Miguel: Hey, welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I’m Christina.
Christina: Why did you say that?
Miguel: I just felt like it.
Christina: I’m Christina.
Miguel: And I'm Miguel.
Miguel: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I’m Miguel.
Christina: And I’m Christina. And today we’re doing another one of our mini-series. Just like the beef episode, we came up with this idea and realized there were way too many people to talk about. And so we’re going to have to break them up into series. So this new series is called "One Hit Wonders? [question mark]" And the reason for the question mark is there are people and groups out there who have been defined by one major hit.
Miguel: Even though they’ve had more.
Christina: Yes. So maybe they had one commercial hit. And so people who may have not heard of their music have latched onto a certain song, which has created maybe a misrepresentation of their entire career.
Miguel: Right. Kinda like MC Hammer with "Can’t Touch This."
Christina: Right. People kind of know him as the guy dancing in the funny pants.
Miguel: Yeah, or "This is How We do It" with Montell Jordan or Coolio and "Gangsta’s Paradise."
Christina: Right. Even though they’ve all had, solid careers and other hits and stuff, perhaps those hits did not reach the same heights.
Christina: And so it’s kind of mis-characterized their career.
Miguel: When I think one hit wonder, I’m thinking… no offense to anybody I’m about to list here, or if you’re a fan of these people, but I’m talking about people like Skeelo, with "I Wish." Or Tag Team.
Christina: With what? Whoomp? No.
Miguel: No, they’re "Whoomp! (There It Is)." 95 South, the–
Christina: "Whoot, There It Is."
Miguel: The much superior version is "Whoot, There It Is." Or Ahmad’s "Back in the Day." Khia, "My Neck, My Back." Those are people that I consider one hit wonders.
Christina: And then there are people who just had unfortunate circumstances.
Miguel: Yeah. Like Truth Hurts.
Christina: She came out with that banger, So Addictive. And then the sample wasn’t cleared.
Miguel: Whole bunch of legal issues.
Christina: DJ Quik pulling the sample from the TV.
Miguel: And not clearing it. Lawsuits, the whole nine.
Christina: And then she just kinda disappeared. And that one song isn’t even on her album, so...
Miguel: Yeah. So, for this episode of the "One Hit Wonders? [question mark]," we’re going to be talking about Sir Mix-A-Lot, and whether he has more than just "Baby Got Back." And I’m going to argue that he does. So strap in and get ready because we’re going on a ride with Sir Mix-A-Lot today.
Christina: On top of mountains that look like butts.
Miguel: Yeah. Taking a ride on booty mountain today. Oh man.
So what do you think the perception of "Baby Got Back" is in current pop culture?
Christina: Okay. So I think there’s two timeframes for this. There’s before Nicki’s sample.
Christina: I think it’s a beloved song. People genuinely love this song.
Christina: But, I also think they love it because it’s silly. Or it’s seen as silly. And it’s not hard to see it as silly because the video’s ridiculous.
Miguel: The video is way too over the top.
Christina: When he was talking about it in an interview, you know, he wanted to kind of highlight the type of woman–’cause he said he was dating this woman at the time who was very curvy and they were watching TV and saw a commercial of all these skinny women and blah, blah, blah. And he’s just like, this is not who we like and who we are, right? And so, even though the point of the song was to sort of like, celebrate another type of woman, the video was ridiculous, right?
Miguel: It was.
Christina: And then you got the, “oh my God, Becky.” Like, so it’s easy to characterize this song as a silly song. And if you’ve never heard any of his music before or after, or have no interest in hearing all of his music, I think it’s easy to characterize him as a silly rapper or something like that. And you have these two, stereotypical White girls at the beginning. They’re like, "oh my God. Look at her butt." And you know what? I didn’t even catch this until you told me this, not even that long ago, but when the girl's like, "it’s just so, Black!" And all this time, I thought she said "blah!" or something like that.
Miguel: No, she said "it’s so Black!" And they zoom in on her mouth when she says it.
Christina: Yeah. So when I rewatched the video, I was like, how did I miss that? I think just in my mind, it just didn’t occur to me that someone would just say something like that, so blatantly.
