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Baby Got Back

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"Baby Got Back"
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)
  • Sir Mix-a-Lot
Sir Mix-a-Lot singles chronology
"One Time's Got No Case"
"Baby Got Back"
"Swap Meet Louie"
Music video
"Baby Got Back" on YouTube
Audio sample

"Baby Got Back" is a song written, co-produced and recorded by American rapper and songwriter Sir Mix-a-Lot. Released in May 1992 by Def American and Reprise as the second single from his third album, Mack Daddy, the song samples the 1986 Detroit techno single "Technicolor" by Channel One. At the time of its original release, the song caused controversy because of its outspoken and blatantly sexual lyrics objectifying women, as well as specific references to the buttocks, which some people found objectionable. The song's accompanying music video was briefly banned by MTV.[1] Mix-a-Lot defended the song as being empowering to curvaceous women who were being shown skinny models as an ideal for beauty.

"Baby Got Back" topped the US Billboard Hot 100, and spent five weeks atop the chart. It was the second best-selling song in the US in 1992. The song was ranked number 17 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop" in 2008.[2] In October 2023, Billboard ranked it among the "500 Best Pop Songs of All Time".[3]


In the song's prelude there is a conversation between two (presumably) thin, white Valley girls, similar to girl talk in Frank Zappa's "Valley Girl". One girl (dubbed Linda by Amylia Dorsey)[4] 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.

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 buttocks. 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 a 1980s-era Budweiser commercial[5] featuring very thin, Valley girl-esque models with different skin colors. They decided to dedicate a song to the opposite, featuring curvy women of color. Mix and Dorsey sought to "broaden the definition of beauty."[6]

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.'"[7]

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..."

In 2014, according to TMZ, Sir Mix-a-Lot says it was Jennifer Lopez's moves as a Fly Girl on the 90s show In Living Color that first inspired him to write "Baby Got Back".[8]

Critical reception[edit]

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."[9]

J.D. Considine from The Baltimore Sun commented, "In some cases, what's said can be as simple as Sir Mix-a-Lot's assertion 'I like big butts!' in the single 'Baby Got Back'. On the surface, it may seem that all he's doing is expressing an opinion, but there's more to it than Mix-a-Lot's personal preferences. At root, 'Baby Got Back' challenges the dominant standard for physical beauty in our culture, a standard that stresses long legs, slim hips, small buttocks and has no room for women with wide hips or protuberant posteriors. And the fact that 'Baby Got Back' spent five weeks at No. 1 suggests that there are millions who agree with his assessment."[10]

James Bernard from Entertainment Weekly remarked that the song "alternates deftly between a critique of the Cosmo/Playboy narrow-minded – and narrow-hipped – standard of female beauty and a bawdy appreciation of, er, generous rear ends."[11]

In Melody Maker's review of the album, "Baby Got Back" was named "worst of all" and "a hip hop 'Fatty Bum Bum' and – Warning! Warning! – could be a novelty hit."[12]

Mark Coleman from Rolling Stone said the song "celebrates a section of the anatomy long revered by rappers ("beggin' for a piece of that bubble" is a new twist)."[13]

In 2020, Cleveland.com ranked "Baby Got Back" number 24 in their list of the best Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song of the 1990s. They described it as "the novelty song that never went away", adding, "You could put this on at a wedding today and women will recite the opening word for word before the rap breaks in and everyone (and I mean everyone) joins in. Sir Mix-a-Lot was never shy about playing up the song's "playful" nature, rapping on top of a giant butt in the video."[14]

The song has been cited in demonstrating the limitations of the Bechdel test.[clarification needed] It has been described as passing the test because it begins with a valley girl saying to another "Oh my god, Becky, look at her butt!".[15][16][17]

Chart performance and awards[edit]

"Baby Got Back" reached number one on the US 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 ranked number six on VH1's "Greatest Songs of the '90s", and number one on VH1's "Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '90s". In October 2023, Billboard magazine ranked it number 327 in their "500 Best Pop Songs of All Time".[3]

Track listing[edit]

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



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[30] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[36] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[38]
Digital download
Gold 2,077,760[37]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2019, former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin performed the song on Fox's The Masked Singer while dressed as a bear.[39][40] The song was featured briefly in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.

Jonathan Coulton/Glee cover[edit]

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.[41] Coulton performs the song on acoustic guitar with a gentle and tender melody at odds with the lascivious nature of the lyrics.

