Music Jan 30, 2013 at 4:00 am

The Connection Between Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop"

mike force


"Macklemore raps only like Macklemore."

Macklemore raps like SLUG.
posse on broadway is in the discussion for greatest cruising song of all times. Lifetime pass for that.

I'm too old for rapping anymore (I won't go as far as to say rap's not around to be saved), but Macklemore strikes me as just barely closeted Christian rapper. Ugly Duckling North. Hey we're just going to talk about our own lives goofy we're good guys we know all the songs we know our history we know we can't get away with pretending to be anything we're not and we have a deejay who cuts the choruses live (still haven't heard the dude--am I right?) but man we love this music for life bro you can't front on that...

Old people were talking about saving rap in 93. Falling into that trap--like I guess I just did--is pretty much announcing you're old. Rapping isn't for old people.
I saw Macklemore perform a few years back and it struck me as being very fun and positive yet nothing too special. Upon further listens to his recorded stuff, I come away with his flow as being like an early 90's poetry slam with his starting slow and going into some yelling like bravado.

Congrats to him for his success however I just think "Thrift Store" really sucks. The song is not as fun as "Baby's Got Back" and Mix is a much better MC.
Macklemore either does pop stuff like Thrift Shop or emo-rap stuff EXACTLY LIKE THIS (I keep going back to this parody because it's so spot on)…
If "Baby Got Back" was "Seattle's big gift to black America," "Thrift Shop" is Seattle's big gift to white America. Clean, happy, catchy, "relatable."

@1 is dead on, I'd also add Brother Ali.

And the thought that "Thrift Shop" SAVED HIPHOP? GTFOH. There could be plenty of arguments made for the exact opposite.
It's true... Type murdered that emo shit.
It's simply indie pop rap. It targets teenagers, college kids, and soft white people who are scared of black people but want to be cool to their kids. Macklemore can rap, he just chooses not to anymore. He'd rather tell stories.

But fuck, at least someone is rapping about gay rights n shit.
Paris might have been on Tommy Boy Records, but he was from Berkeley and went to school in Davis. That's hardly "East Coast."
And I have no idea why someone would make a joke about R. Kelly anymore. That's shit's dated. People are gonna hear that in ten years and think this came out in 2004.
No matter what the aficionados and purists of hip-hop and the pop-music scene might say, Macklemore and “Thrift Shop” are the freshest, funniest and most interesting thing on the pop scene right now. I don’t know if he is saving anything, but he is riding high for the moment. More power to him!
All y'all talking about soft white people and black rap versus white rap, and generally knocking the man need to STFU. YOU are the ones perpetuating racism. I didn't even know he was white the first 20 times i heard the song. It's just a good song, by a talented local performer. Go Bulldogs!!
Any thoughts on the racial politics of a white guy trashing the conspicuous consumption of (implicitly) black men? I feel like Macklemore's oppositional stance towards mainstream hip-hop culture is problematic as fuck, on a racial basis, on a class basis, on many, many bases.
lol his flow is just talking in sentences... anyone could do it like that. go on, you try, just read this comment to yourself. And as each sentence is read, your raaaAAAise the intensity of your voice. Then make it softer. Then raise it again and mention Seattle.

Nothing original or amazing there - other than he would be able to write a half decent essay. Props to him and Ryan tho. Any why did it take so long for the public to clue in to him, he's been at it for years!?

Here's hoping SEA brings something fresher, soon.
Your praise of Sir Mix-A-Lot completely ignores DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Who actually predates Sir Mix-A-Lot. So, yeah. Seattle isn't all THAT cutting edge.
Why don't all these people hate as hard on shit that sucks worse that is from OTHER CITIES. Who gives a fuck if it is the best song ever written? Is from Seattle, his video ups Seattle, and puts us on the map for something other than grunge. It's nothing but good for this town so why hate?

