This week, twenty five years ago, a successful indie rapper with a love for fat asses released a song that would forever change the landscape of music content with a straightforward message: Bug butts are good, bad butts bad.
Today, that hardly seems like a revolutionary idea, but at the time, Sir Mix-a-Lot’s big booty anthem, “Baby Got Back,” was shaping the idea of beauty that was inadvertently absent in pop culture.
“I was so sick of that shit,” Sir Mix-a-lot told Vulture in 2013, “describing his desire to promote a female unlike the women who were flooding the tabloids, “shaped like a stop sign, with big hair (and) straight up-and-down bird legs.”
“The song doesn’t just say I like large butts, you know?,” he told Spin in 1992. “The song is talking about women who damn near kill themselves to try to look like these beanpole models that you see in Vogue magazine,” he reiterates to describe his booty anthem as a manifesto and rebellion against European standards of beauty.
And twenty-two years after he released the song, 2014 was coined “Year of The Booty,” solidifying why Mix was ahead of his time. But the song was ahead of his time, which is in large part due to the reason why people are still referencing this mega-hit a quarter century later.
But the real reason goes to the video, a “surrealist portrait of ass worship” that features “healthy women” dancing on a giant butt. It was deemed “too sexual” at this point in history, having been banned from MYV’s daytime air and briefly from the network itself. By the end of 1992, “Baby Got Back” was the number-two single of the year, behind Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
Since it’s release “Baby Got Back” has remained a cultural staple for the zeitgeist, having been referenced by Sponge Bob, Friends and Nicki Minaj, among many others.
And just to fully illustrate how far society’s sensitivity to big butts has come, the song was performed in last year’s animated kids movie Sing by some butt shaking rabbits.
Now, that my friends is progress.