“Baby Got Back”: How It Went From Hailing Big Asses To Shilling For Kiddie-Sized Fries

Apr 7th, 2009 // 16 Comments

Sir Mix-A-Lot‘s ode to ladies’ larger-than-life posteriors “Baby Got Back” is now being used to sell kiddie meals for Burger King, with the help of SpongeBob SquarePants and the masked Burger King who’s been a staple of the fast-food emporium’s commercials since the subservient chicken era. How did a song that was seen as kind of racy when it was first released make the evolution to kid-testedness and motherly approval? Come with me as I take you on a Flash video-aided ride through “Baby Got Back”‘s hold on the world’s consciousness.



Let’s start things off with the original.


Shortly after that comes the parody, both of the form and the subject. Witness Jamie Foxx (as Trail-Mix-A-Lot) performing “Baby Got Snacks” on In Living Color back in the ’90s:

Eventually, enough time will have passed for “self-aware parody” to be OK. This is crucially different from its 10-years-earlier antecedent because what’s being made fun of more than the absurdity of the music itself is the way that people get really dumb when given the opportunity to perform it in front of others. Witness this 2003 ad for the iTunes Music Store.

From there, the Internet-famous Jonathan Coulton gave it the “still funny to some people” acoustic-guitar spin:

Which perhaps inevitably led to the Bible thumper “Baby Got Book.” Note the use of “oh my goodness” instead of “oh my God” in the intro! Righteous!

In retrospect, how could that not open the floodgates for the song to be OK for selling products to kids? Here’s an ad for backpacks (get it??) and other back-to-school gear at Target:

And, finally, the Burger King spot:

Sir mix a lot-baby got back [Dailymotion]
Jamie Foxx (as Trail-Mix-A-Lot) – “Baby Got Snacks” [YouTube]
Baby Got Book [YouTube]
Backpack Got Back [YouTube]
SpongeBob Got Back [YouTube]
Happy 5th Birthday, Subservient Chicken [Barbarian Group; HT sciencevsromance]
[HT shorterexcerpts]

idolator

  1. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I remember my local Top 40 station, WAOA (aka WA1A … yes, “beachfront avenue”), would only play this track after 9 p.m. when it was on the charts.

  2. Anonymous

    Don’t forget the recent SNL parody, where Keenan-as-Sir Mix-A-Lot literally had an anaconda.

  3. dippinkind

    you left out the episode of Friends where Ross found that singing it to their baby was the only way to make him stop crying… i think that reference may have been key in helping edge it into kid-friendly territory

  4. Christopher R. Weingarten

    My mom loved this song from the giddyup!

  5. Anonymous

    Sir Mix-A-Lot could sell dirt to a ditch digger…

  6. drjimmy11

    If a gay-anonymous-buttsex-in-a-gym-shower anthem can turn into a dance routine for little kids, anything can happen. it just takes time.

  7. Anonymous

    I’m wondering if Burger King holds the contract for the souls of artists that were surprisingly big in the 90′s. I’m guessing that’s Mix-A-Lot at the end of the BK spot? I felt the same way seeing Darius Rucker in the Tendercrisp Chicken spot from a couple years ago…

  8. T'Challa

    @dippinkind: exactly.

  9. T'Challa

    @dippinkind: exactly.

  10. T'Challa

    @dippinkind: exactly.

  11. T'Challa

    @dippinkind: exactly.

  12. T'Challa

    @dippinkind: exactly.

  13. BreakfastBourbon

    There’s also this parody. And speaking as someone who got a serious lecture from their parents for owning this cassingle (along with Rump Shaker), I find it’s complete societal acceptance a little strange

  14. jumponshipsayahoy

    Sir Mix-A-Lot also recorded “I Like Big Cups” for an episode Of Tom Goes to the Mayor .

  15. jumponshipsayahoy

    @jumponshipsayahoy: Robot Chicken had a Mix-A-Lot cameo parody too. He must like the folks at Adult Swim.

  16. Jojuinc

    @jumponshipsayahoy: Actually it’s “My Big Cups”.

    I want a “My Big Black Cup”.

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