Sir Mix-A-Lot has some theories why his hit song “Baby Got Back” is still popular, 30 years after its release.
The rapper told Fox News Digital “there’s a lot of happenstance… a lot of luck,” adding “you can have the biggest song in the world” but if there is nothing special surrounding it, it won’t go anywhere.”
“‘Baby Got Back,’ at its peak, was banned from MTV or relegated to after 9 o’clock. Whatever, I call that banned,” he recalled. “That may have gave the song legs because every person that was probably maybe teen through 25 at that time remembers themselves as being the forbidden fruit at any time. Go back to the ’60s. Everybody in the ’60s felt like they were the forbidden fruit. And those ’60s songs last to this day.”
Sir Mix-A-Lot says he knew “the whole time” the song would be a success, he just got lucky, adding, “I really appreciate it. Knock on wood.”
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When it comes to today’s music and the increase in popularity among female rappers, Sir Mix-A-Lot says he’s “not the grumpy old man” sitting around wondering “how could these girls do that?” He celebrates their achievements.
“I’m glad that people have kind of allowed this type of beauty to be witnessed publicly,” he said. “If I came out after Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B and Nicki Minaj and those guys, ‘Baby Got Back’ wouldn’t have happened. I would have probably just been an artist.”
Now, in partnership with Chex Mix, the rapper has remixed his popular song, changing the words to “Bagel Chip is Back” to celebrate the return of bagel chips in a snack bag. He had a great time collaborating with General Mills, calling it a “cool company to work with.”
“I wasn’t squelched in any way. Those guys weren’t going, ‘Can you not be you,’ which is what most brands do I work with,” he explained. “We work with brands, and it’s like, ‘Can you be less hip hop, and can you not wear a necklace, and can you not say ain’t and maybe say aren’t?’ And they didn’t do that. They allowed me to be me while at the same time getting the message across.”
One thing he appreciated about working with the brand is it got to know him as an artist, and he got to know the company before starting to work with it.
“I just don’t like working with companies that just hire you. I want to feel the culture,” he said.
Aside from partnering with Chex Mix, Sir Mix-A-Lot is working to help get music venues in Seattle back on their feet after COVID-19 shut them down for a year, putting them at risk of permanently closing their doors.
“We got together with a bunch of other people and raised some money. It went on for about 18 months, and we saved about 65-70% of the clubs we were trying to save,” the rapper said. “So because those clubs — me, Pearl Jam, all the way back to Hendrix — those clubs gave birth to us. And for us to turn our backs on them would be ridiculous.”
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The rapper says many of his musical influences come from the time period he mentioned when all the artists were considered “forbidden fruit,” citing James Brown and “Clyde Stubblefield, the guy that played drums for James Brown.”
“That’s where the ‘Funky Drummer’ came from, which is probably the most sampled song in hip hop history,” he said. “But it’s also where ‘Cold Sweat’ came from that got me in trouble in high school because I used to always beat on the tables with my hands because it wasn’t a boom pat, boom, boom, boom. I used to love that kind of stuff.”
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One of his biggest influences, however, was the German band Kraftwerk who “were doing all this electronic stuff. … I realized I didn’t need a band at that point, and that’s what got me into it,” adding Prince was also a big influence because he “went completely pop and didn’t give a damn what you thought about it.”