The rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot has a new request for his partners: You can do side-bends or sit-ups, but please don't lose your seat in the Seattle Symphony.
The notoriously gluteally-inclined MC was Seattle's most famous rap export until Macklemore showed up. His hit single "Baby Got Back" remains ubiquitous on club and wedding dance floors, but now it's hit the orchestra pit as well.
The rapper born Anthony Ray collaborated with his hometown symphony and arranger Gabriel Prokofiev over the weekend for a highbrow take on his lascivious single. The show was part of the symphony's "Sonic Evolution" series, which rewrote hometown singles for classical settings.
The program's goal, Prokofiev said, was to "really get inside the musical mind of Sir Mix-A-Lot; to understand how his rhythms, textures, sounds and harmonies work, and then to create a contemporary orchestral composition that is true to the music of Sir Mix-A-Lot.... A recurring four-note motive, for instance, traces the rhythm of the opening phrase from “Baby Got Back”: “I like big butts.”
Prokofiev returned the favor with his own new composition, "Dial 1-900 Mix-A-Lot" which used the rapper's bawdy bonhomie and overdriven drum machines as inspiration for a percussive 5/4 stomp.
And true to form, Cosmopolitan magazine has had little to do with Ray's selection in women — he invited all takers onto the stage to dance with him and the symphony during the song.