Anthony Ray, better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American MC and producer based in Seattle, Washington. The founder of the Nastymix record label, he debuted in 1988 with Swass. Sir Mix-a-Lot is best known for his 1992 album Mack Daddy and its Grammy Award-winning single "Baby Got Back."
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I'm a guy that does a lot of music that makes you look at your body in a different way, yeah... the quintessential "ass man." You can visit me on my official site http://sirmixalot.com/ and on Twitter @TheRealMix and instagram @TheRealSirMixALot (somebody stole @TheRealMix, those bastards), and if you type in "Sir Mix-A-Lot" you'll find me on Facebook.
Victoria's gonna be helping me out today over the phone. AMA.
UPDATE: Basically, well I'd love to come back and do this again. I love my questions open and candid. And I'm not too pretty for ya, so anytime you want to talk, let's do it.
Did you expect Baby Got Back to become as big as it did?
OH HELL NO.
As a matter of fact - when I did Baby Got Back - initially it was a slow song like Posse on Broadway, which was my hit prior to Baby Got Back. And then I decided to make a fast version, it was the second to the last song, and I didn't like it, I thought it was going to piss everybody off. And Rick Rubin said he loved it, Ricardo said he loved it, I said what the hell, and we put it out...and to show you how much I didn't think it was going to hit, I selected a song called "One Time's Got No Case" and we shot a video for it, all this stuff, I thought that was going to be the hit, and it just flopped. So I shut my mouth, let the pros do what they do, and Rick was right!
Hello Sir, I have two questions. Does liking big butts and being honest come hand in hand? Should the ladies still call 1-900-MIX-A-LOT or has the number changed?
1-900-MIX-A-LOT has been disconnected permanently! We didn't do the age limit thing, so we got kicked out of there. And as far as liking big butts and being honest, that was the case when I was young, and as you get older, you have to fib a little bit, standards get a little lower. You might meet a girl, her butt might sag a little bit, but you tell her it's nice anyways. As you get older, you can't be picky.
What were your views on Nicki Minaj's new song? Did you feel honoured for someone in todays music industry to bring back your song and use it in a creative way?
Or was it more like "what in the blue hell?"
It's amazing how people - I guess maybe because they're not in the industry - but how people think I should be mad about the song. I think it's cool, she took part of the song, she made a Nicki Minaj song. I love the track, I have fun listening to the track, it's crazy as hell, and for a guy who likes butts, how can i look at the video and say I don't like it? I say more power to it. Go Nicki Go!
I have an issue getting my vocals to stand out in a rather chaotic mix. What would you suggest as a method of bringing them out, Sir Mix-A-Lot?
This is the track I'm working on. I appreciate the input from all the different producers. The struggle is getting the vocals to sit in the fray around 45 sec. Parallel compression helped a little bit but now my issue is the vocals are too hot outside of the drop. Any input is super appreciated ^.^
I always say - chaotic mix sounds like you have some things in competing frequencies. So look at where your vocals resonate, in the frequency spectrum, and I would say - roll out the bottom in a little bit - once you find where your vocals resonate, if it's competing with guitars in the same space, get those frequencies that compete with your vocals out. If you turn the vocals up you'll kill your mix. Equalization is far more powerful when you use it in a SUBTRACTIVE way, not additive. Pull some of those frequencies out that are competing with your vocal. Great question.
Sir Mix-A-Lot, what is something you're very fond of and not afraid to lie about?
Money. OOHHH you thought I was gonna say butts, didn't you?!
Hey Sir, if you could collaborate with any three (living) artists, who would they be?
Thanks for doing this! "Baby Got Back" is one of the few songs that I know all the words to!
OOOH, WOW. LIVING ARTISTS... I'd say... this is gonna sound weird - KORN (i love Korn)... Gary Numan... and probably - I was gonna say Prince, but that might be difficult, he would like take over the studio- and Madonna.
Madonna, Gary Numan and Korn.
If I did side bends and sit ups, and inadvertently lost my butt, would you still talk to me?
Edit: side bends instead of push ups
Yes. Especially if you're a concert promoter or you want to do a publishing deal.
What was your biggest "holy shit I'm famous" moment early in your career?
