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MUSIC

From Oakland to Vegas, Too $hort Reps Raider Nation

“This is something I’m doing for the team, the organization, the NFL, and the Raider fans,” the Bay Area rapper tells Boardroom of his new song, “Raider Colors.”

Hip-hop and sports often feel as if they are two sides of the same coin. Rappers repeatedly reference athletes in their songs, and athletes have music playlists to help get locked in on gameday. More often than not, we see this in basketball. But plenty of NFL teams across the country are lucky to boast big-time supporters from the world of hip-hop as well.

Wiz Khalifa and the late Mac Miller are Pittsburgh Steelers disciples. Lil Wayne is a Green Bay Packers superfan. Schoolboy Q is a San Francisco 49ers buff.

And in Las Vegas, home of the Raiders, Too $hort remains one of the team’s biggest supporters — even after the team departed from the celebrated rapper’s hometown of Oakland. Besides consistently wearing famous Silver and Black for decades, the MC recently recorded a song dedicated to the team called “Raider Colors.”

“I’m from the old fan base, the original fan base,” Too $hort told Boardroom. “When I knew the Raiders were moving, I recorded that song to accentuate the idea of the Raider colors and how if you drive through the city of Oakland you’ll see a lot of people dressed in all black or black and grey. Everyone looks like Raider fans.” 

The song is loaded with contributions from Raider fanatics and natives of the Town and the Strip alike. $hort is joined by Ice Cube, Rayven Justice, and DJ Nina 9 — all avid supporters of the team — plus Las Vegas native Ne-Yo.

“It was a great song before, but when Ice Cube got on it, it got even better. And then when Ne-Yo got on it, even better,” he said.

Born Todd Shaw, Too $hort was raised in Oakland, a city that housed three sports franchises just three years ago, but is now left with just the MLB’s A’s. But relocation hasn’t stopped him from repping his beloved teams.

“I understand the economics of the city of Oakland being one of the smallest cities in the USA that has maintained three professional franchises,” $hort said.

Across the Bay is San Francisco, the most expensive place to live in the US, according to Rocket Mortgage. The Golden State Warriors elected to move there in 2019, opening the Chase Center, and leaving behind Oracle Arena and all its championship memories. The Raiders did the same last year when they moved into Allegiant Stadium, a facility that fans, players, and front office executives have called “the Death Star.”

“The city didn’t step up to the plate or prepare for the new times,” he said. “When you’re looking at Mark Davis and the owners of the Warriors, they are probably looking like ‘man, there is big tech money next door, the San Francisco and Las Vegas lights are calling me.’ You can’t blame the businesses. But as a fan, it’s a bittersweet moment to lose those teams and watch the city no longer have them.”

Outside of the Raiders, Too $hort has his hands in the cannabis industry, a beverage company, and is working on launching a fashion brand.

The Oakland lifer officially launched the Too $hort Brand in 2020 aimed at offering “a broad array of cannabis services geared to address illnesses and injuries.” The brand is only available in California, but is in the process of launching nationwide. On the beverage side, Too $hort released a strawberry soda in partnership with Exotic Pop.

But most of all, $hort is proud to be a longtime leading member of the Raider fan community with a new song that helps celebrate all its history and pride.

“This is something I’m doing for the team, the organization, the NFL, and the Raider fans,” he said. “It’s something that goes in that universe and not so much something that was aimed to be the No. 1 hit song on the radio. It’s a feel-good song for the Raider Nation.”