales," "Cusswords," "Fuck Faces," "Bitch," and "Don't Fight the Feeling"