How Jennifer Lopez’s Body Inspired One of the Most Popular Rap Songs

Thanks to her eclectic discography, Jennifer Lopez has had a significant influence on both pop music and contemporary R&B. What most fans probably don’t know is that she inspired one of the most enduring rap songs of all time. Here’s the story of a man who rode his appreciation of J. Lo to the top of the charts.

Jennifer Lopez posing for a photo on the beach in 1997 | Barry King/Liaison

The story behind one of the most iconic 1990s rap songs

“I like big butts and I cannot lie.” There’s a lyric that even people who don’t regularly listen to rap music are aware of. It’s been quoted numerous times in films, television series, and even other rap songs. 

The line is from Sir Mix-A-Lot’s popular 1992 song “Baby Got Back.” The track became one of the most well-known rap songs ever recorded and proved to be the inspiration for numerous other songs about the derriere. The song celebrates curvaceous women with lines like “So Cosmo says you’re fat/Well I ain’t down with that.”

Sir Mix-a-Lot was partly inspired to write the song because he felt curvy women weren’t positively portrayed in the media. He told Vulture “There was one event that really made me think that I should do a song about this, which was irritating the shit out of me. Amy and I were at a hotel on tour, when we saw one of the Spuds MacKenzie ads for Budweiser during the Super Bowl. You’d see these girls in the ad: Each one was shaped like a stop sign, with big hair [and] straight up-and-down bird legs.”

“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

He added “There’s nothing wrong with that, but I was so sick of that sh*t. Now, [Sir Mix-a-Lot’s then girlfriend, Amylia Dorsey-Riva] never said anything about all this until she realized I was so in favor of her physique. She was an actress, and she started admitting that she felt like she lost a lot of parts because of her hourglass figure. I knew for a fact that many artists felt that if they didn’t use a skinny-model-type woman in their video, then mainstream America would reject the song.”

How Jennifer Lopez fits in the picture

The other curvaceous woman who inspired the song was Jennifer Lopez. According to BET, Sir Mix-A-Lot decided to write the song after seeing Lopez in an episode of the comedy series In Living Color. On In Living Color, Lopez was a Fly Girl. Fly Girls were the show’s talented back-up dancers. 

When Lopez was a Fly Girl, she was not nearly as famous as she would become. It’s amazing to think Lopez was influencing popular culture before she was a household name. Sir Mix-a-Lot was inspired by Lopez’s “L.A. face with an Oakland booty,” a lyric incorporated into the song.
Jennifer Lopez reading “Baby Got Back”

What does Lopez think of the song? First of all, it’s not clear she’s aware that she inspired it. However, E News reports she performed part of the song as a spoken word track for a video for W. Similar to Peter Sellers reading Beatles lyrics on The Goon Show, Lopez did her best to dramatically read the song’s lyrics with a straight face.

Lopez is an icon. Her music stood the test of time. She’s also proven she doesn’t even have to make music to inspire other artists.

Also see: Did Lady Gaga Call Out Jennifer Lopez & Shakira Before the Super Bowl?