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Too Short, E-40 To Battle On Verzuz to Promote New Albums

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The Internet will bear witness to an epic Bay Area hip-hop battle for the ages this Saturday when two iconic local rappers -- Too Short and E-40 -- face off in a highly anticipated Verzuz event.

Three days ago, Verzuz announced the "Legends of the Bay" livestream event. For the show on Dec. 19, the local rap pioneers will be battling from different locations, running through songs of their choosing.

Past Verzuz battles include Snoop Dogg against DMX, Brandy against Monica, and Rick Ross against 2 Chainz. These livestreams have garnered millions of views, with the last event, Gucci Mane versus Jeezy, attracting over 1.8 million viewers.

Described by Verzuz as a "masterclass in a cornerstone of rap culture," the event will showcase the highlights of the two Bay Area performers' influential careers. Too Short (born Todd Shaw) has been hailed by many the original East Bay rapper, starting in the mid '80s by recording his frequently filthy raps on cassettes and selling them on the street.

Too Short started his own label to produce the tapes he sold from the trunk of his car, eventually moving from local legend status to sign a major label deal for his fourth album, Born to Mack in 1987. He influenced multiple generations of MCs with the booming bass of his songs and their X-rated subject matter in addition to collaborating with such prominent rappers as Tupac Shakur, Lil Jon and the Notorious B.I.G.

Too ShortE-40
E-40 and Too Short (CBS SF)

E-40 (born Earl Stephens) blazed a similar trail as an independent hip-hop artist, starting his own Sick Wit It Records label and putting his hometown of Vallejo on the map.

Initially working with family members in the group the Click (they released their first EP in 1986), E-40 built up a sizable regional following as a prolific solo artist in the '90s. Partnering with major label Jive Records, his 1995 breakout In a Major Way connected the rapper with a wider audience, become the first of multiple gold and platinum efforts.

He would be credited with introducing "hyphy" -- a long-established style and subculture of East Bay hip hop that grew out of his own "mobb music" in the '90s -- to the world with his Lil Jon-produced track "My Ghetto Report Card" in 2006.

Both artists continue to record and release new material, and the two will be debuting a bundle of their new solo albums the day before the Verzuz battle. It's the second time the two have collaborated on a release since 2012's "History."

Two of the greatest basketball players from the Bay Area -- Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard -- are helping promote the event. Both made videos with the rappers, which can be seen on the Verzuz Instagram page.

But even actor Kerry Washington gave the livestream a shoutout.

The Verzuz event is Saturday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. PST. The battle can be viewed or listened to on Instagram and Apple Music.

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