Do you have advice for rappers now? Social media is really important. When you get your social network numbers up, people jump on the bandwagon. And if you’re getting those numbers up, that must mean something good about you. Outside of that, it’s still the same game. You’ve got to get known in the streets. Or you’ve got to get yourself poppin in the clubs where you live. Or you’ve got to have some friends at the radio stations out here. If you’re famous in your neighborhood, take it over to the next neighborhood. If you’re famous in your city, take it to the next city. You can’t just sit around, and enjoy your little bit of fame, smoke a little bit of weed and expect your homies to make you rich because everybody out there likes your shit. The people that make it are overachievers. Skill level doesn’t matter. If the music is good, people like it, but that ain’t the deciding factor on if you’re going to be one of the greats. It’s the overachievers, the motherfuckers like me who live in the studio. Motherfuckers who get on a plane and go any-god-damn-where. I know a lot of people sit around going, Man I’ve been doing that shit but it ain’t working for me. There’s a certain magic to it, your timing, your luck and all kind of shit.
Are there any rising artists from Oakland that you’ve been listening to or think show a lot of promise? I’m launching this thing called Too Short Presents, and it’s basically me in the studio in the Bay, sifting through artists to try to find guys who have above-average skills and that it-factor. I just bought a bunch of equipment and we’ve been shooting videos every day. Instead of putting these songs out and pressing up CDs and shit, I’m just gonna blast a million videos and give out a bunch of promo CDs out in these streets in the Bay and see who clicks. In this day and time, you hand me a CD right now I might not listen to it. But everybody’s on the damn computers looking up shit. With the cost of equipment now, the way the HD cameras are playing back quality, it’s a whole new game. I’m thinking of making a video album. We’ve got to start thinking futuristic. What are we gonna do, shit. The digital age is changing rapidly, you’ve got to get on it.
When you were first coming up, you created a specific production sound with Ant Banks. When G-Funk was getting a lot of media attention, how did you feel your sound fit into the scene? Dr. Dre was an established artist years before I was. Dre always had the big 808 drums, he would always creep in some funky basslines, he’d sample stuff like the Ohio Players and Parliament Funkadelic. We weren’t too far apart. I was never trying to out-do Dr. Dre. But when I met all those guys—Snoop and Daz Dillinger and everybody— we started hanging out. It helped me a lot being affiliated with those guys. Me and Ant Banks used to mix our songs, and we would compare the songs in the car to different songs Dr. Dre had released. Like mainly stuff off The Chronic or the Snoop Dogg album. We’d check the EQ and make sure everything was loud and clear.
What was your relationship with Pimp C like? Me and Pimp C, we have so many days and nights in the studio, or just going to hang out somewhere, being on tour on the bus, smoking one or trading stories. Pimp C was like family. He was like a blood relative. He was like my brother. He was so much a part of my life, even before he went to jail—he stayed in jail for four years. We wrote each other a couple times. When he got out we went right back to it. He was one of my favorite people to work in the studio with. He would come in the studio and he’d make you work. He’d be like, “turn on the power, hook up the machine, let’s make a song.”
Someone recently went through Ice Cube’s “Today Was a Good Day,” and they determined through hints from the lyrics—the Lakers beat the Supersonics, the weather was clear in Los Angeles— that Cube’s “good day” was January 20th, 1992. Can you confirm that you were in fact watching Yo! MTV Raps on January 20th, 1992, like it says in the song? I might have been! I watched a lot of Yo! MTV Raps back in the day. It was hip-hop, it was new, it was starting to get really popular. It was on display, our thing.