Um, oh I remember this well. We were in Panama City, Florida, and we were doing a tour where we were being paid minimum amounts per night, Baby Got Back had only been released a few weeks earlier. So we hit Panama City, and the club owner - while I'm making a video - tells me my song went number one - and you can hear me saying "What?!" on the tape, I didn't believe him.
And next door to the club is a hotel, each room had a balcony, and the balcony was FULL - each balcony was just full of people yelling out my name and holding up NUMBER ONE signs. We took out some big hits and some big people, like Mariah Carey, that was huge.
With a name featuring the word "mix", does it bother you that you're known more for singing than spinning?
It doesn't bother me at all. I started out as a DJ, and realized, real quickly, that my hands weren't as fast as some of these other DJs, so I figured out that I had to do something else in hiphop culture. Be who you are, and let other people figure it out for themselves, that's the way I live.
Congratulations on having made a song that's been remembered for generations! What's your favorite song, not counting any of yours?
OOOH. WOW. My favorite song, like EVER EVER EVER EVER?
I don't know! I don't have any one song I listen to. You know what?
James Brown's Cold Sweat. Just throwing that out there. I know every little "uh," "huh," and "HUH" in that song. He did a lot of gruntin' in his songs.
Has another brother ever tried to deny? Or are they no longer "brother status"?
Many brothers have tried to deny. Therefore, they have been kicked out of the brotherhood.
You cannot be a brother if you deny red beans & rice, or chicks with nice asses.
Hello! My question has two parts.
How do you feel about Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back, and did you have any feelings about how Glee covered his cover, but didn't give him any credit?
You know, it's funny, I remember watching that and being real hesitant to comment on it. I love Jonathan's cover, and what happened is when Glee stole it, I loved the way he torched them! He gave it away for free and trumped it. So even though they covered the cover, I think he ended up winning in the end.
On a scale from one to ten, how much do you still like butts?
Um...I think eleven? More or less. I mean - I'm sitting here with a woman right now, if you saw her ass, it looks like a sculpture, it's just so beautiful. OH MY GOODNESS. I would pay to smell her farts. You should see this thing.
Being that you are the leading expert on butts and buttology, who would you say holds the current title for best butt? How about all time butt champion?
OOH HOO HOO. MAN. You know - I haven't seen Buffy the Body in a long time- OOH yes. She would hold the title, but I don't know how she's looking like now. If Buffy the Body could be seen, I could give you an answer, but until I see her now, I can't give you an answer.
Are you still doing shows at all? If so are you going to go back to PCB or anywhere in NW Florida?
You know, I haven't been down there in a long time. We got close - we did a run in Dallas, then Little Rock, Birmingham - we got real close on our last run - we had a couple of offers in Florida but the money was way low. But yes I still tour, often.
How do you feel about Capital Hill going Hipster? Could your possee still hang out on Broadway?
My posse is no longer on Broadway and you're right. Capitol Hill has changed. You had to make sure you had your strap (that's your gun, for the impaired) and you had to be conscious, you had to put your head on a swivel. And nowadays, you just take 100 bucks, go up on Capitol Hill, and you buy one cupcake and a cup of coffee. And you're broke. That's my Capitol Hill, and I love it, but DAMN those cupcakes cost a lot of money.
Dear Mr. Sir Mix-A-Lot,
Praise: I'm 38 and I still know almost every lyric on Seminar, which I probably recite a good portion of each week in response to something... so mission accomplished - you're etched into my psyche.
Question: This has been on my mind for the past 25yrs: Is the 69 Buick still rollin'?
I no longer own my '69 Buick, hardcore dip, Exorcist vomit green. Nor do I miss that car, I had to put 2 gallons of water in it every morning just to get it to work.
You made me feel good about my big ass growing up, so thanks for that. Skinny models were kind of in then so I think it helped lots of women feel proud of a different body type
What album are you listening to now?
I'm all over the place. Nobody really listens to albums anymore... golly, I listen to a lot of weird stuff right now. Like there's a group out of the Bay, i listen to a lot of their stuff. I have like 10,000 songs! I have so many songs, I'm all over the place. GOL-LY. You know who I really like? Janelle Monae, I love that kind of stuff. If Jay-Z does ANYTHING on a microphone, I have a tendency to get it. The last Ice Cube album I really liked. I don't buy something because it's super popular, I buy something because I like it.
