It’s been nearly 20 years since Sir Mix-a-Lot released his double-Platinum single “Baby Got Back.” Now, in a recent interview with the Village Voice, the Seattle rapper and producer – born Anthony Ray – re-vists the tracks and clears up a few misconceptions about the meaning of song.
Although many listeners have come to view the song as an ode to plus-size women, Ray indicates that he was actually referring to curvy “coke bottle” women, more akin to Shakira, J.Lo and even Marilyn Monroe. At the same time, however, he says he doesn’t discount larger women as worthy mates; rather, he says the song was intended to be a jokey, shallow celebration of curves.
“[I]f somebody asked me what I had in mind when I did it, it would definitely be someone like Shakira,” he explained. “J. Lo at her peak. That is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the dumbbell shape. The coke bottle. I have friends of mine – like white friends of mine – that say, “White guys just don’t like that.’ And I say, ‘There was a time that you did’ – that’s why Marilyn Monroe is considered beautiful. There was a time when you liked curves, and a woman looking like a woman and not a heroin addict. Now, if a girl is anything over 15 pounds we think she’s fat, which is funny.”
He later added, “It’s not that you don’t love a girl that’s heavy-set, that’s not what I’m saying. I just think that some people confuse the ideal. I get into that a lot, when [people are] like, ‘Well, isn’t that what you like?’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, I can fall in love with any woman. But if we’re being strictly shallow here, I’d have to say it’s the coke bottle.'”
Ray also discussed the racial implications of the song. He said that a greater majority of white listeners enjoyed the track than black listeners, who he says viewed it as a non-issue. He also said that he finds it interesting that the definition of a beautiful posterior has changed so drastically since the ’80s, with more white women looking to bulk up that area of their bodies than ever before.
“Obviously, more white people like the song than black,” he said. “Black people kind of view ‘Baby Got Back’ as like, ‘Oh, yeah, we already knew that.’ It’s not even an issue to them. They wouldn’t even think to sing about it. Whereas white guys are kind of like, ‘Yeah, finally!'”
He added, “I go to LA Fitness now, and the first thing that I notice is that every girl who comes in is like, ‘I want to build this up’ and they’re always pointing at their ass. Think about that? Going back to the ’80s, you would never have a white girl being like, ‘I really want to pump this up.’ They usually wanted to get rid of it, which, I never understood that.”