Sir Mix-a-Lot in December 2006
|Birth name||Anthony Ray|
August 12, 1963 |
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, songwriter, producer|
|Years active||1983–2003, 2010–present|
|Labels||Nastymix/Ichiban, American Recordings, Artist Direct/BMG|
Anthony Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American rapper and recording producer. He is best known for his hit song "Baby Got Back". Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, he grew up in Seattle’s Central District and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1981. Early on, Sir Mix-A-Lot had an ear and a passion for music. Soon after high school he began DJing parties at local community centers. By 1983 Mix-A-Lot had begun playing weekends regularly at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in South Seattle. Soon he moved locations and started throwing his parties at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club in the Central District. It was there that he met ‘Nasty’ Nes Rodriguez, a local radio DJ and host of Fresh Tracks, the West Coast’s first rap radio show on Seattle station KKFX (KFOX).
Growing up Ray's mother worked as an LPN at the King County Jail making 6 or 7 dollars an hour. While living in the housing projects at 19th and Yesler, Anthony Ray started school in the Central District at Roosevelt High School while Seattle Public Schools was in the throes of what would be a 21-year experiment to integrate the school system. Students were bused from their neighborhoods to schools on the other end of the city. From 1978, when the busing program started, to 1999, when it was shelved, minorities carried the burden of busing, piling onto buses from the South End and the Central Area that were headed for predominantly white schools in the North End.
Ray said he knew that some North End residents didn’t want black kids bused into their neighborhoods. But for him, the experience offered respite from the projects. “I’ve heard things like, ‘Forced integration is not good,’ ‘I want my kid to be able to go to school in our community; that’s why we moved here’ – all those things I totally understand,” he said. “But from my perspective, I didn’t have the luxury of living in a neighborhood where a good school was. We didn’t make that kind of money. So from my perspective, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.” A music teacher at Eckstein Middle School introduced Ray to the possibility of a music career. He went on to stardom, winning a Grammy – as Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Sir Mix-a-Lot and his partner, Nasty Nes, founded the Nastymix record label in 1983. Mix-a-Lot's first hit, released in 1987, was the single "Posse on Broadway," whose title referred to Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill district near where he had grown up. The "Godzilla" remix of "Posse on Broadway" contained a sample from David Bowie's 1975 hit "Fame," but neither the album version nor the original seven-inch edit, which was used for the video, used the Bowie sample. The song made the Top 100 but quickly disappeared, although it remains popular in the Seattle area for its references to many local landmarks.
Swass, Sir Mix-a-Lot's debut album, was released in 1988 with two other singles: "Square-Dance Rap" and a hip hop cover of the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" backed by the band Metal Church. In 1990, the Recording Industry Association of America certified Swass platinum.
Seminar, released in 1989 featured "My Hooptie", "Beepers", "Gortex" and "I Got Game".
In 1991, Sir Mix-A-Lot signed to the Def American label, which also bought the rights to his first two albums, and released his third album Mack Daddy in 1992. The single "Baby Got Back" was a number-one hit that went double platinum and won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. MTV aired the music video for the song only during evening hours because of what they termed "its sexual nature".
In 1994, he released Chief Boot Knocka and the album reached #69 on the Billboard 200 and #28 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. The album featured the hit single "Put 'Em On The Glass." "Just Da Pimpin' in Me" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance but lost to "Let Me Ride" by Dr. Dre. He eventually went on to appear as the regular host of the short-lived UPN anthology drama series The Watcher.
When his 1996 album, Return of the Bumpasaurus, was only given a low label promotion, leading to lackluster sales, Sir Mix-a-Lot left the American label. During the time off, he worked closely with another group, The Presidents of the United States of America under the group name "Subset" with a combination of rock and rap music, but nothing was ever officially released.
In 2008, Sir Mix-a-Lot appeared on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken singing a song entitled, "Table Be Round". It was sung in the style of his famous song "Baby Got Back", but in reference to King Arthur's creation story of the Round Table. He also voiced politician Hans Blix and singer Stevie Wonder in the season 3 finale.
In 2010, Sir Mix-a-Lot announced his next album, Dun 4got About Mix. The lead single "Carz" was released to YouTube on 23 Nov 2010. By June 2011, the video had acquired over a million views, although no release date for the album has been set. In the same year, his F.U.B.A.R. Remix for the song Conditions Of My Parole appeared on Puscifer's remix album All Re-Mixed Up.
In 2013, Sir Mix-a-Lot produced the album "Dream" for the urban rock band Ayron Jones and the Way. Mix-a-Lot opened for Ayron Jones and the Way for their album release party at Neumos on November 2. Also in 2013, Sir Mix-a-Lot promoted the Washington State Lottery over the Christmas season, with advertisements featuring his music appearing on Spotify.
On June 6, 2014, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated and performed with the Seattle Symphony on a new composition by Gabriel Prokofiev as part of the symphony's Sonic Evolution series of new orchestral pieces inspired by Seattle's music icons.
In 2014, Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj released the single "Anaconda", which prominently featured samples from "Baby Got Back." Sir Mix-a-Lot praised both the artist and the song, calling it the "new and improved version" of "Baby Got Back."
In March 2016, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated with TNT and LK on the track and video, "Streets Don't Love Me".
As of July 2016, Sir Mix-a-Lot has his own radio show based in Fresno, CA. He currently owns multiple residences, including one in his native Pacific Northwest where has continued to maintain a strong presence performing at local venues in the neighborhoods where he grew up.
He appeared in an episode of Season 4 of BoJack Horseman playing himself.
Sir Mix-a-Lot provides narration and commentary in Wheedle's Groove, a 2009 documentary about the Seattle 1960s and 70s funk and soul scene.
- Swass (1988)
- Seminar (1989)
- Mack Daddy (1992)
- Chief Boot Knocka (1994)
- Return of the Bumpasaurus (1996)
- Daddy's Home (2003)
- "Going Way Back A Brief History of 206 Hiphop". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- "Sir Mix-A-Lot / Ray, Anthony". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- "Sir Mix-a-Lot Biography". Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "Busing Blues". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- Huey, Steve (2003). "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Sir Mix-A-Lot – Charts & Awards – Grammy Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Kaufman, Gil (2003-08-01). "Sir Mix-A-Lot Hoping Baby's Got Comeback". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Martins, Chris. "Sir Mix-a-Lot's Puscifer Remix Laces 'Conditions of My Parole' With Noisy Wubs". SPIN. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- "Washington's Lottery - Happy Holidays Lottery". Walottery.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Cross, Charles R. (2014-06-07). "Sir Mix-A-Lot had a lot of fun with Seattle Symphony". Seattletimes.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Coleman, Miriam (2014-04-09). "Sir Mix-a-Lot to Perform Classical Music Version of 'Baby Got Back' With Seattle Symphony". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Zak Burns (2014-04-10). "Sir Mix-A-Lot hit gets the Seattle Symphony treatment - Local News". MyNorthwest.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- "Nicki Minaj - Anaconda". YouTube.com. 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- Harling, Danielle (2014-08-12). "Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" Dubbed New & Improved "Baby Got Back" By Sir Mix-A-Lot | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
- "TNT X Sir Mix-A-Lot X LK - Streets Don't Love Me". YouTube.com. 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
- "Wheedle's Groove | 2010 Seattle International Film Festival | Jennifer Maas | USA - Films". Siff.net. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
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