Originally created 09/15/03

Sir Mix-A-Lot releases first album in seven years



SEATTLE -- The man who introduced big butts to pop culture is back.

Sir Mix-A-Lot, who earned a Grammy for 1992's "Baby Got Back" and then all but disappeared, returned Tuesday with a new album, "Daddy's Home."

The 39-year-old Seattle-born rapper left the recording industry in 1997 shortly after the killings of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.

"I walked away pretty disgusted with the game," said Mix-A-Lot, whose real name is Anthony Ray. "It wasn't about music anymore. Everyone was talking about the same thing, shooting guns and being hard. The creativity was gone."

Rather than become another gangsta copycat, Mix-A-Lot simply stopped making records. He produced some artists and hooked up with a rock band, The Presidents of the United States of America, in a rap-rock collaboration called Subset. The group recorded 13 tracks, but never released any of them.

"They were burned out with the business just like I was," Mix-A-Lot said. "We made some songs and went on tour. It was cool because it wasn't about putting out a record, it was just about the music."

Being out of the spotlight didn't bother Mix-A-Lot, but the itch to make records returned years later after hearing creativity coming back, in particular the sounds of the Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris and Missy Elliot.

"I didn't miss the industry, I missed the actual music," Mix-A-Lot said. "I missed working in the studio. I was still producing songs. But I missed doing a record, putting it out and seeing what it's going to do."

His comeback wasn't influenced by the money and fame associated with being a rap star, said Mix-A-Lot, who owns an electronics business and said he managed his finances well enough to maintain a high standard of living without selling records.

He did acknowledge being addicted to fame and flaunting his wealth early in his career.

"When the Mack Daddy album came out I had about 18 cars," Mix-A-Lot said. "The Lamborghini on the cover, with Mix-A-Lot on the license plate, that was mine. It wasn't rented like a lot of other cats will do for their album covers or videos. I was doing way too much back then. But you have to learn from your mistakes."

Mix-A-Lot is often branded a one-hit-wonder because he never recaptured the success of "Baby Got Back," which received the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance and has become a permanent fixture in pop culture, having been featured in the movie "Charlie's Angels" and the hit television series "Friends."

Instead of letting the label bother him, he urged his critics to check his resume.

"I had a platinum and a gold record before I did "Baby Got Back," said Mix-A-lot, referring to his debut album "Swass" and his sophomore follow up "Seminar." "When they did the VH1 (One-Hit-Wonder) show, I made them do my shoot in front of all of my platinum records. I wanted people to say 'one-hit-wonder? Then how did he get all them plaques?"'

On "Daddy's Home," his sixth album, Mix-A-Lot set out to show critics and other rappers that his skills have improved during his absence.

"I upgraded my lyrical style big time," Mix-A-Lot said. "I got the chance to show I can flow, bounce, and ride with anybody."

Fans of Mix-A-Lot's often humorous subject matter shouldn't be disappointed with "Big Johnson," a song about how many men lie about the size of their anatomy. Mix-A-lot was inspired to do the song by female fans who complained that he only focused on the female anatomy.

"I did it from the chicks' perspective this time," Mix-A-Lot said. "Some guys don't like it. But maybe they're afraid of the truth."

Mix-A-Lot, whose last two albums were commercial disappointments, insists he's not worried about producing another hit.

"I'm not looking for that," he said. "When you have a big hit, the media builds you way up, and then they disassemble you. I don't really know if I want that."

www.sirmixalot.net