30 Years Later: How Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ Normalized Normal [Exclusive]

Hip Hop icon Sir Mix-A-Lot was definitely ahead of his time when he recorded “Baby Got Back” in 1992, during an era when curves were not in.

Fast forward 30 years and the women Sir Mix-A-Lot referred to in the song and the video are culturally aspirational. At the time, “heroin chic” was trending, so applauding curvy women in the video and in the song was groundbreaking.

“The whole idea behind ‘Baby Got Back,’ if you look at the video, there’s a reason that the girl is on a pedestal,” he said. “I’m a rapper and slutty guy trying to chase her and I can’t reach her. None of us could.”

Sir Mix-A-Lot said ‘Baby Got Back’ went beyond body type

Was Sir Mix-A-Lot psychic and predicted how beauty and fashion would be viewed in a handful of years since the song dropped? He laughed, sharing that he only shined a light on what was already beautiful.

“I’m not saying the song changed it, but if you looked at especially African-American women on television, they either were the overweight maid or they would assimilate into another culture,” he explained.

Sir Mix-A-Lot performed on stage and holds a microphone
Sir Mix-A-Lot | Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns via Getty Images

“Or [they would be] the streetwise prostitute on a detective show,” he added. “It just really was condescending and simple-minded. And then when you zoom out, you realize women, in general, were being cast in weird ways. Like the showgirl at a Vegas restaurant that happens to be a detective undercover,” he laughed.

“That kind of corny stuff,” Sir Mix-A-Lot said. “And I realized that this is a lot bigger than just a body type. And so the video was designed to be tongue-in-cheek funny. But after a while, you started going, ‘Hey, wait a minute. He means this, not that.’ And for some reason, it got banned.”

Fruit ’emojis’ in ‘Baby Got Back’ video – before there were emojis

But Sir Mix-A-Lot only wanted to show how healthy should be celebrated. He recalled how women in the 90s looked like, “Heroin addicts on camera, that’s what it looked like. I mean, it was unrealistic. Your rib cage is showing. I can’t do that. So I wanted to normalize normal,” he said.

He also credits his video director for giving the enduring music video it’s whimsy and fun. In fact, the video featured another peek into the future when images of fruit doubled as body parts – fast forward to the world of emojis.

“That idea was not mine,” he said about the food images doubling as a booty in the video. “Actually, it was the director and his crew’s [idea]. I thought that was kind of corny, right? But, it helped to make the video a little more tongue-in-cheek.”

‘Baby Got Back’ and Sir Mix-A-Lot celebrate the return of the bagel chip

Sir Mix-A-Lot and “Baby Got Back” returned to celebrate that the bagel chip makes a comeback in Traditional Chex Mix bags. The bagel chip rejoins Chex Mix’s original recipe, including corn and wheat Chex, pretzels, rye chips, and mini breadsticks combined with a unique seasoning blend for a one-of-a-kind snack.

Sir Mix-A-Lot and Chex Mix dancers
Sir Mix-A-Lot and dancers | Chex

In a nod to the original video, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Chex created a booty-shaking video spot, complete with dancers, who swapped their booty shorts for mom jeans. “I mean, you got to give them credit for a corporation to be that big and that flexible is pretty good,” he said about the commercial video shoot. “They literally bent over backward to make this happen and make it work correctly. And I needed to be modulated, they had to keep me on the track a little bit. I had a tendency to want to take over things and they let us know that, yeah, we’ve been doing this a little while.”

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“It’s been fun. They’ve been really cool. Sense of humor,” he added. And shared that the dancers in the spot were the “mamas.”

“Those were the mamas who tell their children, yeah, this is what you’re gonna eat,” he said.