Every once in a great while a song comes along that defines a generation. A song that teaches us something. A song that breaks down barriers of race, class, gender, and sexuality. (My grad school homies call that intersectionality. And I would too, if it was 1997! Just kidding grad school friends, if you’re out of your hovels long enough to read this!! And I can make that joke because 1) I have friends in grad school. Or had. And (2) I was edu-ma-cated in grad school meself!) A song that is truly important. A song that helps people of all genders and races interact with one another and get along, at least on the dance floors, in the parks, and on the streets where this song wistfully floats on the breeze like a siren song. Unfortunately, since 1992, this song has been Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Sir Mix-a-Lot? Woah. Come on now, fella. Duke, lord and admiral were taken I guess. I’m not sure you can be called Sir if you publicly refer to your junk as an anaconda.
Anacondas across the world were all like, “Oh no he di-int. Who does this Little Lord Sir Mixingpot think he is? If that fine lord sir is ever in a river whereth I slither, as god anaconda as my witness, I shalleth consume his entire body.” Note: Anacondas are hip to (kinda) current slang but lean toward dated formal language. And like your grandma, they just can’t get the names of those hippity hop artists right. True story. Side note: Sir Mix-a-Lot is from Seattle. And Seattle is proud of that. I know, right? No seriously, dude is important to Seattle hip hop. Here’s his Seattle classic, “Posse on Broadway.”
Great video for it’s scenes of late 80s Seattle. Best line, “I’m the man they love to hate / The J.R. Ewing of Seattle.” Gotta love a song that references Dallas. And I think Larry the white guy, the funny real estate investor? I think he was probably responsible for all the condos in Ballard. Inside joke for my Seattle readers! Ha!
As you can see, with “Baby Got Back” Sir Mix-a-Lot makes his intentions quite clear. In case you didn’t know he was referring to asses, he raps on a large foam ass, he has novelty asses floating across the screen (Mad props for using pears, tomatoes, oranges and lemons to better illustrate his point. Dude WAS from Seattle!), and his DJ has one on the record he’s scratching, to help better get his point across. You’re not sure what he means by “sprung”? Here’s a taut spring and a banana to better imply what he’s talking about! It was 1992, so Sir couldn’t be that graphic. Nowadays (I’m old), grandmothers are at the karaoke bar bumping and grinding during the whip parts. Ah, the modern age.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to talk to you about how this song has evolved over the years. Can you believe that this masterpiece is now 18 years old? This means that I have heard “Baby Got Back” for almost HALF of my entire life: almost as long as I knew my grandfather, as long as I lived in the same state as my family. In other words, damn long. “Baby Got Back” hit number one on the Billboard charts in 1992, and won a Grammy for best rap solo performance in 1993. And the song is still going strong. Like Mix A Lot’s love for large asses. Hi oh!
But what most endures about “Baby Got Back” is how goddamn much white people love dancing to it. If you do karaoke or have ever been at a party, you know what I’m talking about. This is not news. And hey, I’m no angel. I’ve ironically danced to it many a day and night, in dorms and frat parties and bars across the US (mainly the Midwest). But I find it’s enduring and evolving popularity interesting and slightly disturbing. It all started as fun, but a new population seems to have picked up on it. And I am opposed.
Does it seem to you like every straight -white person is videotaping every second of their weddings now? Sometimes their videos show the couple’s hip and in the know friends performing choreographed dance routines to “urban music,” while they wear tuxes and dresses and soak in their white heterosexual privilege, grinning from ear to effing ear? Perhaps you are familiar with that famous You Tube video of the wedding dance where the wedding party dances into the church to the tune of Chris Brown’s “Forever”?
Just so you know, that video has 5.4 million hits. Hahaha! Aren’t we hilarious and awesome and of course, it goes without saying, ironic? Le sigh…
The Office did a great parody of it for Jim and Pam’s wedding:
I did think their version was awesome, and the cockles of my heart were warmed by Michael’s face at the end. I’d be thrilled if all my co-workers and supervisors danced down the aisle at my gaywedding. In other news: It’s opposite day!
