Baby Got Back

"Baby Got Back" is a 1992 hip hop song written and recorded by American rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, which appeared on his album Mack Daddy. The song samples the 1986 Detroit techno single "Technicolor" by Channel One.

"Baby Got Back"
BabyGotBack.jpg
Single by Sir Mix-a-Lot
from the album Mack Daddy
B-side"Cake Boy"/"You Can't Slip"
ReleasedMay 7, 1992 (1992-05-07)
Recorded1991
Genre
Length4:21
Label
Songwriter(s)Sir Mix-a-Lot
Producer(s)
Sir Mix-a-Lot singles chronology
"One Time's Got No Case"
(1991)
"Baby Got Back"
(1992)
"Swap Meet Louie"
(1992)
Music video
"Baby Got Back" on YouTube
Audio sample

At the time of its original release, the song caused controversy with its outspoken and blatantly sexual lyrics about women, as well as specific references to the female buttocks which some people found objectionable. The song's music video was briefly banned by MTV.[1]

It was the second best-selling song in the US in 1992, behind Boyz II Men's "End of the Road". In 2008, it was ranked number 17 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.[2]

The song debuted at number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated April 11, 1992 and hit number one twelve weeks later. The single spent five weeks at the top of the chart.

SynopsisEdit

The first verse begins with "I like big butts and I cannot lie" and most of the song is about the rapper's attraction to women with large behinds. The second and third verse challenge mainstream norms of beauty: "I ain't talkin' 'bout Playboy. Cause silicone parts are made for toys." and "So Cosmo says you're fat. Well I ain't down with that!"

The song came from a meeting between Sir Mix-a-Lot and Amylia Dorsey who saw little representation of full figured women in media. The idea came from the 1980s Budweiser commercial[3] featuring very thin, valley girl-esque models with different skin colors. They decided to dedicate a song to the very opposite, featuring curvy women of color. Mix and Dorsey sought to, "Broaden the definition of beauty."[4]

Sir Mix-a-Lot commented in a 1992 interview: "The song doesn't just say I like large butts, you know? The song is talking about women who damn near kill themselves to try to look like these beanpole models that you see in Vogue magazine." He explains that most women respond positively to the song's message, especially black women: "They all say, 'About time.'"[5]

In the song's prelude there is a conversation between two (presumably) thin, exclusively white (despite of Budweiser commercial) Valley girls. One girl named Linda (dubbed by Amylia Dorsey)[6] remarks to her friend, "Oh, my, God Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She's just so black!", at which point Sir Mix-a-Lot begins rapping of his love for big-bottomed girls.

The dialogue of actress Papillon Soo Soo saying "Me so horny" is sampled from the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket to complete Sir Mix-a-Lot's lyric, "That butt you got makes."

Critical receptionEdit

Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "First offering from rapper's major-label debut, "Mack Daddy", cheekily rhapsodizes about the joys of women with prominent backsides. Cute rhymes and slammin' beats add up to a potential smash at several formats."[7]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLength
1."Baby Got Back" (album version)4:21
2."Cake Boy"4:12
3."You Can't Slip"5:05
4."Baby Got Back" (Tekno-Metal Edit)4:20
5."Baby Got Back" (Hard B.W.B. Hip Hop Mix)4:35
6."Baby Got Back" (Hurricane Mix)5:04

Chart performance and awardsEdit

Sir Mix-a-Lot's best known song, "Baby Got Back" reached number 1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart for five weeks in the summer of 1992, and won a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. In the years following the song's release on the album Mack Daddy, it has continued to appear in many movies, television shows, and commercials, as detailed below. It was number 6 on VH1's Greatest Songs of the '90s, and number 1 on VH1's Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '90s.