Christina: But it’s just funny that a song—even though it’s called "Baby Got Back" and he’s talking about round butts or whatever, he also makes it pretty clear that he’s talking about Black women. Or at least mostly Black women. And so it’s just kind of funny at the same time how this song became like, this huge commercial hit when it’s a song, basically celebrating Black women.
Miguel: Yeah. And ass. It’s a song about ass!
Christina: Which at the time, socially, culturally, White women did not want big asses. So it’s just funny that this became—I guess maybe you, you take what you want from the song. So maybe if you were—
Miguel: That's basically it.
Christina: Yeah. If you were someone who wasn’t stick thin, you’re like, oh, this song’s for me.
Christina: Without hearing the "oh my God...it’s so Black!"
Miguel: That part I understand. But what I don’t get is like, the people he’s talking about in the song, like, the "beanpole dame in the magazine," why do they love the song? It’s like, he’s talking about you.
Christina: I think it’s just, they just hearing like the "baby got back." It doesn’t matter how big your back is. You just kind of hear that part and you’re just like, ooh hoo, now I can dance and shake my butt and have fun or whatever.
Miguel: This is when you suppose to step off the dance floor and let those that he’s actually talking about come on and enjoy the song without you being in the way, with your sharp elbows.
Christina: Well, just looking at the YouTube comments, in general, people just see it as a celebration of women. Like, oh, he’s, telling women that they’re beautiful or whatever.
Miguel: Yeah but he was talking about a very specific type of woman, with curves. But you have all these other people who have latched on to it. For example, you have Cameron Diaz dancing to it, in the Charlie’s Angels movie.
Christina: It’s like of all songs you can pick, Cameron.
Miguel: Yeah. It was like—and I get, that was the joke is her being a 103 lbs dancing to "Baby Got Back." But there are people out there like that—
Miguel: Who actually think that Sir Mix-A-Lot is talking to them.
Christina: But then at the same time, remember when, one of the royals got married. The...what’s his name? The older brother.
Miguel: Yes, uh, William.
Christina: William. And the...I don’t know these people. The sister of the wife.
Miguel: Yeah. Kate, the commoner's sister.
Miguel: We can go with Peppa.
Christina: Whatever. You know, her derrière was the rage. And then you see the picture and you’re like, she’s like 98 pounds maybe.
Miguel: If that.
Christina: And again, I’m not saying this as shade.
Miguel: We're not trying to shame any thin women.
Christina: I’m just saying there’s curvy and then there’s not curvy.
Christina: So, if people are looking at her and being like, Ooh, look at her butt, I guess "Baby Got Back" make sense to them, even if they’re slender.
Miguel: I guess.
Christina: And the funny thing is too, when you’re watching the video, just by today’s BBL standards, these women were not even that big.
Miguel: They weren’t, and—
Christina: They were slender with curves, but they weren’t… they were still slender.
Miguel: Even at the time, you could watch the video and be like, where the back at?
Miguel: Because that wasn’t representative of it. But, he actually said those women in the video weren’t the ones that he chose.
Miguel: He said that he chose other ones but—
Christina: Who were a little curvier.
Miguel: Yeah. But the director felt that they couldn’t dance well enough.
Christina: Which doesn’t matter because they were really there just to shake that booty.
Miguel: Yeah. You just have to shake the ass and not to do choreographed stuff. So, he said, that’s how they ended up with the more athletic girls, who...there was nothing wrong with them, it just wasn’t what he was trying to convey.
Christina: Right. Needed a little more jiggle.
Miguel: Yeah. A little more shake in the video.
Christina: Well, usually YouTube comments are very strange.
Christina: But, I found one by somebody named Jonathon Cowley-Thom.
Christina: He said, "I never noticed that the magazine that’s supposed to be Cosmo, called [Cosmo–] Cosmopygian," and I’m probably saying this wrong, "is a very clever reference to the ancient Greek word 'Kalypigian' which means 'having well shaped buttocks.' ”
Christina: And I was like–
Miguel: I always wondered what that meant.
Christina: There you go. It’s a word derived from a Greek word for well shaped buttocks.
Miguel: Thanks, Johnny boy!
