Fascinating memories from Sir Mix-a-Lot, my buddy Dan Charnas and more about one of the most iconic rap moments in history in Vulture’s “Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ Video.” Also… totally futuristic vision on what would later become common social media culture, amirite? I mean… everything about this song and video is applicable to your IG feed.
Sir Mix-a-Lot: There were problems initially. What really bothered me was that the main girl sitting on the pedestal at the beginning of the song had on a blonde wig, tiger shorts, a bunch of gold chains, a cheap-ass satin gown, and ugly lipstick: She looked like a ho! I thought, What the hell is this? [Although] to be honest, if I saw her on the street, I might say, “What’s up, baby?” Adam said, “I thought you wanted hot?” But I told him, “This song is called ‘Baby Got Back,’ not ‘Baby’s a Ho.’” We ended up going to the mall with the wardrobe people to get other clothes, and they changed her hair, and shooting was held up for four hours. Her name was Almond, and she said, “Thank God, I didn’t want to wear this.” Pop culture says that if a black girl is to be taken seriously, she has to assimilate and be as white as possible, to the point of bleaching her hair blonde. But the entire point of the song was the opposite. The lady who the white girls were looking at in the intro was supposed to be a queen that they saw as a ho, not an actual ho.
Anyways, one thing I just wanted to add, as a totally random, barely-related Info-ism… I remember one night I went to the Palladium in NYC (possibly dressed in something shameful in hindsight. Possibly satiny. Maybe Moschino?) with my girls. It must of been one of those hood-tastic rap industry-meets-corner hustler nights because I believe Jay-Z was there and made some kind of slight head-nod solicitation to a chick I knew. This was dissected for weeks to come.
Anyways, so I was at the bar pretending like I was going to order something fancy and fizzy, when I saw this extremely tanned statuesque but definitely Asian-looking woman who was spilling out of some spandex tank dress like a buttered baked potato. She was definitely the exotic video girl from Mix-a-Lot’s “Put Em On the Glass.” Since it was the time to overanalyze every fashion detail and cameo in every music video, this spotting was so exciting to me.
We started chatting as is customary when you are the only two Asians in huge crowded room. I don’t remember much about the conversation, not even the woman’s name… maybe it was Lydia or Lena? But I do remember she was very sweet, loving the attention, under the watchful eye of some pimp-looking out-of-towner, and she said she was from the South-est Asian country, Laos. I had never even heard of Laos until that moment. (Fun Fact: Pharrell’s lovely wife Helen is also part-Laotian. Clearly, this island churns out some beautiful ladies.)
In hindsight, the song was shxt. But if this woman had popped up on Tumblr in 2013, she’d probably be on Love & Hip Hop next season.
Reminisce over some classic Sir Mix-a-Lot after the jump…