Do you like big butts? Do you tell the truth about it? Then listen up, because the emcee who wrote your theme is headed this way.
Curvy girl appreciator Sir Mix-a-Lot plays The Stage on Bay this Tuesday, April 24.
“You’ve always been beautiful,” says producer, songwriter and rapper Anthony Ray, a.k.a. Sir Mix-a-Lot (or Mix, if you’re in the know) of hourglass-shaped ladies. “It’s cool to see women who have that physique — Hispanic, white, black — they’re no longer ashamed of it. They’re proud of it.”
His iconic hit song "Baby Got Back" came out in 1992, when popularized beauty standards celebrated waif thin, surgically enhanced, cookie-cutter models. For all the girls who didn’t fit that standard, Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” was an anthem.
“It’s not about sex,” says Mix-a-Lot. “You can look at a girl with an hourglass physique and you can say she’s smart, you can say she had a great personality, but she wasn’t called beautiful then. Now she is and that’s a good thing.”
The roots of the song come from Mix-a-Lot's youth in Seattle, as the school district was using integrated busing. It wasn’t until some of the white kids he went to school with commented on his appreciation of a curvy woman that he realized the hourglass wasn’t celebrated everywhere.
Fast-forward a few years and the single from Mix-a-Lot’s third album put the whole world on notice.
“When I wrote the song, I didn’t think I was going to win any popularity contests,” says Mix-a-Lot. “It used to be other than Claire Huxtable ["The Cosby Show"], women of color were always portrayed as prostitutes or the overweight maid ... I wanted to [recognize], not redefine beauty, because it was always beautiful in the black community, the hourglass physique; brothers been liking it forever.”
The No. 1 hit went double platinum and won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. And the song’s popularity is still going strong. More than 20 years later, Nicki Manaj’s “Anaconda” made it to No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart and the video won Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
Mix-a-Lot takes it all in stride.
“I don’t take any of this for granted,” he says. "There are a lot of artists out there, you hear them crying, ‘I’m bigger than just this song.’ Well, when you were in the studio as a kid, you wished you could get that song. People that are fans of Mix-a-Lot, they know 'Posse on Broadway,' 'Beepers.' And people that are just fans of 'Baby Got Back,' that’s cool, too. I always count my blessings.”
At The Stage on Bay, Mix-a-Lot promises you’ll hear that hourglass appreciation and a whole lot more.
“I like to get involved,” he says. “I get up close and personal. I love the fans. Sometime I get out in the crowd, I do whole songs out there. I love to keep it 100 percent live and I love small venues. If you're a true artist, the small venues, up close and personal. I love that.”