Christina: And I was like, look at that. Learning things from a YouTube comment.
Miguel: I did not know. Now we do.
Christina: Now we do. Yeah. So, I mean, this came out… what year was this?
Christina: '92. So for me, as I always say, this was just before getting into rap music. So, this is the only Sir Mix-A-Lot song I’d heard. And so, that’s all I knew him for. And ‘92, I was 12, or something like that. So, I was young, so I’m like, this is a fun song. Even though it’s about grown women’s butts and I was a child, but it’s catchy. It’s silly.
Miguel: Yeah. I didn’t realize it because... I probably did, but I just didn’t remember it. I was looking at a clip of him performing on the Arsenio Hall Show. And Arsenio was just asking him about the backlash that he got for doing the song, because people thought it was offensive. And I thought that was funny. It’s like, people thought this song was offensive? Just thinking about it in 2021 terms. And, I thought that was hilarious. He said that it was looked at as offensive. And what else was it? And racist.
Miguel: Yes. So, he had to explain why he didn’t think the song was racist. Arsenio didn’t think it was racist either, but he just had to ask the question. And he’s like, racist? No. I’m just celebrating the bodies of Black women who typically get told that they’re fat because they don’t look like...what did he call them? Stop signs.
Christina: Yeah. Big head. Skinny body.
Miguel: Yeah. Big heads and skinny bodies.
Miguel: So, he said, no, he was actually trying to empower curvier girls with it. So, he was like, I don’t agree with the racist part, but he was like the sexist part, maybe. Yeah.
Christina: Little bit. Little bit.
Miguel: And then he turned and pointed at the balloon they had onstage. He’s like, there’s a 30 foot butt right here. So I can give you the sexist part, but the racist part, not so much. So, that I agree with. It's like, yeah, ok.
Christina: It’s kind of hilarious and it goes back to what we were just talking about, how clearly it’s a song about celebrating Black women. But you have a lot of non-Black women that love this song. And that it was considered racist though, at one point in time.
Christina: So, it's weird how that works out.
Miguel: It is. But with that said, I am going to now argue why Sir Mix-A-Lot is not a one hit wonder.
Miguel: Are you ready?
Christina: I’m ready.
Miguel: Alright. So, for those of you who don’t listen to, or haven’t listened to a lot of Sir-Mix-a-Lot, he wasn’t the best rapper. Like, lyrically. He mostly told a lot of stories. He was like a storytelling rapper. So for example, "Posse on Broadway" is basically about him and his homies driving down the street in Seattle called Broadway, telling you that we’re picking girls up over here. I’m in a Mercedes limo. We’re going to get something to eat from Taco Bell, "but Taco Bell was closed." So they go to Dick’s instead.
So he’s just telling stories. It’s just everyday mundane shit that he would talk about. And today people would be like, this nigga’s corny. I don’t wanna listen to this. But in '87, when "Posse on Broadway" comes out, it kind of fits in with other stuff that’s going on at the time. Like nobody looked at it as being corny. It was like, you can play this in your car and it sounds good. And he’s just telling a story. So he had that song. The first one I heard though, I think it was "Buttermilk Biscuits."
Miguel: It was either "Buttermilk Biscuits" or "Square Dance Rap," one of them where he’s doing the funny voice.
Miguel: So, it was one of those two songs that I heard first. Now, mind you, I’m in L.A. This is at a time when you’re not hearing a lot of hip hop on radio. So for me to hear this record from Seattle, getting played on the radio in L.A., it’s like, okay, this dude is a star.
Miguel: Like, why is he getting played down here in L.A.? I shouldn’t know who he is. And like I was telling you, I know the guy that was in the video with him, DJ Nasty Nes. He was a radio DJ in Seattle. He is also on an Eazy-E song called "Radio," where during the chorus people would call in and talk to Dr. Dre and Ice Cube about Eazy-E and whatnot. One of the callers was Nasty Nes. "Hey, this is Nasty Nes calling from Seattle" and they hung up on him because they're like, "You're too late. The record’s already over." And then click. So I shouldn’t even know who he is.
