Sir Mix-A-Lot: "I Wanted to Do More Than Rap About Women as Sex Objects"
Can we talk about "Baby Got Back" a little bit?
At the time of its release, the song received major controversy for its raunchy lyrics and its sexual nature. If "Baby Got Back" were released today, it would not be censored. How do you feel about the desensitization of hip-hop and censorship in main stream media?
[Laughs] "Baby Got Back" would be kiddie pop right now! The difference between now and then is that there was something to having certain limitations in place that forced me to be more clever. If you actually listening to "Baby Got Back," it was actually making some serious points, but a lot of people thought that I was rapping just about butts. I kind of let those who didn't know the real meaning wander around thinking that they did, and the people who did know were like, "Thanks, man. It's about time."
Let's talk about the impact of the song for a second. Before it dropped there was very little sexuality in hip-hop. Now it's a standard to have a video vixen shake her ass on camera. With two-plus decades under your belt, how do you feel about it's impact on hip-hop when you see artists like Drake with ass-shaking in his videos?
[Laughs] I don't let it bother me, I see a lot guys, especially older rappers, sitting around like a bunch of grumpy old bastards complaining when they did the same damn thing that Drake is doing! For me, the whole butt thing came to me via Luke Skywalker and 2 Live Crew, so it's evolution. I wanted to do more than rap about women as sex objects, I wanted to talk about something that a lot of people were trying to avoid: in that era, if you were an African-American woman with any type of mainstream success, be it acting, modeling, et cetera, you were forced to assimilate into "white culture." And I just thought that was weird.
It was even weirder on a professional level with magazines like Cosmopolitan and Vogue who were strictly about hiring wasting away heroin addicts. So with that in mind, I wanted to talk about what the brothers think about their women. And it was kind of cool because a lot of black women understood the song and the real message behind it while a lot of other people just thought that it was a cool song to dance to. If I had approached it from a more serious angle it wouldn't have been as successful, I had to make it tongue in cheek to get the message across.
So you had to pull the wool over their eyes a little bit?
Exactly, a lot of artists nowadays have a tendency to act so self-important. Honestly, nobody gives a damn about what you think about politics, no one gives a damn about your opinion on global warming...just shut up and give me a cool song! I realized early on that yes, I can make some points here and there but the bottom line is that I am an entertainer and people want to have fun. So I had to make the song fun enough to be tolerable.