Fans of Ashanti and Keyshia Cole were devastated to learn that their Verzuz battle was canceled due to Ashanti’s brush with COVID-19. But all is not lost. Because the cancellation paved the way for a Verzuz challenge between rap superstars Todd Anthony Shaw and Earl Stevens, better known as Too Short and E-40. Too Short has been prepping hard for the showdown, and is taking the event seriously.

Head to Head After Side by Side

Too short and E-40 have been friends for awhile. So with their Verzuz challenge looming, fans wonder: will there be bad blood? Too Short has indicated that he doesn’t plan to go easy on his friend, but he does plan to show up to win.

TMZ caught up with Too Short while he shopped with RHOC‘s Liz Vargas and his manager, David Weintraub. The rapper addressed the showdown; “Too Short admits there won’t be any diss tracks about fatally shooting other rapper’s friends — but… he explains what he and E-40 have planned and declares there will definitely be a winner.

Verzuz is going down Saturday, but you can tell Short’s pretty chill about it and feeling a lot of love for his and E-40’s hometown.”

Their Verzuz comes right on the heels of a joint album between E-40 and Too Short. The album combines E-40’s Terms & Conditions with Too Short’s Ain’t Gone Do It. The album is now streaming everywhere.

Too Short, E-40, and Oakland

E-40

The Ringer reports that Too Short and E-40 both see this as a way to bring attention to Oakland. “‘We’re going to showcase what the unlaced has yet to see or hear,’ 40 said. ‘It’s not just a battle,’ $hort added. ‘It’s not just displaying your catalog, trying to outdo somebody else. It was like, ‘This could be a bigger situation for the Bay, just as far as the story being told.’

It’s appropriate that 40, born Earl Stevens, and $hort would be tasked for the job. Since the 1980s, both artists have been shining examples of reinvention. $hort’s musical path started in East Oakland, alongside his partner Freddy B. Without any record label presence in the Bay, the two moved cassettes out of the trunk of their car, riding around the Town’s most notorious hoods, selling tapes where drug dealers sold drugs, most notably the 69 Village projects in the shadow of the Oakland Coliseum. Soon after, they caught the attention of a small record label, 75 Girls, and later Jive Records, which released six straight platinum Too $hort albums, including Life Is … Too Short, Get in Where You Fit In, and Gettin It (Album Number 10). 40 followed a similar blueprint 32 miles up the coast in Vallejo. Under the tutelage of his uncle ‘St. Charles,’ he drove down to Magazine Street and dropped off tapes at local corner stores and mom-and-pop shops, selling his music on consignment with his brother D-Shot and fellow Vallejo rapper B-Legit. Eventually, he’d join $hort on Jive’s roster and produce a platinum record of his own.

For the next 30 years, the two carried the Bay Area on their backs, appearing on songs with hip-hop legends Tupac, Jay-Z, and the Notorious B.I.G., plus newer acts like Chris Brown, Quavo, and Kendrick Lamar. In the mid-2000s, they brought the hyphy movement nationwide following the murder of Mac Dre, with Too $hort’s ‘Blow The Whistle’ and E-40’s ‘Tell Me When To Go,’ two of the movement’s signature songs.”

Too Short’s Prep

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Despite his laid-back interview with TMZ, it’s clear that Too Short is taking the challenge seriously. CELEB spoke with Too Short’s manager, Weintraub, who filled us in on the prep that’s gone into this Verzuz.

“Too Short is doing everything he can to mentally prepare for the @versuztv Challenge against his best friend @e40.

Too Short spent the last week working out with Jas ‘Limitless’ Mathur, founder of shop Limitless, & preparing his look with treatments @laseraway.

@tooshort is ready to walk into this with his team including @sirdavidweintraub to go for the win. They have been discussing doing this for months and they felt now was finally the time.”

Too Short told CELEB exclusively, “This is the biggest concert of my life and I doing this for all my fans and most importantly #TheBayArea which has always been behind me.”

When and How to Watch

Too Short

The Verzuz will be going down this weekend. On Saturday, December 19th, at 5PM PT / 8PM EST. Fans can tune in to the Verzuz Instagram account, and Apple Music will be streaming it live. Too Short and E-40’s combo album can be purchased from most major music retailers.

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