Christina: Not only do you, did you hear Sir Mix-A-Lot, you also heard this random Seattle DJ, who's friends with Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Miguel: Yes. So, I’m like if Nasty Nes is cool enough to be on an NWA/Eazy-E song, that means Sir Mix-A-Lot is cool enough for us to be listening to. So that’s my first point. If Sir Mix-A-Lot is cool enough for NWA...
Miguel: He's cool enough for the rest of the world.
Christina: Even though he did more like, party rap.
Miguel: Yeah. But some of the music that he was doing, the fast uptempo dance stuff, NWA was doing that stuff too. Like—
Christina: Late '80s, a lot of people were.
Miguel: Yeah. Yeah. Everybody was doing that electronic stuff. Go listen to NWA "Panic Zone." There you go. Like, there’s nobody going to think NWA is doing a dance record, but yeah. Or "Something 2 Dance 2." Two records.
Christina: That is very dance-y.
Miguel: Yeah. So there were people out there like Sir Mix-A-Lot doing this kind of music already. So he’s got "Posse on Broadway." He’s got "Buttermilk Biscuits." He’s got "Square Dance Rap."
Christina: "Square Dance Rap."
Miguel: So, that’s his first album. It went platinum with those songs on it. How is somebody gonna go platinum—
Christina: In the 80's.
Miguel: In 1987, if you don’t have any more hits?
Christina: Right. This is you-had-to-go-out-and-buy-records platinum.
Miguel: Yes. Point number two. The song "Swass," the album is called Swass. The song "Swass," was remade by Tori Alamaze as "Don’t Cha."
Miguel: And then like nine months later, her version was remade by The Pussycat Dolls and blew up.
Christina: Also called "Don't Cha."
Miguel: "Don’t Cha." If this song wasn’t a hit, how would CeeLo have heard it in Atlanta?
Miguel: In 1987? Like, what would he have to draw from to say I’m going to sample this, to let Tori sing it and then give it to the Pussycat Dolls later?
Christina: Yes. So, you know, the line that most people know is, "don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
Christina: Sir Mix-A-Lot’s line…
Miguel: "Don’t you wish your boyfriend was Swass like me?"
Christina: Swass like me!
Miguel: What does Swass mean? No one knows.
Christina: He tried to make fetch happen.
Miguel: He did. He made fetch happen. Cause I read an interview with him where—
Christina: Well, he didn’t quite make Swass **happen, but the song happened.
Miguel: It didn’t, but the song lives on through Nicole Shershersherper.
Christina: Yeah, Shershenberger. Schwartzenegger.
Miguel: I read an interview where he said, Swass didn’t have a meaning.
Christina: Uh huh.
Miguel: And then he made one up after the fact.
Miguel: And, that meaning doesn’t even make any sense.
Miguel: He says it stands for "some wild ass silly shit." So, don’t you think your boyfriend is some wild ass silly shit like me? Doesn’t make sense. But, I’m still going to say he’s not a one hit wonder because of that. So, you’ve got the sample for "Swass." Also, people are remaking "Posse on Broadway" to this day.
Miguel: Just two, three months ago, Gucci Mane released his version called "Posse on Bouldercrest" with Sir Mix-A-Lot on it. In 2021. So, you telling me that a song from 1987, getting remade in 2021, wasn’t a hit? Fuck outta here! He had hits. He had a platinum album.
Christina: Yeah. In the late '80s.
Miguel: Yes. So, guess what? He did it again. His second album, "Beepers" was on it. "My Hooptie" was on it. That one went gold. He said the last time they checked on the SoundScan, it was at like 780,000. It might be over platinum now.
Miguel: That’s two platinum albums before his third album comes out with "Baby Got Back." He was not a one hit wonder.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: That’s my argument. And that’s what I’m sticking to.
Christina: Well, you're not really going to get an argument from me because even though I didn’t know anything about Sir Mix-A-Lot other than "Baby Got Back," you were playing some Sir Mix-A-Lot, and I was like, I kinda like some of this stuff.
Miguel: Because you can dance to it.
Christina: Yeah. And I could see why he was selling records back then. Before "Baby Got Back." And after "Baby Got Back."
