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