Coulton's arrangement of the song was used in a 2013 episode of the musical television series Glee without Coulton's knowledge or permission.[42] Coulton publicly lambasted the show's producers, and alleged that they had even lifted elements from his recording,[43] but claimed that Fox responded that "they're within their legal rights to do this, and that [Coulton] should be happy for the exposure", though Coulton pointed out that he was not credited within the episode.[43] Coulton released his cover of "Baby Got Back" to iTunes, labelling it "a cover of Glee's cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song", with proceeds going to charity.[44] Coulton pursued legal charges against the show's producers, but ultimately dropped them, deciding a seeming victory in the court of public opinion was "a good enough win." The controversy was referenced in a season 5 episode of The Good Wife entitled "Goliath and David".[45]

Related songs[edit]

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."[46] 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".[47]

In 2014, Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj sampled "Baby Got Back", including some of its verses, for her hit "Anaconda", from the album The Pinkprint.[48] 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.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baby Got Back Songfacts". Songfacts. Archived from the original on 19 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
  2. ^ Winistorfer, Andrew (2008-09-29). "VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Prefixmag. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ a b "The 500 Best Pop Songs: Staff List". Billboard. 19 October 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  4. ^ "'And I Cannot Lie': The Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' Video". 19 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Spuds McKenzie". youtube.com. August 20, 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "OMG, meet the real 'Becky' from 'Baby Got Back'". usatoday.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Keizer, Brian (September 1992). "Big Buts". Spin. 8 (6): 87–88.
  8. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' Was About". Billboard. 13 November 2014.
  9. ^ Flick, Larry (February 29, 1992). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 72. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Considine, J.D. (1992). "Are today's rock stars just troublemakers or voices of discontent?". The Baltimore Sun. – via Edmonton Journal. (November 11, 1992).
  11. ^ Bernard, James (March 13, 1992). "Mack Daddy". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Push (January 25, 1992). "Albums". Melody Maker. p. 28. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  13. ^ Coleman, Mark (September 30, 2007). "Sir Mix-A-Lot: Mack Daddy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  14. ^ Smith, Tony L. (October 21, 2020). "Every No. 1 song of the 1990s ranked from worst to best". Cleveland.com. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  15. ^ The Bechdel Test, and Other Media Representation Tests, Explained Archived 2018-04-18 at the Wayback Machine, by Nick Douglas, at Lifehacker; published October 10, 2017; retrieved April 17, 2018
  16. ^ This Bechdel Test Simulator Shows How Easy It Is to Predict Who Makes Sexist Movies (Men) Archived 2017-10-17 at the Wayback Machine, by Kara Brown, at Jezebel; published January 15, 2016; retrieved April 17, 2018
  17. ^ Gomez Maureira, M.A.; Rombout, L.E. (2015). "Sonifying Gender Representation in Film". In Chorianopoulos, Konstantinos (ed.). Entertainment Computing – ICEC 2015: 14th International Conference, ICEC 2015, Trondheim, Norway, September 29 – October 2, 2015, Proceedings. Springer. p. 546. ISBN 9783319245898.
  18. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ Canadian peak
  20. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Sir Mix-A-Lot" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  22. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. August 8, 1992. p. 20. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  27. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Sir Mix-a-Lot Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  30. ^ a b "1992 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  32. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 – 1992". Archived from the original on 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  33. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End 1990–1999" (PDF). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  34. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  36. ^ "American single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Recording Industry Association of America.
  37. ^ "Chart: Digital Songs" (PDF). Nielsen Soundscan. June 23, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  38. ^ "American single certifications – Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back". Recording Industry Association of America.
  39. ^ Lewis, Sophie, "Sarah Palin raps 'Baby Got Back' while dressed as a bear, shocking 'The Masked Singer' viewers", cbsnews.com, March 12, 2020. Retrieved 20-11-27.
  40. ^ Lexington (columnist), "The end of the embarrassment", The Economist, November 26, 2020. Retrieved 20-11-27.
  41. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2005-10-15). "Nerd folksinger covers Baby Got Back". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  42. ^ 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.
  43. ^ a b Landau, Elizabeth (2013-01-26). "Singer alleges 'Glee' ripped off his cover song". CNN. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  44. ^ Cantalano, Michele (2013-01-27). "Jonathan Coulton vs. Glee: It's About the Ethics". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  45. ^ Lorre, Rose Maura (7 January 2014). "Jonathan Coulton on Seeing His Glee Flap Play out on The Good Wife". Vulture. New York. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  46. ^ Sir Mix-a-Lot; Caramanica, Jon (October 2000). "Still Bumpin'". Vibe. 8 (8): 82.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ "Sir Mix-A-Lot on Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda,' Booty Fever & New Music". Billboard. September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  49. ^ Nigel, Lezama (March 2019). "Status, Votive Luxury, and Labour: The Female Rapper's Delight". Fashion Studies. 2 (1): 1–23. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  1. ^ The CD maxi-single credits Rubin as Executive Producer

Further reading[edit]