One night, I watched a YouTube interview of Too Short, one of my all time favorite rappers.
Most people know Too Short for his x-rated rhymes and the word “beee-itch”. He was saying “beee-itch” before other rappers started saying it.
The interview was on VLADTV, a hip hop channel I watch all the time. Somewhere in the interview, Too Short talked about embracing cassettes. I remember cassettes in the 1970’s. Yet, they really didn’t really take off until the 1980’s.
Too Short wanted the bass to boom in people’s cars. As most musicians still focused on vinyl, Too Short created his music for cassettes. Embracing cassettes hugely benefited Too Short. From Born to Mack to You Nasty, Too Short’s albums either went gold or platinum.
Too Short’s embracing cassettes reminded me of late author Raymond Chandler.
In his book Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday talks about Chandler’s embracing paperback books. New to the publishing scene, many authors and publishers thought paperbacks would kill the book industry.
Yet, Chandler saw an opportunity. In the beginning, as hardcovers, his first novels sold a few a thousand copies. As paperbacks, Chandler’s novels sold in the hundred thousands. In decades to come, they would sell in the millions. With books priced at twenty-five cents, Chandler reached an audience who probably couldn’t afford the hardcover versions of his novels.
Now, I see what Too Short and Raymond Chandler have in common. Both threw away traditional methods and gained success. With Too Short, instead of vinyl, it was focusing on cassettes. With Raymond Chandler, instead of hardcover, it was embracing paperbacks.