Christina: It was more so again, for me, it was just, it was just too early for me to have discovered it, right? But like, I like "Posse on Broadway." You know, I like "Swass."
Miguel: Yes, you do.
Christina: I don’t know about "Square Dance Rap" though.
Miguel: "Square Dance Rap" is amazing.
Christina: I can't get into "Square Dance Rap." I like "My Hooptie." I like "Put 'Em on the Glass." It’s very like, fun music.
Miguel: It is.
Christina: It’s very, you know, when you think of the whimsical part of the '80's? It’s him.
Miguel: Even though all he’s talking about is cars, titties and ass.
Christina: It's party music.
Miguel: It is.
Christina: Party/cruising music.
Christina: So, I haven’t talked about Billboard charts in a while.
Miguel: You haven't.
Christina: So, I figured, let me pull this up. Just to compare when we talk about "One Hit Wonders? [question mark]" versus his actual career.
Christina: So, to remind you, Billboard’s Hot 100 is like that non-genre specific charts, right.
Christina: So, not surprisingly, his only number one hit on the Hot 100 was "Baby Got Back," of course. "Posse on Broadway" peaked at number 70 and "Jump On It" just squeaked in at 97.
Miguel: Right. So, these are the general pop music charts?
Christina: So, I mean, even though "Posse on Broadway" and "Jump On It" we’re pretty low on the list, it’s still, like, he made the Hot 100, right?
Christina: And then on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs is where he got a few more hits. Funny thing is, "Baby Got Back" peaked at 27—
Christina: On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Miguel: Ok. But number 1 on the Hot 100.
Christina: On the Hot 100. Yep.
Miguel: That is funny.
Christina: 27. And then, "Posse on Broadway," "My Hooptie," "Beepers," "I Got Game," "Jump On It," we’re also on this list. Not too high, like 44, 49, 61, 86, 89. We’ll link to it. But, I mean, he was on the charts.
Miguel: Yeah. So he had a platinum album. He had a gold album, which is probably platinum now. Other songs that charted on Billboard.
Miguel: All before "Baby Got Back."
Christina: Right. And it just goes to show that since he had a few more songs chart on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list, it kind of shows that like, you know, when we think of one hit wonders, like what group are we actually thinking about?
Christina: Because, you might say, oh, what song does he got, other than that? The fans would be like, actually, he’s got all these other songs, right?
Miguel: Like me.
Miguel: I’m not even a huge Sir Mix-A-Lot fan.
Miguel: And I might be coming across as a Sir Mix-A-Lot apologist right now, but, the man had more than "Baby Got Back."
Miguel: That's all I'm saying.
Christina: And I think the difference between artists like this and then say someone like, Teedra Moses, when we talked about why wasn’t she wasn't bigger than she was. She’s always had loyal fans.
Christina: Right? But she never had that one big hit everybody knows. And so, that is a little bit different than an artist like this who’s had that one big hit. So, it’s like people expect you to live up to that.
Christina: Or, like I was saying it clouds their career or people’s perception of their career, right? And, sometimes it’s like, I think for people who think that "Baby Got Back" is just some silly song would maybe be surprised to see that he actually has other albums and people like these songs. And might be surprised that not only has he had a long career, he also owns his publishing—
Miguel: Yeah, he owns everything.
Christina: And all that stuff. So, he’s living good.
Christina: Off of "Baby Got Back" and everything else. And "Swass."
Miguel: Like I told you earlier, every time I see him, he’s in some new foreign car. Like, all the cars in music videos were his.
Miguel: Like, at a time when people are renting luxury automobiles to put in these videos, he’s driving his own because he owns all his publishing.
Christina: Yeah. And one of the interviews I watched him in when he was just talking about the difference between publishing and royalties, you’re like, this man knows his stuff. Like, he knows the music industry. He knows the business side of it. He’s not just some silly guy who talked about women’s butts once long time ago. You know what I mean?
Christina: Oh, I forgot to go back with the pre-Nicki sample and post-Nicki sample. So I think with Nicki Minaj using the sample or like kind of remaking parts of the song has also brought him back into the mainstream view. Um, people are kind of remembering, oh yeah, that guy who did that butt song, that "Baby Got Back" song, right? And, I think now that song can be seen as more positive when it wasn’t back then, because now, there are more women who feel comfortable with celebrating their bodies.
