Baby Got Back
|"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|
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"Baby Got Back", also known as "I Like Big Butts", is a hit song written and recorded by American rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, from his 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 with its outspoken and blatantly sexual lyrics about women, as well as specific references to the female buttocks which some people found objectionable. The video was briefly banned by MTV. "Baby Got Back" has remained popular and even anthemic since it was originally featured on the album Mack Daddy in 1992.
It was the second best-selling song in the US in 1992, behind Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", with sales of 2,392,000 physical copies that year. In 2008, it was ranked number 17 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
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 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 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
This section needs to be updated.(February 2018)
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.
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
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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.
- A 2009 Burger King commercial promoting SpongeBob SquarePants Kids' Meal toys featured a parody called "I Like Square Butts".
- The song is played during the credit sequence of the video game Fat Princess while the player is attacking the staff with a scythe.
- The song also played in the movie Shark Tale.
- The song in the main theme for the Are We There Yet? series episode "The Viral Video Episode".
- This song was used in a The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' sketch aired on June 16, 2014. It consisted of clips of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, edited to create the illusion of him performing the song.
- 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 hun" 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.
- The song featured in an episode of Apple Music's Carpool Karaoke starring Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner. Together they parody the beginning of the song using Sean Bean's distinctive Yorkshire accent.
- A The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode has a rerecorded version of the song when Homer becomes a humongus fat blob, changing the lyrics to "I like big gutts and I can not lie" and making the song about overeating rather than big butts.
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