That's the problem, it's POP. The rest of Seattle hiphop isn't all out-there shit like Shabazz Palaces. Dyme Def and Fresh Espresso ought to be getting play but they won't because of the permanently whack-ass direction popular rap has taken. Macklemore is popular because of a dopey pop-rap song and his actual rap is fucking lame.
Article: thumbs up. Comments: thumbs down zzzz
There's no reason to deprecate anything Macklemore --or any other artist really-- works on to "merely pop/indie/rap music" other than to stroke your worthless ego, and to make yourself feel unique that you listen to "the real stuff." All music is to be enjoyed, and bitching that music that is too obviously pop music isn't "hard enough" does nothing but makes you look like a huge baby.

@11 I don't know where you're getting that assumption, because white people also participate in conspicuous consumption.
I kinda liked Macklemore better back in the day when he was still biting Freestyle Fellowship and Chillin Villain Empire.
you like the song, you do not like the song. blah, blah, blah. fact: he has no label and somehow he has become successful (hugely successful). i know that was not a main theme of the article, but maybe it should be the main theme of the commentary...which i am really sorry i read. ya get the gas face...references never die, they just get more obscure.
I thought Paris was from San Francisco..?
21, that was my mistake. he was signed to Tommy Boy Records and i had thought the label was completely dedicated to east coast acts.

You're all a bunch of negative nancys.
Mix was always different. 1992 there were other fun light hip-hop artists at work. 2 Live Crew, Digital Underground, Young MC, etc. Would take another couple of years for hip-hop to really double-down to NYC or LA, until Atlanta and New Orleans opened it back up by '96.
if the scope is confined to chart-topping tracks, then maybe i could agree with this thesis. maybe that's reasonable bc exposure matters for effect. i like the track a lot. but i have yet to listen to a rap album that doesn't have hilarious tracks or crack-up interludes throughout. i guess they just don't make it to the charts typically. so i'd say it's more about audience response than macklemore breaking any real ground.
Y'all "purists" are such a crack-up... Can't groove to something if it doesn't conform to your rigid personal list of What Is Pure...

S'okay, all you guys can be over there in the corner, talking amongst yerselves about the 'good ol days', while the other tens of millions of us will be having a good time with Mackles and his GREAT songs... silly us, lol...
In 1990, "The Humpty Dance", a humorous dance number that reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the R&B charts, and #1 on the Billboard Rap Singles chart.

Fun hip hop could happen in places other than Seattle and did before "Baby Got Back," as good as that song was. Seattle needs to stop sticking its' head so far up its' ass that it thinks it is some kind of outsider hip hop mecca that couldn't/doesn't exist elsewhere.

That said, Shabazz and all those affiliated cats are putting out some unique, nextish level shit.
Tired of hearing this shit about how out of the loop and above the rap/hip pop fray Seattle is. There is plenty of hip hop from all over that isn't caught up in the predictable themes. For example…

Never met Macklemore but find his music fresh and interesting. I love that he's critical of our consumer culture and turns the usual pimp braggadocio upside down by bragging about how LITTLE he spends on clothes. His fearless support of gay marriage makes me proud to be from the Northwest. I don't know or care if his skills compare your rap purist ideals. All I know is he's not boring. On the other hand, your criticisms (which seem more jealous than anything) are a total snoozefest. Maybe, instead of imagining that he's less of a true rapper than you because he doesn't wallow in the negative (and really, how many more songs do need to hear about gang violence?), you should take a page from his playbook.
BBC 1 radio has Thrift Store from #24 to #8 in last week. So somebody likes his stuff. Hey, Seattle, ride the wave! God knows, nobody gives a rip about us. And the Seahawks are done for the year! (Sob!)
Hey strawman arguer TBne,

Plenty of hip hop from the beginning through today doesn't wallow in the negative. That doesn't make it good, though it is what I prefer. Don't mistake your lack of hip hop history as the summation of hip hop. Just b/c Macklemore is the first rapper many of the hip hop uneducated PNW have heard that isn't about pimping, drugs, misogyny, violence doesn't mean it is unique, nor good. And you can talk about that stuff in a thoughtful, critical, yet funky way, i.e. "The Jungle," Public Enemy, the Roots, etc.

