The song has been called racist and sexist. Many top radio stations won’t touch it. And MTV wouldn’t run the video without edits. But ”Baby Got Back,” rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ode to women with large posteriors, was on Billboard‘s top 10 singles chart last week and just hit No. 1 on The Box, the viewer-programmed cable-TV channel.
In the rap, Mix spanks Playboy for picturing models with surgically enhanced breasts and Cosmopolitan for promoting a skinny female ideal. ”I’m sorry, but the popular image of a beautiful woman today is a bean pole,” laments the Seattle-based rapper, whose real name is Anthony Ray. He says he was inspired by models who complained to him that they were considered ”too fat” for many jobs. ”A lot of women, white and black, have thanked me for ‘Baby Got Back.”’
Mix ”obviously is not looking at Playboy because there is no stereotypical Playmate,” a spokesman for Playboy responds. Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown, meanwhile, says she’s not familiar with the video. But she probably will be soon. The giant inflatable buttocks that traveled from one record store rooftop to another over the last few months to promote the song are tentatively scheduled to appear in Falling Down, a movie with Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall now shooting in L.A. And The Tonight Show is considering asking the rapper to perform. Despite the banning and name-calling, Mix knows the bottom line.