Saturday, 9 April 2016
Oliver: Sir Mix-a-Lot - One Time's Got No Case (25 January 1992)
Lord Finesse and now Sir Mix-a-Lot. The honours system held a real fascination to the rap/hip-hop community, didn't it? Reginald D Hunter nailed it.
This was my first exposure to the work of the man born Anthony Ray, and it caused me once again to walk face first into the upsetting realisation that I have spent so long focussing on culture from the past, over quite a long time now, that I have got hopelessly adrift of what is happening now. The past informs the present, but there has to be a reciprocal arrangement in place too. For me, the killer is that there are Nicki Minaj fans who discovered Sir Mix-a-Lot before I did through the fact that she used large sections of his enormous U.S. hit, Baby Got Back in her rip-off of it, Anaconda. One look at the dispiriting sleaze presented as "empowerment" in the Minaj video makes me wonder whether I'm actually missing out on anything at all these days, but nevertheless, I had heard Sir Mix-Lot's famous refrain of "I like big butts and I cannot lie" from the unlikely source of British tennis player, Laura Robson when she had to perform it as an initiation ceremony at the Fed Cup. You see, I can keep you up to date on a comprehensive rundown of what's gone on in British women's tennis since about 2008, but when it comes to contemporary pop music since 2012, I can name Avicii (and I had to look up the spelling to be sure) and that's about it. Even Huw Stephens has been neglected since about mid 2014, but that could be due to me losing a car which had a cassette player in which I could play mixtapes in rather than any failing on his part.
I do need to change this. My wife and I have not been blessed with a child yet, but if the day comes and it becomes interested in the fads and music of the mid-late 2020s, I don't want to find myself a decade and a half divorced from contemporary culture. Baby steps are required I think, and try not to get depressed about modern life/culture. Don't compare it either. Comparison does so much harm in this respect. The present is always hard and "long" in modern parlance; the past is a highlights package with the tedium edited out and the good bits on constant loop in the mental cinema. Only by living and grabbing the present can that fund of memories be replenished. Please forgive the introspection, I only turned 40 the other week....
But one element of the past is non-negotiable and that is Peel, who played this, the opening track from Sir Mix-a-Lot's early 1992 album, Mack Daddy on the 25/1/92 show. Being a hip hop track from early 1992, I am almost legally obliged to write the words, "The shadow of Rodney King hangs over proceedings" but that's the case here, punctuated by bursts of humour and doubtless a sense that what the L.A.P.D did on March 3 1991 in Lake View Terrace would lead to justice being served on one of the Western world's worst police forces. The tone is set by the dramatisation of young
Leroy/Jerome/Muhammad being pulled over for no reason by a police officer, albeit one with his tongue in his cheek though we're left in no doubt that the driver's attempts to be tongue in cheek will be brought about by a nightstick embedding it there.
Then Sir Mix-Lot comes in backed by samples of Stevie Wonder in his funky technick piano phase, so memorably captured on Superstition but here taken from You Haven't Done Nothin'. Over this Sir Mix-a-Lot takes us through various run-ins with police determined to nail him for gun possession, driving under the influence and various other misdemeanours, but our hero is "legit" and manages to outsmart them at every turn, until he discovers that within the police force, colour will never win out over careerism. However, a happy ending is had by all, doubtless labouring under the impression that the King case would deliver a similarly optimistic outcome....
Video courtesy of eazyone23.