Anthony L. Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot or his CB handle Prime Minista, is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his 1992 hit song "Baby Got Back", which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Sir Mix-a-Lot
Sir Mix-a-Lot in December 2006
Sir Mix-a-Lot in December 2006
Background information
Birth nameAnthony L. Ray
Also known asBumpasaurus, Prime Minista
Born (1963-08-12) August 12, 1963 (age 60)
Auburn, Washington, U.S.
OriginSeattle, Washington, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1981–present[2]

Early life edit

Anthony Ray was born on August 12, 1963, in Auburn, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, and grew up in Seattle's Central District. In Ray's youth, his mother worked as a licensed practical nurse at the King County Jail. Ray was a fan of hip hop and started rapping in the early 1980s.[3]

While living in the Bryant Manor apartments on 19th Ave and East Yesler Way, Anthony Ray started school at Roosevelt High School, near the University District, when the Seattle Public School District was in the throes of what would be a 21-year experiment to integrate the school system; Guns N' Roses member Duff McKagan and actress Rose McGowan also went there. Students were bused from their neighborhoods to schools at the other end of the city. From 1978 to 1999, when the busing program was in operation, minorities carried the burden of busing, going from the South End and the Central Area to predominantly white schools in the North End.[4]

Ray said he knew that some North End residents did not want black children bused into their neighborhoods. But for him, the experience offered respite from the projects. "I've heard things like, 'Forced integration is not good,' 'I want my kid to be able to go to school in our community; that's why we moved here' – all those things I totally understand," he said. "But from my perspective, I didn't have the luxury of living in a neighborhood where a good school was. We didn't make that kind of money. So from my perspective, it was the best thing that could have happened to me."[4] A music teacher at Eckstein Middle School introduced Ray to the possibility of a music career.

Ray was interested in electronics and CB radio from a young age. One of his early jobs was working at a pinball arcade servicing machines, and during that time he started to fix keyboards and other musical equipment. He still works with electronics as a hobby.[5]

Career edit

1980s edit

Soon after high school, he began DJing parties at local community centers.[6] By 1983, Sir Mix-A-Lot had begun playing weekends regularly at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in South Seattle. Soon he moved locations and started hosting his parties at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club in the Central District. It was there that he met 'Nasty' Nes Rodriguez, a local radio DJ and host of Fresh Tracks, the West Coast's first rap radio show on Seattle station KKFX (K-Fox).[7]

Sir Mix-a-Lot partnered with Nasty Nes and local businessman Ed Locke to found the Nastymix record label in 1983.[8] The first song to gain popularity outside of Seattle was "Square Dance Rap" in 1986. Mix-a-Lot had originally decided to rap the entire song slowly, then speed it up and increase its pitch in post production, Mix later told Seattle Refined in 2018 that "I didn't want to rap, that's why I use this weird Smurf voice".[9] After the song was picked up by DJs in clubs nationwide, he toured Florida, New York, and other states. While in Arizona, he noticed a street named Broadway with a restaurant named Dick's, just like Seattle. This gave him the idea to write his next hit, "Posse on Broadway".[10] The title referred to Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill district.[11] Released in 1987, the single made the Top 100 but quickly disappeared, although it remains popular in the Seattle area for its references to many local landmarks.

Swass, Sir Mix-a-Lot's debut album, was released in 1988 with two other singles: "Square-Dance Rap"[11] and "Iron Man", a rap metal track sampling from the song of the same name by Black Sabbath; it was backed by the band Metal Church.[12] In 1990, the Recording Industry Association of America certified Swass platinum.[13]

Seminar, released in 1989, featured "My Hooptie", "Beepers", "Gortex" and "I Got Game".

