Before he wrote one of the all-time great odes to rear ends, “Baby Got Back” artist Sir Mix-A-Lot was a young kid growing up in Seattle, Washington, living with his mom and just beginning to fall in love with hip hop. Though the future rapper was drawn to music, Sir Mix-A-Lot’s mother was determined that her son would be well-rounded ― and well-informed.
To that end, Sir Mix-A-Lot explains that his mother had a very specific requirement of him when he was living under her roof. “She did weird things that I didn’t understand then,” he says. “Like: made me watch two hours of CNN every day. I didn’t understand that.”
Though he didn’t get it at the time, Sir Mix-A-Lot now understands his mother’s intentions.
“She’d say, ‘Son, I don’t want you to be the only black guy on an elevator and somebody goes, “What do you think of the move by the Secretary of State?” and you don’t know who it is,’” he says. “That was ... the example she gave me constantly.”
When he wasn’t watching the news, of course, Sir Mix-A-Lot was listening to the Sugarhill Gang and trying his hand at being a DJ. The hobby turned into a full-fledged career, with Sir Mix-A-Lot making a name for himself as an entertainer who was truly doing something different in the industry.
“I wanted to not just scratch records and mix records; everybody was doing that at the time. I added synthesizer, drum machines, because I fell in love with the gadgets first. Rap was secondary,” he says. “Really, the production is what I did, and rap was the necessity. But necessity breeds creativity.”
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