Christina: And, so I think in that sense, it’s kind of given that song, a new meaning and a new re-emergence as well.
Miguel: A second life.
Christina: A second life, even though a lot of people have unfairly credited Nicki Minaj for like, resurrecting him and stuff. And he’s just like, I’ve been here though.
Miguel: It's like, those Pussycat Dolls checks have been coming in every month.
Christina: And he said that he still does shows every now and again, and the fans come and they like the other songs too.
Miguel: Yeah. I saw that he had a house flipping show on DIY Network. So, he’s still around.
Christina: And then we stumbled across this video of him doing a concert with the Seattle Symphony. Like you can see him perform "Posse on Broadway" with the symphony.
Christina: So, I think he’s okay.
Miguel: He is okay. Yeah. Like I said, I’m not going to be like the Sir Mix-A-Lot flag waver here. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I did enjoy his music coming up as evidenced by my impassioned speech about "Posse on Broadway" and" Swass" and all the other stuff. And with that said, Sir Mix-A-Lot is not a one hit wonder. No question mark at the end.
Miguel: I rest my case.
Christina: All right. So, is there a moral to this story?
Miguel: No, there is no moral to the story? I’m just saying he’s not a one hit wonder.
Christina: I was going to say that my moral to the story is, if you hear a song that you really like by someone you’ve never heard before… maybe it couldn’t hurt to look them up and see if they got anything else.
Miguel: Yeah, that’s what I did with Tay Zonday and "Chocolate Rain." Turns out, I didn’t like it so much. So…
Christina: I don’t know why you even liked that. [Singing] "Chocolate rain..."
Miguel: I shouldn’t even know who he is.
Christina: This is old school YouTube.
Miguel: What’s funny is, I saw a picture that he posted a couple of days ago where he was microwaving some food. I think it was like a bowl of rice and he hollowed out the center of it and pushed everything to the outer ring and made like a rice donut.
Miguel: Because, he said that when you heat up food in the microwave, it never gets warm in the middle.
Christina: It’s true!
Miguel: So, he pushes it out to the edges.
Christina: He might be onto something, actually.
Miguel: There you go.
Miguel: That’s all I got.
Christina: Okay, well, we’ve gone off on a tangent. So, I think that means it’s time to pull it back and wrap it up.
Miguel: Time to reel it in.
Christina: Wrap it up, B.
Miguel: Yes. So, I have nothing else to say other than he’s not a one hit wonder. And we will continue this with other people who some folks look at as one hit wonders as well.
Christina: And we’re going to argue that they’re not.
Miguel: We are going to prove that these people are not one hit wonders.
Miguel: So, come back for that.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: All right. So we’re going to get out of here. Make sure to follow us on social media if you don’t already. @troypodcast on the bird and IG. Make sure to subscribe, rate and review on your podcast service of choice.
Christina: Yes. It will help us get discovered.
Miguel: Yeah. We want more people to listen to this. So, tell a friend to tell a friend and share it amongst other folks.
Christina: It takes two seconds to hit that five stars button on Apple.
Miguel: Yeah, go five stars or nothing! God will reward you.
Miguel: Uh, also check out our new and improved website, troypodcast.com.
Christina: Still a work in progress but...
Miguel: Still a work in progress.
Christina: Worth looking at.
Miguel: It is. You can check out all of our episodes there. You can click on the links to our playlists. It’s listed on the website now, so you don’t have to search for it on Spotify.
Christina: And if you’d like to dig deeper into any of the stuff we talk about, and we have footnotes, we link to articles and interviews that we refer to. All that good stuff.
Miguel: A lot of relevant content that we probably didn’t get into in the episode. So, go ahead and check those out.
Christina: And sometimes we have to make corrections.
Miguel: Yes. There are some corrections on things that we forgot about or were unclear about during the episode. So, you can check that out as well. You got anything else you want to give to the people before we get outta here?
Christina: No, I think that’s it.
Miguel: All right. So, we will see you again or you will hear us again in two weeks. Until then, bye.