1990s edit

In 1991, Sir Mix-A-Lot signed to the Def American label, which also bought the rights to his first two albums, and released his third album Mack Daddy in 1992. The single "Baby Got Back" was a number one hit that went double platinum[13] and won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.[14] MTV aired the music video for the song only after 9 PM because of "many, many, complaints."[15]

In 1993, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated with Seattle-based grunge band Mudhoney for the song "Freak Momma" on the Judgment Night soundtrack.[11]

In 1994, he released the album Chief Boot Knocka, which reached #69 on the Billboard 200 and #28 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. The album featured the hit single "Put 'Em On The Glass". "Just Da Pimpin' in Me" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance but lost to "Let Me Ride" by Dr. Dre.

When his 1996 album Return of the Bumpasaurus was only given a low label promotion, leading to lackluster sales, Sir Mix-a-Lot left Def American. During the time off, he worked closely with the band The Presidents of the United States of America under the group name "Subset" with a combination of rock and rap music, but nothing was ever officially released.[16]

2000s edit

Sir Mix-a-Lot signed with the independent label Artist Direct for his 2003 album Daddy's Home with "Big Johnson" as its lead single.[11][17] The next year, he released a DVD entitled "Shhhh... Don't Tell 'Em That" to promote the album.[18]

2010s edit

In 2010, Sir Mix-a-Lot announced his next album, Dun 4got About Mix. The lead single "Carz" was released to YouTube on 23 Nov 2010. By June 2011, the video had had over a million views, although no release date for the album has been set as of 2023.[13] In the same year, his F.U.B.A.R. Remix for the song Conditions Of My Parole appeared on Puscifer's remix album All Re-Mixed Up.[19]

Sir Mix-a-lot performing at the 2024 Winter Classic in Seattle.

In 2013, Sir Mix-a-Lot produced the album Dream for the urban rock band Ayron Jones and The Way. He opened their album release party at Neumos on November 2. That Christmas season, he promoted the Washington State Lottery over the Christmas season, with advertisements featuring his music appearing on Spotify.[20]

On June 6, 2014, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated and performed with the Seattle Symphony on a new composition by Gabriel Prokofiev as part of the symphony's Sonic Evolution series of new orchestral pieces inspired by Seattle's music icons.[21][22][23]

In 2014, rapper Nicki Minaj released the single "Anaconda",[24] which prominently featured samples from "Baby Got Back". Sir Mix-a-Lot praised both the artist and the song, calling it the "new and improved version" of "Baby Got Back".[25]

In March 2016, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated with TNT and LK on the track and video, "Streets Don't Love Me".[26]

From 2017 to 2019, Sir Mix-a-Lot hosted a morning radio show based in Seattle on Hot 103.7 FM.

He owns multiple residences, including one in Auburn, Washington, where he has continued to maintain a strong presence performing at small festivals across the country.

Other work edit

In 1995, Sir Mix-A-Lot was the regular host of the short-lived UPN anthology drama series The Watcher, in which, in 2000, he was quoted in Vibe magazine as saying "in retrospect, I wish I hadn't done (the show)"[27]

In 2006, Sir Mix-a-Lot appeared on Adult Swim's Tom Goes to the Mayor and the 17th Treehouse of Horror on Fox's The Simpsons. In 2008, he appeared on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken singing a song entitled "Table Be Round". It was sung in the style of "Baby Got Back", but was about to King Arthur's creation of the Round Table. He also voiced politician Hans Blix and singer Stevie Wonder in the season 3 finale. He appeared in "The Judge" episode of Season 4 of BoJack Horseman playing himself.

