Sir Mix A Lot has made the big booty immortal. When you hear, “Oh my god, look at her…” you know instantly what’s about to happen: someone has a mic by their mouth and they’re about to shout the words, “I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE!” It happens at weddings, karaoke bars, in the club. The song, “Baby Got Back” will live forever.
But what you didn’t know, maybe, is that the song is 25 years old this May.
That’s older than most of you reading this sentence. That’s older than just about everyone taking Intro to Psyche in every college in America. That’s four years older than the legal drinking age. And seven years older than adulthood. 25! And because of this glorious be-cheeked silver anniversary, we wanted to ask Mix a little bit about the song, why he wrote it and what, in his mind, is the jam’s legacy.
Have you thought about the fact that “Baby Got Back” is 25 years old?
It’s interesting; I have thought about it. We’re doing a line of merch – so many people steel lines from “Baby Got Back” and make money off it. It makes me mad sometimes. But we’re going to do some things that are a little different. I also had a dream of doing a re-record of the song but whenever you do that to a song people think is “classic,” it always gets you in trouble with your fans so we decided to leave it alone.
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But I do think about it. It’s amazing. That a song like that is still around. I’ve learned lessons from other people who’ve abandoned their big hits. I told myself I’d never do that. The song keeps living!
What’s the song you might write today if you were 25 years younger?
Whatever it is, that song probably wouldn’t get a lot of traction. You have to remember the climate in which I wrote “Baby Got Back.” In 1992 the American standard of beautify was the Spuds MacKenzie girls – popsicle sticks, stop signs – that was American beauty. That’s how it was defined.
But the song bucked the system. It was tongue in cheek. And black women immediately said, “It’s about time!” White women with curves said, “It’s about time!” Everyone. It was almost a movement for a while. Then it became the norm. If I were to write that song now – assuming what happened then would have taken place just the same; women know men love asses now!
Most hits are lucky. I wrote a song that was supposed to be for certain people and it ended up being for everybody.
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You have to remember, when you saw African American women on TV other than Clair Huxtable, they were either overweight maids, on syrup bottles or she was a prostitute. That was it. I wanted to write a song. I did it consciously, where I was talking about this woman — I wanted to hit it, but I couldn’t. I wanted to make her that queen.