The Oral History of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” Wait–What?

Rupinder, a fan of oral histories, passes on this article from The Vulture.

America received the ultimate booty call on May 7, 1992, courtesy of Seattle rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot and his song “Baby Got Back.” Since its release through legendary rap-rock producer Rick Rubin’s Def American label, the up-tempo track — which spent five weeks at No. 1 and was the second-best-selling single of 1992, after Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” — has become our national anthem of ass, spawning innumerable parodies, cover versions (most notably Jonathan Coulton’s viral 2005 version), and references, including on Friends and in Shrek and Charlie’s Angels movies.

The song’s long-lasting success owes greatly to its winking video, which, aside from featuring Sir Mix-a-Lot dancing atop a giant derrière and countless buttocks-related visual puns, generated a healthy amount of buzz when MTV banned it and fans,including Bruce Springsteen, countered that it offered a far more realistic glimpse at the female form than other music videos of the day. As part of our micro oral histories week, Vulture corralled Rubin, Sir Mix-a-Lot (real name: Anthony Ray), the video’s director Adam Bernstein (also of Breaking Badfame), and others to bring you the story behind the behind-centric classic.

Review the video first.  Then keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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