Sir Mix-A-Lot provides narration and commentary in Wheedle's Groove, a 2009 documentary about the Seattle 1960s and 70s funk and soul scene.[28]

In June 2018, the DIY Network aired a special called Sir Mix-A-Lot's House Remix, which involved Sir Mix-A-Lot buying and flipping a house in Seattle.[29]

In 2019, he became the spokesperson for Cards Against Humanity's "Ass Pack".[30]

Discography edit

Awards and nominations edit

Grammy Awards edit


Year Nominated work Award Result
1993 "Baby Got Back" Best Rap Solo Performance Won
1994 "Just Da Pimpin' In Me" Best Rap Solo Performance Nominated
1999 Televoid Best Long Form Music Video Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards edit

Year Nominated work Award Result
1992 "Baby Got Back" Best Rap Video Nominated
1992 "Baby Got Back" Best Direction in a Video Nominated
1993 "Baby Got Back" Best Art Direction in a Video Nominated

American Music Awards edit


Year Nominated work Award Result
1993 Sir Mix-a-Lot Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Won

Soul Train Music Awards edit

Year Nominated work Award Result
1993 "Baby Got Back" Best R&B/Soul Single – Male Nominated

References edit

  1. ^ Rabin, Nathan (July 16, 2003). "Sir Mix-A-Lot". A.V. Club. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  2. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot Says His Critics Have Got His Message Backward". Los Angeles Times. 19 July 1992. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Biography". Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Busing Blues". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Bomani Jones (19 August 2018). "Sir Mix-A-Lot". ESPN (Podcast). ESPN Radio. Event occurs at 12:24. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Going Way Back A Brief History of 206 Hiphop". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot / Ray, Anthony". 28 October 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  8. ^ Blecha, Peter. "Nastymix Records' party marks Gold Record awarded to Sir Mix-A-Lot's SWASS album on April 29, 1989". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  9. ^ Karlinsky, Malia (20 September 2018). "Rapping with the King of Old School: Seattle's own Sir Mix-A-Lot". Seattle Refined. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  10. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (6 November 2018). "Best of '88: How Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 'Posse on Broadway' Put Seattle on Rap's Map". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve (2003). "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  12. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Rap-Metal". AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  14. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Charts & Awards – Grammy Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  15. ^ Rosen, Craig; Newman, Melinda (Jun 27, 1992). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 4. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  16. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (September 12, 2014). "Sir Mix-A-Lot on Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda,' Booty Fever & New Music". Billboard. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  17. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2003-08-01). "Sir Mix-A-Lot Hoping Baby's Got Comeback". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  18. ^ "Shhhh… Don't Tell 'Em That". Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  19. ^ Martins, Chris (18 July 2013). "Sir Mix-a-Lot's Puscifer Remix Laces 'Conditions of My Parole' With Noisy Wubs". SPIN. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Washington's Lottery - Happy Holidays Lottery". Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  21. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2014-06-07). "Sir Mix-A-Lot had a lot of fun with Seattle Symphony". Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  22. ^ Coleman, Miriam (2014-04-09). "Sir Mix-a-Lot to Perform Classical Music Version of 'Baby Got Back' With Seattle Symphony". Archived from the original on 2015-04-04. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  23. ^ Zak Burns (2014-04-10). "Sir Mix-A-Lot hit gets the Seattle Symphony treatment - Local News". Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  24. ^ "Nicki Minaj - Anaconda". 2014-08-19. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  25. ^ Harling, Danielle (2014-08-12). "Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" Dubbed New & Improved "Baby Got Back" By Sir Mix-A-Lot | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  26. ^ "TNT X Sir Mix-A-Lot X LK - Streets Don't Love Me". 2016-03-18. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  27. ^ Caramanica, Jon (October 2000). VIBE. Vibe Media Group. p. 82. Retrieved 19 August 2018.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Wheedle's Groove | 2010 Seattle International Film Festival | Jennifer Maas | USA - Films". Archived from the original on 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  29. ^ "'Sir Mix-A-Lot's House Remix' Starring The Grammy Award-Winning Rap Artist Premieres On DIY Network June 30". Discovery, Inc. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Presents: Ass Pack + 2000s Nostalgia Pack". Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  31. ^ "All GRAMMY Awards and Nominations for Sir Mix-a-Lot". Retrieved 2023-06-10.
  32. ^ "Awards for Sir Mix-a-Lot". Retrieved 2023-07-02.

External links edit