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"|
|Single by Sir Mix-a-Lot|
|from the album Mack Daddy|
|B-side||"Cake Boy"/"You Can't Slip"|
|Released||May 7, 1992|
|Sir Mix-a-Lot singles chronology|
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.
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.
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 featuring very thin, valley girl-esque models. 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."
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.'"
In the song's prelude there is a conversation between two (presumably) thin, white Valley girls. One girl named Linda (dubbed by Amylia Dorsey) 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 British 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." It is one of two popular rap songs of the era (with 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny") in which her dialogue from the film is featured.
|1.||"Baby Got Back" (album version)||4:25|
|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 awards
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.
Jonathan Coulton cover/Glee cover
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. 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"). 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. 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. 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. 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.
Related songs and allusions
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." 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".
- Spoken word duo Athens Boys Choir has a parody of the song on their album Rhapsody in T called "Tranny Got Pack". An alternative version was performed at a 2006 Washington Mutual retreat in Hawaii.
- When the single was released, an inflatable of an enormous pair of buttocks toured the country to promote it. The inflatable is visible in a parking lot in the 1993 film Falling Down shortly after the Whammy Burger scene.
- Jamie Foxx parodied the song in the TV show In Living Color, the parody is called "Baby Got Snacks".
- The song features heavily in the Friends episode "The One with Ross's Inappropriate Song", in which Ross and Rachel can only make their newborn daughter laugh by singing the song.
- A 2009 Burger King commercial promoting SpongeBob SquarePants Kids' Meal toys featured a parody called "I Like Square Butts".
- The song is also heard in 2002 film, Jackass The Movie, it also appears on the official soundtrack for the film.
- The chorus of Nicki Minaj's 2014 single "Anaconda" heavily samples the song, including the beat, the lyric "My Anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hon" as well as "Oh my, God, look at her butt" in the beginning of the song. The song's closing line, "little in the middle but she got much back", is also sampled. Sir Mix-a-Lot stated his approval for Minaj's song, saying that he had gained "a whole new level of respect for her" and that he had become a "fan for life" of Minaj.
- In June 2014, the Seattle Symphony performed an orchestral rendition of the song, arranged by composer Gabriel Prokofiev, and performed by Sir-Mix-a-Lot.
- Country music artist Joe Nichols had been performing a honky-tonk style cover of "Baby Got Back" in concerts since 2012. In 2017, Nichols decided to record his rendition and include it on his album Never Gets Old. On July 31, 2017, Nichols released a music video for his cover, in which he performs the song for Sir Mix-a-Lot.
- A The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode has a rerecorded version of the song when Homer becomes a huge fat blob, changing the lyrics to "I like big guts and I can not lie" and making the song about overeating rather than big butts.
- In 2005, Christian rapper Dan Smith released a parody of the song called "Baby Got Book". That same year the song was referenced in the Season 5 episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "My Fair Mandy" when Mandy competes in the Little Miss Scurvy Beauty Pageant and Irwin yells to her, "Baby Got Back."
- In Futurama Fry can be seen listening to "Baby Got Back" in the Season 1 episode "A Fishful of Dollars".
|United States (RIAA)||2x Platinum||2,500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- 1992 in music
- Hot 100 number-one hits of 1992 (USA)
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- Canadian peak
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- Dan Smith - Baby Got Book
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