Can you please tell me how you felt the first time you watched the music video for "Baby Got Back"?
Truly a masterpiece
Well, you know, it's funny - it's kind of weird because that was the first major production I'd been to. I'd done videos, but prior to that, I'd done nothing major, so to see the finished project was a little surprising, and as an artist - I was shocked and flattered, I almost blushed, not that I was ashamed of it, but it put all eyes on me, which was very uncomfortable initially (still is, a little bit).
Can I get your buttermilk biscuit recipe?
Here we go:
That's my recipe, right there.
will you be on comedians in cars getting coffee?
You know, that's a good question. Maybe I'm just not funny enough! hahahaha.
What is your view on turntablism vs controllerism?
You know, that's a good question. There's a guy on YouTube, a lot of people don't respect the electronic side of music- there's a guy on youtube - called something like ArabMusik - he's an incredible DJ with drum machines, he's good, he's fast. But I still love turntablism - people crack me up when they talk about matching beats. I love it when DJs incorporate Serato, drum machines, synathizers, isotope stutter, I love it - I think you should mix both of them. But turntablism, to me, is something I miss about hiphop - it was the equivalent of the guitar solo in rock & roll. And now I miss it, a lot, honestly.
Hello Sir Mix-A-Lot and welcome to Reddit!
I just came by to ask: what's your favourite flavour of ice cream, and who was your idol/hero when you were growing up?
Thanks for doing this AMA! :)
My favorite flavor of ice-cream is BLACKBERRY. I have no fucking idea as to why. And I don't like blackberry pie or blackberry anything else, just ice cream.
And as far as growing up - who were my heroes? That's a good question. Probably my mom, I know it sounds corny. Now don't get me wrong, when I was growing up there were some pimps that would have been my heroes, but my mom wouldn't allow it. I used to look at pimps and be like "Wow...that's what I want to do." SMACK! I won't allow it! said my mom. So my mom, definitely.
Who voiced the girl in "baby got back"?
Sir Mix-A-Lot, you're the man.
You're transported back in time and find yourself in the 1950s.
Who would you spend the next couple decades collaborating with?
The 1950s or 60's? OH YES. A young James Brown - oh, without question! Can you imagine where he was then, just trying to find himself? That would be INCREDIBLE. Not Elvis! James Brown Baby!
Greetings, Sir. As a fellow car nut, I'm curious...what's your dream car, and what's your favorite car from your personal collection?
My dream car - I'mma give you 3. One dream car, one car i expect to have in the near future, and my favorite car I have right now.
My dream car, obviously: a Bugatti. That would be my dream. The reason I won't buy one: two million dollars, and costs as much as a Lear Jet to maintain. YES. So Bugatti, fantasy car, if you want to buy me one, I'll take it.
The car I'm probably going to own in the near future: Lamborghini Aventador. I'm thinking either off-black or mono ray blue.
My McLaren. I have a McLaren MP4-12C, everybody just calls it a 12C. And that's my favorite right now. When I get that Aventador, that's going to change.
What's the most interesting thing you've been able to do that no one would have suspected you wanted to do?
Honestly, electronics. When I say "electronics" i don't mean that I sit around with filaments, I build high-voltage power supplies. I've been dabbling with electronics since I was 13 years old, I don't mean digital stuff, which is easy, I mean actual electronics, wiring, capacitors, a lot of inductors, creating my own inductors, building transformers, I've been doing that since I was a kid. I also run a CNC machine. I love that thing too. It's a computer numeric control, that's what it's called.
Which city you've toured in has left the best impression with you?
That's a good one too!
Oooh. Man. I have to say - New Orleans (pre-Katrina, which is when I thought New Orleans culture was really deep), San Diego (like Seattle with permanent sunshine), and probably... Las Vegas, Nevada, would be number one. I find excuses - if I have to use a bathroom, I go to Las Vegas!
What do you think of Niki Minaj's Anaconda? Was there any special steps she had to go through to sample your music?
The usual steps is all she had to go through, but I like the song, i think it's fun. She has 180something million views right now, and I think I sucked up at least 2 million myself.
Do you collect royalties every time BGB is played at a wedding (which is EVERY deejayed wedding, if you didn't know)?
You know, if I did, I would probably have Bill Gates money! HA!
