Too Short is credited as being one of the pioneer rappers of West Coast hip hop. He first began recording in 1985, becoming one of Oakland's better known underground emcees, before he signed a deal with Jive Records in 1987, releasing his mainstream debut album Born to Mack. He experienced his first widespread success with his 1989 follow-up album Life Is. . . Too Short, and remained one of the most popular rappers into the 1990s. His rap lyrics are primarily about pimping, drug use, surviving and promiscuity.