Also, this just in, straight people! (Let’s be honest: straight women!): Zip it about your wedding. Really. No one cares except you.
But, and getting back to the not so forgotten song at hand, the newest fad amongst wacky just married couples seem to be a hilarious (read: not hilarious) fake setup where the couple starts dancing to some traditional wedding “first dance”
song, and then oh my goodness! Hahaha! Guess what! “Baby Got Back” comes on. Oh my gosh! That is soooooooo funny! Exhibit A:
Hey! I do the sprinkler! Stop doing that!
Also, 1) Is that Matt Lauer and Jessica Simpson? I didn’t know that they’d tied the knot! I hope those crazy kids can make it work! 2) Isn’t it ironic (Don’t ya think?) that this song glorifying voluptuous asses and mocking skinny white women is embraced by said skinny white women? It does indeed appear that even white boys do have to shout. Am I right, guy with the crutches in the background?
Aww! Father of the bride and his little angel start dancing as soon as the word “prostitute” is uttered! That’s sooooooooo sweet! You can see why they did it though. The crowd is so into it when Sir Mix-a-Lot comes on, then returns to their iPhones and non open bar drinks (You’re so cheap, daddy!) when the boring notes of “Unforgettable” start to play.
Exhibit C: And try not to lose your lunch as you watch this bad boy. If you ever watched fake baked (that’s a slur from my high school days right there!) drunken sorority girls in action, you’ll be slightly prepared. And I went to college at large state schools in Missouri, so I know of which I speak, mmkay? Warning: This video goes on for 5 minutes. Five. Minutes. Do NOT watch the whole thing, but if you selectively fast forward, you’ll catch all the good (read: horrible) parts.
Here the angle is that the dance is done by two of the most annoying creatures on earth: bridesmaids! Woooooo! However, it’s another Righteous Brothers bait and switch.
Who knew the bridesmaids would get both so meta and so uncreative. Doing a parody of a famous YouTube video of a wedding dance, and then playing the YouTube video on a pull down screen while they dance. Have faith in your audience, bridesmaids! The video goes on forever, as the rest of the bridesmaids–hungover from the bachelorette party the night before at a dueling piano bar–join in. And memo to that orange woman in white in the background, who consistently screams like a banshee: You make me want to pour poison into my ears.
As time went on, people just got lazy. Copying the song and the moves!
Three things. It seems that the happy couple here: 1) Got married in my grade school cafeteria, 2) Had a transistor radio playing their wedding music, and 3) Were terribly bad dancers. Even the guests we like, “Meh. I liked the YouTube version better.” Come on, heterosexuals. You can do better than this!
As my research continued it seemed that people of color aren’t immune to the fad. In this one, you know it was the bride’s idea though. It’s tooooooooootally one of her favorite songs of like EVER!
I like this video though. They do more of the interpretive dance that Double S and I enjoy doing at the homestead. What? We’re already planning what song we’ll do a wacky and ironic dance to at our gaywedding which isn’t happening. The problem is, a lot of our faves are taken!
The Right Stuff by NKOTB?
Dammit! Taken! But I’ll give them points for a good sport of a dad and creativity. But shouldn’t the bride and groom be dancing to this song? You know, because of the words.
Low by Flo Rida?
Claimed! They kinda have the moves though! But, in 50 years do you want to explain to your robot grandchildren that you danced to that apple bottom jeans song from history class? I think not.
How about a 70-90s song medley?
Taken! Skip to 2:40 for the good parts. Bride does a pretty good MJ, I gotta admit. And the pimped out groom gets into it too. And they have props! This one is my favorite, mainly because I’m a ham who COULD dance in front of my gaywedding guests for 8 minutes and 11 seconds. And of course, “Baby Got Back” is therein. The circle of life.
Double S introduced me to her favorite movie of all time since we’ve been together. So I think we’ll need to be getting to work practicing this little number for our wacky dance. Double S would make a sweet Frances “Baby” Houseman.
Happy Friday everybody!