Do you have any advice for a creative person pursuing a dream?
Welcome to reddit, and thanks for the AMA.
Yes, I always tell people: stay as original as you can. Because many times I work with new artists, and I notice that many times they listen to what's hot on the radio right now, and they mimic it, or copy it. But the problem with that is that many times, by the time YOUR song comes out, that style is done. And so I always recommend any person that is really wanting to be creative - yeah, you have to know what is going on around you, but that's it. Don't sit around trying to listen to other people's records trying to copy them, because that never works, ever.
What do think of how the Seattle hip hop scene has evolved since your day as its front man? Who are your favorite guys to come out of the 206 recently?
You know, I love where Seattle hiphop has gone. Of course, all hiphop is like that - Seattle hiphop used to be all about battling, and I thought we needed to be a bit more together to help that flourish. SO I think guys like the Blue Scholars, Common Market, obviously Macklemore, I think Macklemore in my opinion - not only did he take Seattle music forward, but he really elevated the conversation in hiphop. He talked about things that were taboo. Like homosexuality, it was almost like dinosaurs, when it comes to homosexuality hiphop was almost like dinosaurs, something we were uncomfortable talking about, and Macklemore opened that door - beautifully, I might add.
What happened to make you not like flying?
Haha! We were on a flight coming into Atlanta, maybe like a 737, and we were in a holding pattern. And just to set the scene, I had some guys in my crew then who were ex-Gangbangers, these were hard motherfuckers, you know? So we hit this air pocket from hell, and I'm not exaggerating here, but I had a small shot glass full of orange juice. Now this doesn't sound like a lot, but imagine the force it takes to do this: okay, my orange juice lifted up maybe only 1/4 inch in ONE SOLID MASS.
Think about that for a minute.
It dropped SO HARD that my orange juice came completely up OFF of the glass in one mass and then just like that it was over.
When I looked behind me, all those hardcore gangbangers were praying.
After that, I was done with airplanes.
Hello Sir! Any production tips for a young, amateur producer such as myself?
Because that's what I really love. I always tell people "it doesn't matter what digital solution you use - make sure that you don't buy so many tools to where you lose the creative process." What I mean by that: i have so many go-to pieces in my studio at one time that I couldn't even finish a song because I wanted to tweak every knob, so I could listen to every reverb...and what I found is that in the end I had something that sounded like soup, because it had too many effects. So purchase what you NEED as a young produce,r and if you want to find out what you need, go onto Youtube because YouTube is a good place to research gear, before I buy any gear I go and see if there are any reviews by shows like The Recording Revolution - this guy has a great ear, and he can give you pointers - you can produce a record now for minimum amounts of money. You have these old fucks, like my age that say you need expensive stuff to make a record - that's bullshit.
I'm 36" 24" 36" and 5'3"... but I'm told I have a small "white girl" butt even though in actually latina. Do you think that the standards have changed with the Jennifer Lopez types now in the media?
Oh, definitely. J-Lo was the first famous butt. But J-Lo doesn't have a skinny white girl butt, Noooo. J-Lo was the original, I think. She was right there through the whole thing. To me, she was the first girl to openly make butts beautiful, in my opinion. They say Selina had a nice butt too.
I have one word of wisdom, well, 3 words: heavy. weight. squats.
Thanks for having the AMA! What do you think is the world's greatest butt-related song?
That's a good question. Probably - I dunno. I'd have to say - of course I'm not gonna select my own. But "Back that ass up" was kind of powerful.
Who is/was your favorite member of N.W.A?
Yo Mix! Thanks for coming to talk with us.
On one hand, it's got to feel great to know that a song of yours is going to be played, heard, and remembered for decades and decades (probably longer, it's a piece of the American music canon at this point!). You got immortality, man.
On the other hand, do you have any negative feelings about being remembered mainly as "the guy who did that Big Butts song', instead of your other accomplishments?
No, it doesn't bother me at all. Here's my thing: i see a lot of artists that have hit records. And then for some reason, after they've gotten all that money from the record, they go on a campaign to diss the very record that made them rich. I think that's ignorant. That's one of the stupidest business models I've ever seen in my life.
Imagine this: McDonalds comes out with a commercial saying "We hate hamburgers." It makes no sense!