Not trying to hate on the guy. He does what he does cause he loves it and can support himself doing it while spreading good messages. Great for him. But anyone claiming Macklemore to be great is an ignorant motherlicker who needs a hip hop education. Egotrip is a good, broad starting point.

MAN, that Mike Force illustration is so good.
Man, it cracks me up when people with differing musical opinions assume you're ignorant of all the stuff they like. Maggotronix, I have all those records and still like Macklemore. Go figure. That being said, the parody TheCHZA posted is HILARIOUS.
Macklemore is equivalent to McIlvaine for Seattle. Hmm... The music is jokes – you know this right? Not sure how someone could feel that and track these songs. It's funny some of these comments that don't know Shabazz Palaces is the bright light on the dark side of town? Has Macklemore released a classic song yet? It appears it's not in him. Anyone feeling Macklemore tracks, I'm sorry, you've got to get on your music history and start feeling some soul. All I know is Palaceer Lazaro does laps on the field, and it's mesmerizing.
So. Much. Posing.

Look, rap in 1992 was roughly divided exactly as Charles divided them: The hippie-earnest-jazzy bucket that held ATCQ, Arrested Development, and much of the Tommy Boy stable; the gangbanging cinema verite of the LA crews; and their compadres on the East Coast who embraced their own form of militancy.

Meanwhile, the rap that was crossing over was, well, none of that. The first #1 rap single in the US? "Wild Thing" by Tone Loc. Vanilla Ice dominated 1990-91 radio. The media was more focused on 2 Live Crew than they were on NWA and Death Row Records. The hippie-earnest-jazzy guys would peek through with Digital Underground, Arrested Development, and (to a lesser extent) Naughty By Nature, but even then, hair metal still had more cache.

"Baby Got Back" did a number of things -- it finally crystallized a formula for making rap into pop; it finally got blacks and whites together around the idea that hip-hop and rap could transcend race (and seriously, as a college student in the summer of '92 there was nothing funnier than watching a bunch of white upper middle class kids going on about LA faces and Oakland booty); and it also was the final non-gangsta non-coastal hit rap song in this tripartite division of rap. The Chronic would come out that December, 39 Chambers the next year, and Arrested Development would be a TV show and an embarrassing #1 choice for the Pazz And Jop Poll.

But here's the other thing: Mix got absolutely pilloried by the rap community for the EXACT reasons the commenters above are ripping on Macklemore. He's too pop. He's not a good rapper. Anyone could sing about this. He's giving the Seattle scene a bad name. The only reason we look at him with pride now is because it's been 20 years.

I have no idea if Macklemore is going to be just a flash in the pan. I have no idea if he's going to finally get the hip-hop zeitgeist to look Northwest and see what a plethora of talent we have in the local scene. I hope for the best. But consider that 50 years ago, a flash in the pan band from the Northwest made a muddy recording of a Jamaican ballad that generated a huge amount of controversy... and also evangelized garage rock, the progenitor of American punk and the distant relative of the grunge that every other band in Seattle was pushing alongside Mix. And no one today would dare diss "Louie Louie," played into the ground as much as it has been.

I really hope this is the turning point in hip-hop. Charles is right -- it really has taken itself way too seriously. So maybe this is truly a bookend to "Baby Got Back" and we're going to see hip-hop try hard to be fun again, even though it's turned into an angry scold who wants it all to be real.

But it says something that Macklemore is absolutely killing in Australia right now. He sounds like the Hilltop Hoods' long-lost American cousin. Australian hip-hop sounds more like what that hippy-earnest-jazzy camp would sound like had they not fallen into obscurity with the coming of gangsta.
All I know is that you don't know shiit. If you don't like what I like or you can't understand the way I understand, you fail. You can't decipher genre like I do so you must be wrong. If you don't like what I like its because you don't know what to like. You obviously don't know the true essence of hip hop if you don't like the artists I like. Feel me.

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