Sir Mix-a-Lot in December 2006
August 12, 1963|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Rapper, songwriter, producer|
|Labels||Nastymix/Ichiban, American Recordings, Artist Direct/BMG|
Anthony Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American rapper and recording producer. He is best known for his hit song "Baby Got Back". Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, he grew up in Seattle's Central District and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1981. Early on, Sir Mix-A-Lot had an ear and a passion for music. Soon after high school he began DJing parties at local community centers. By 1983 Mix-A-Lot had begun playing weekends regularly at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in South Seattle. Soon he moved locations and started throwing his parties at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club in the Central District. It was there that he met 'Nasty' Nes Rodriguez, a local radio DJ and host of Fresh Tracks, the West Coast's first rap radio show on Seattle station KKFX (KFOX).
Growing up Ray's mother worked as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at the King County Jail making 6 or 7 dollars an hour. While living in the Bryant Manor apartments on 19th Ave and East Yesler Way, Anthony Ray started school at Roosevelt High School, near the University District, when the Seattle Public School District was in the throes of what would be a 21-year experiment to integrate the school system. Students were bused from their neighborhoods to schools at the other end of the city. From 1978, when the busing program started, to 1999, when it was shelved, minorities carried the burden of busing, piling onto buses from the South End and the Central Area that were headed for predominantly white schools in the North End.
Ray said he knew that some North End residents didn't want black kids bused into their neighborhoods. But for him, the experience offered respite from the projects. "I've heard things like, 'Forced integration is not good,' 'I want my kid to be able to go to school in our community; that's why we moved here' - all those things I totally understand," he said. "But from my perspective, I didn't have the luxury of living in a neighborhood where a good school was. We didn't make that kind of money. So from my perspective, it was the best thing that could have happened to me." A music teacher at Eckstein Middle School introduced Ray to the possibility of a music career. Before becoming a rapper, Ray at an early age was interested in electronics and CB radio, one of his early jobs was working at a pinball arcade servicing machines, during that time he as well started to fix keyboards and other musical equipment. He still works with electronics as a hobby. 
Sir Mix-a-Lot and his partner, Nasty Nes, founded the Nastymix record label in 1983. Mix-a-Lot's first hit, released in 1987, was the single "Posse on Broadway," whose title referred to Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill district near where he had grown up. The song made the Top 100 but quickly disappeared, although it remains popular in the Seattle area for its references to many local landmarks.
Swass, Sir Mix-a-Lot's debut album, was released in 1988 with two other singles: "Square-Dance Rap" and a hip hop cover of the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" backed by the band Metal Church. In 1990, the Recording Industry Association of America certified Swass platinum.
Seminar, released in 1989 featured "My Hooptie", "Beepers", "Gortex" and "I Got Game".
In 1991, Sir Mix-A-Lot signed to the Def American label, which also bought the rights to his first two albums, and released his third album Mack Daddy in 1992. The single "Baby Got Back" was a number-one hit that went double platinum and won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.MTV aired the music video for the song only after 9 PM because of "many, many, complaints."
In 1994, he released Chief Boot Knocka and the album reached #69 on the Billboard 200 and #28 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. The album featured the hit single "Put 'Em On The Glass." "Just Da Pimpin' in Me" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance but lost to "Let Me Ride" by Dr. Dre.
When his 1996 album, Return of the Bumpasaurus, was only given a low label promotion, leading to lackluster sales, Sir Mix-a-Lot left the American label. During the time off, he worked closely with another group, The Presidents of the United States of America under the group name "Subset" with a combination of rock and rap music, but nothing was ever officially released.
In 2008, Sir Mix-a-Lot appeared on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken singing a song entitled, "Table Be Round". It was sung in the style of his famous song "Baby Got Back", but in reference to King Arthur's creation story of the Round Table. He also voiced politician Hans Blix and singer Stevie Wonder in the season 3 finale.
In 2010, Sir Mix-a-Lot announced his next album, Dun 4got About Mix. The lead single "Carz" was released to YouTube on 23 Nov 2010. By June 2011, the video had acquired over a million views, although no release date for the album has been set. In the same year, his F.U.B.A.R. Remix for the song Conditions Of My Parole appeared on Puscifer's remix album All Re-Mixed Up.
In 2013, Sir Mix-a-Lot produced the album "Dream" for the urban rock band Ayron Jones and the Way. Mix-a-Lot opened for Ayron Jones and the Way for their album release party at Neumos on November 2. Also in 2013, Sir Mix-a-Lot promoted the Washington State Lottery over the Christmas season, with advertisements featuring his music appearing on Spotify.
On June 6, 2014, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated and performed with the Seattle Symphony on a new composition by Gabriel Prokofiev as part of the symphony's Sonic Evolution series of new orchestral pieces inspired by Seattle's music icons.
In 2014, Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj released the single "Anaconda", which prominently featured samples from "Baby Got Back." Sir Mix-a-Lot praised both the artist and the song, calling it the "new and improved version" of "Baby Got Back."
In March 2016, Sir Mix-a-Lot collaborated with TNT and LK on the track and video, "Streets Don't Love Me".
Sir Mix-a-Lot currently hosts a morning radio show based in Seattle, WA on Hot 103.7FM. He owns multiple residences, including one in Auburn Washington where he has continued to maintain a strong presence performing at small festivals across the country.
He appeared in an episode of Season 4 of BoJack Horseman playing himself.
In 1995 Sir Mix-A-Lot was the regular host of the short-lived UPN anthology drama series The Watcher, which in 2000 he was quoted in Vibe magazine as saying "in retrospect, I wish I hadn't done (the show)"
Sir Mix-a-Lot provides narration and commentary in Wheedle's Groove, a 2009 documentary about the Seattle 1960s and 70s funk and soul scene.