What I did: I figured if people are going to see me because of Baby Got Back, use it as a promotional tool - I wired my whole studio, I do production, but don't resent the very song that made you famous. A lot of artists do that, and they really should be ashamed of themselves.
Who's had the largest butt you've ever dated and what do you think about fake butts?
Well, let's just say - I can't say her name here, but largest butt I've ever dated is OH MY GOD, you should see this thing. If I was a cartoon illustrator, I would draw her right now. My GOD, that ass is INCREDIBLE. It's like somebody just stuck two basketballs on the back of her! As she's walking away, it's like each cheek is saying "Uh-huh."
And what do I think about Facebook? Oh, fake butts. If you pay for it, you own it. That's the way I see it. Isn't that what girls say about wigs? If you pay for it, you own it. I never touched one, I want to grab one, see what it feels like.
in 1989, did you really buy your number 2 home in seattle for $100K? you must've KILLED IT in real estate.
also, what are Maharaji and Kevin and Larry up to?
HAHA - well, you know what's funny, every home I purchased, I've purchased in a down market. In 1989, I purchased a home in a down market, and the second home was only $106K, they had assumable loans, which means you could assume someone else's payments, so I bought it under an assumable loan for $106,000, and right now - I kept that home too, right now that home is worth $450-500K. And I bought another home for about $360K that's probably worth at least $630,000 right now. And then I bought my last home, which I bought back in 2009 in the middle of another down market, I bought that one for $855K and I had it appraised 6 months ago for almost $1.7 million.
It's simple for me- don't buy shit when it's overpriced. It's not even high-tech stuff, just stuff I learned from the first experience.
You know, Kevin is living in Las Vegas, he was my childhood friend, he's probably doing something crazy now. Maharaji is still up in Seattle, and I haven't seen Larry in AGES. Last time I saw Larry, it was probably 15 years ago.
So, admittedly, you cannot lie.
Has this ever gotten you into some trouble? Maybe in coordination with some big butts?
OOH Gosh that question keeps coming up, doesn't it.
I can lie, I just can't lie about asses.
Who wins a no hold barred rap battle. You, Rakim, or Eazy-E?
Rakim. Rakim is the KING. PLEASE.
That's hiphop royalty! Nobody beats Rakim!
Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized butt, or 100 duck-sized butts?
I'd probably take the one big one. Yeah. The other ones could attack from too many angles.
Being from Seattle how did you feel about it being such an important musical town in the late 80s/early 90s?
Well, you know, I'm proud of it. In the early days, you had a lot of people coming from Seattle who didn't admit they were from there - but you look at guys like Quincy Jones, George Benson, Ray Charles picked up a lot of licks in Seattle, obviously Jimi Hendrix, not to mention the grunge era with Pearl Jam, Nirvana... the list goes on and on. Seattle's a music town baby!
I'm sure I can't afford it but just so I don't have to wonder... how much would it take for you to come play a party at my house in the LBC? I'd love to party with Sir Mix-A-Lot!
Party in the LBC! Well, you know, if you got enough paper - we can do anythang - hahah! I'm in the LBC all the time, we can party for free if you catch me down there.
Hey there Sir! Been a fan of yours since the early 90s. Who is your favorite act to come out of the Seattle area, after you blew it up and put on the map?
Wow. That's interesting. Hmm. I think the Presidents of United States of America and Macklemore, those are two of the ones that came after me.
Thanks for doing this... I'd like to ask you about older, unreleased tracks like Kings of the Westside, Suburbian Nightmare and others? Why haven't we been able to see some of these unreleased tracks on iTunes or released via CD?
Well, Kings of the Westside was about the Seattle Supersonics, and it was the second one I did, I did one before it, that was just HORRIBLE. But if I released it now, half of these cats would be like "What the fuck is a Supersonics" and Suburbian Nightmare was for a movie called Amos & Andrew. It was on the soundtrack and in the movie with Nicolas Cage and Samuel L. Jackson in it, in the early years.
Is your posse still on Broadway?
Posse got old!
Did you ever work with Tone Loc?
I've done a lot of touring with Tone Loc, we never did a song together, but a lot of touring. Nice dude, one of the nicest dudes you could ever meet.
What's your favorite animal?
A dog. A nasty dawg.