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[20] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Silver 200,000 
United States (RIAA)[26] 2× Platinum 2,500,000^
United States (RIAA)[27]
Digital download
Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Jonathan Coulton cover/Glee coverEdit

Jonathan Coulton released a cover of "Baby Got Back" during his Thing a Week project in October 2005, with the song being released as part of the first Thing A Week compilation album the next year.[28]

In late January 2013, a preview of the television show Glee included a cover of "Baby Got Back" that would be part of an upcoming episode. Many, including Coulton, noted that the backing music was extremely similar to his recorded version; Coulton reported that he had not been contacted by the Fox Broadcasting Network about this song, but at the time could only suppose that the Glee version was similar to his own.[29] Coulton had tried to contact Fox for additional details prior to the episode's airing. The episode with the song, "Sadie Hawkins", aired unchanged on January 24, 2013; further analysis of the aired version showed the Glee cover appeared to use Coulton's original musical arrangement as it included Coulton's original melody and a changed line in Coulton's version ("Johnny C's in trouble" instead of the original "Mix-a-Lot's in trouble").[30] Coulton's agents were later contacted by Fox, claiming, in his words, "they're within their legal rights to do this, and that [Coulton] should be happy for the exposure", even though Coulton is not credited within the episode.[30] Coulton has been exploring legal options; while musical covers do not have copyright legal protection in the United States, Coulton may have legal rights if the Glee version is found to have used his audio track or original composition directly.[31] Coulton has since released his cover of "Baby Got Back" to iTunes, what he calls "a cover of Glee's cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song", with proceeds going to charity.[32] Coulton's experience has led other artists who believe that Glee used their cover arrangements as backing within the show to step forward with similar claims.[33]

Related songsEdit

In a 2000 interview, Sir Mix-a-Lot reflected: "There's always butt songs. Hell, I got the idea sitting up here listening to old Parliament records: Motor Booty Affair. Black men like butts. That's the bottom line."[34] The song is part of a tradition of 1970s–90s African-American music celebrating the female posterior, including "Da Butt", "Rump Shaker", and "Shake Your Groove Thing".[35]

In 2014, Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj sampled the basis and some verses of "Baby Got Back" for her hit "Anaconda", from the album The Pinkprint.[36] The song has been viewed by some as a diss track, in answer to "Baby Got Back". Whereas Sir Mix-a-Lot focuses on a woman's body and the pleasure it gives him, Minaj raps from the perspective of the unnamed woman, and shows how she uses her callipygian physique to profit and empower herself.[37]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Baby Got Back Songfacts". Songfacts. Archived from the original on 19 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
  2. ^ Andrew Winistorfer (2008-09-29). "VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Prefixmag. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ "Spuds McKenzie". youtube.com. August 20, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  4. ^ "OMG, meet the real 'Becky' from 'Baby Got Back'". usatoday.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Keizer, Brian (September 1992). "Big Buts". Spin. 8 (6): 87–88.
  6. ^ "'And I Cannot Lie': The Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' Video".
  7. ^ Flick, Larry (February 29, 1992). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 72. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ Canadian peak
  10. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Sir Mix-A-Lot" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  12. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  13. ^ "Charts.nz – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Swiss Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. August 8, 1992. p. 20. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  17. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ a b "1992 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  21. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  22. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - 1992". Archived from the original on 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  23. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End 1990-1999" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  24. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  25. ^ "British single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  26. ^ "American single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  27. ^ "American single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  28. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2005-10-15). "Nerd folksinger covers Baby Got Back". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  29. ^ Eakin, Marah (2013-01-18). "Jonathan Coulton says Glee ripped off his cover of "Baby Got Back"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  30. ^ a b Landau, Elizabeth (2013-01-26). "Singer alleges 'Glee' ripped off his cover song". CNN. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  31. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2013-01-26). "Musician Claims 'Glee' Stole His Version of 'Baby Got Back'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  32. ^ Cantalano, Michele (2013-01-27). "Jonathan Coulton vs. Glee: It's About the Ethics". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  33. ^ Hudson, Laura (2013-01-25). "Jonathan Coulton Explains How Glee Ripped Off His Cover Song — And Why He's Not Alone". Wired. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  34. ^ Sir Mix-a-Lot; Caramanica, Jon (October 2000). "Still Bumpin'". Vibe. 8 (8): 82.
  35. ^ Aubry, Erin J. (2003). "The butt: its politics, its profanity, its power". In Edut, Ophira (ed.). Body outlaws: rewriting the rules of beauty and body image (2nd ed.). Seal Press. p. 30. ISBN 1-58005-108-1.
  36. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot on Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda,' Booty Fever & New Music". Billboard. September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  37. ^ Nigel, Lezama (March 2019). "Status, Votive Luxury, and Labour: The Female Rapper's Delight". Fashion Studies. 2 (1): 1–23. Retrieved 18 August 2020.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit