You still hear “Baby Got Back” at clubs, weddings and in pop culture — and you might even hear it when Sir Mix-A-Lot performs two intimate shows at Seattle’s Nectar Lounge on Feb. 2 and 3.
Anthony Ray — aka Sir Mix-A-Lot — still loves an intimate rap show, which is why the man who made the big butt immortal will perform at Seattle’s 475-person-capacity Nectar Lounge on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 2 and 3.
“I’ve been playing a lot of big arenas — especially over the last three years,” Ray says. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re cool and pay real well, but if you truly care about your craft then you gotta get in front of a crowd that’s right in your face.”
In other words, for Ray, live music is still very much about being up close with the people. And he’s noticed this same quality in other Emerald City (Hall of Fame) stalwarts.
8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 2 and 3, Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., Seattle. $22-$30 (www.eventbrite.com or 206-632-2020).
“I saw Pearl Jam at KeyArena a few years back, and the show was sold out. So they did a bonus show the next night at the Showbox,” recalls the Seattle native. “That’s what I’m talking about! I like to get down and dirty — that’s where real performers are made. Give me James Brown in his prime in a theater that holds 800 people.”
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And Nectar, specifically, says Ray, is the perfect place for face-to-face fun with fans.
“It reminds me of where I came from, what I love about performing,” says the rapper whose first hit, “Posse on Broadway,” rocketed him to stardom in 1988. But it was in the early 1990s — 1992 to be exact — when the name Sir Mix-A-Lot became a household name. This summer will mark 25 years since the phenom “Baby Got Back” hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts (it spent five weeks there; it was released May 7).
How is Ray planning to celebrate this silver anniversary?
“I have thought about that,” he says. “We’re actually doing a line of merchandise — so many people steal lines from ’Baby Got Back’ and make money off it. It makes me kind of mad. I also had a dream of rerecording [the song]. But whenever you do that, it always gets you in trouble with your fans, so I decided to leave it alone.”
The track remains strong — in clubs, karaoke bars and weddings all over — even a quarter century after its release.
“You have to remember,” Ray says, “the climate in which I wrote it. The American standard of beauty was really skinny — Popsicle sticks, stop signs — that’s how it was defined. The song bucked the system, and black women immediately said ‘It’s about time!’ I wrote a song that was supposed to be for certain people and it ended up being for everybody.”
But what advice might the music legend — who’s debating whether to put out a new record (tentatively titled, “Done Forgot About Mix”) – impart to a young up-and-comer in today’s rapidly changing entertainment landscape?
“Some of the artists that you work with have the tendency to believe you’re a kingmaker,” Ray says. “That used to be the case — there were kingmakers in my era. But the industry has changed. I spend a lot of time trying to mentor young artists and let them know they’re walking-talking brands from the day they put out a record.”