Video: Are you ready for “Baby Got Back,” the orchestral remix?

posted at 5:01 pm on June 9, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, I would love to walk down the aisle to ‘Baby Got Back’” but just couldn’t find an arrangement befitting the class and solemnity of your matrimonial ceremony, Sir Mix-A-Lot and the Seattle Symphony have a jam for you.

The pioneering MC, whose given name is Anthony Ray, joined the symphony on stage at Benaroya Hall and brought something for music nerds and party animals alike. First, the party animals.

“Something you really should not do, but since tonight is orchestral movements from the hood night, I’m going to leave some of this open if a couple of ladies would like to get up on the stage,” Sir Mix told the crowd.

A couple dozen women jumped on stage, and I am not ashamed to say I would totally have been among them (and capable of a better showing than many, though I do not, in fact, have that much back). As a band nerd raised in Durham, N.C. in the ’80s, there are few things that would satisfy more of the disparate yearnings of my soul than shaking dat ass on stage with Sir Mix-A-Lot and a 100-piece orchestra.

So, that part’s kind of silly and cringe-inducing. But I like silly, and I would unabashedly induce cringing along with them. To avoid a decent helping of the awkward, just listen, but the young woman in black at the front is particularly game. Git it, gurl.

Now, for the music nerds: Composer Gabriel Prokofiev chose Sir Mix-A-Lot from a list of famous musicians from Seattle on which this series of Seattle Symphony collaborations is based. Prokofiev is a longtime fan and sometime producer of hip-hop and electronic music, but how do you recreate the sounds of an early hip-hop hit with classical instruments?

The first step for achieving this was to deconstruct several of his tracks and get inside the inner workings of his beats and his raps. The next step was to actually orchestrally recreate two of his tracks: Posse On Broadway and Baby Got Back. I made these orchestrations as faithful to Mix-A-Lot’s original electronic arrangements as possible, and therefore I had to build an orchestral pallet that created the same sound pallet as Sir Mix-A-Lot and I became very familiar with many of his rhythmic patterns…

To recreate Mix-A-Lot’s ground-breaking range of sounds, I’ve had to ask the orchestra to use some unusual playing techniques and use several customised percussion instruments, including an acoustic ‘Scratcher’ (made by scratching a credit card against a metal guiro), a ‘jackdaw’ (a friction drum that creates a frog like noise), bunches of bamboo cracking against the sides of drums, and various drums laden with chains and cymbals to create distorted drum and clap effects.

The series is called Sonic Evolution:

The event was part of the critically acclaimed Sonic Evolution project, which creates a bridge between the symphony and Seattle’s reputation as a launching pad for creative musicians.

Each year, in celebration of the past, present and future of the city’s musical legacy, Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony commission world-class composers to write orchestral world premieres inspired by bands and artists that launched from, or are related to, Seattle.

Now, I’m sure there’s an argument among classical music purists that this kind of thing represents a coarsening of classical music culture. That it’s a sort of click bait (Buzzfeed for Bassoonists!) for orchestras who wish to tap into pop culture but aren’t doing justice to the rich tradition they represent. While I find grown women shaking their asses on stage rather harmless, it’s hard to argue it’s in keeping with a traditional orchestral vibe. I’m fine with that. An occasional departure can be fun while exposing new audiences. I also appreciate the musical challenge the arrangement presented for Prokofiev and the increasingly mashed-up culture the collision of the two genres represents, but there’s plenty of room for reasonable people to disagree. And, I’m not sure they’re entirely wrong about the click bait. After all, it worked. *CLICK*

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No.

NotCoach on June 9, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I’m sure #YesAllWomen will be all over this. Psych.

A crescendo of stupidity is washing over the land.

Good Lt on June 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

What would Becky think?

cbenoistd on June 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Orchestral masterpiece?

Sir-Mix’s dream. 50 flat-butt white girls dancing with him on stage.

tdarrington on June 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Nah; this is about as meaningful as having the upscale fine restaurant decide to have a buffalo wing and jello shot night, with all of their waitstaff working topless (and you don’t want them to be topless). I mean, why not? Get into the subtleties and intricacies of that Hooters wing-sauce! Rather than, oh, I don’t know – if you wanted Hooters, you could go to Hooters.

Seems like more of the same dumbing down of… everything.

Meh.

Midas on June 9, 2014 at 5:11 PM

one day im reading Ed Morrissey Sunday reflection and the next day im slumming it. All on the the same site.

phatfawzi on June 9, 2014 at 5:11 PM

MKH, that’s nothing. There is a whole bunch of Baby Got Back versions out there – I found jazz, metal…. I can’t remember all of the genres I found it redone in, but it appears to be a “thing” to redo Baby Got Back in another style. Some of them were … scary right up Allahpundit’s lane.

GWB on June 9, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Want to know the story behind the song?

One Hit Wonderland: Baby Got Back By Sir Mix-a-Lot

BigGator5 on June 9, 2014 at 5:12 PM

“Be careful what you ask for.”

aquaviva on June 9, 2014 at 5:13 PM

A couple dozen women jumped on stage, and I am not ashamed to say I would totally have been among them (and capable of a better showing than many, though I do not, in fact, have that much back). As a band nerd raised in Durham, N.C. in the ’80s, there are few things that would satisfy more of the disparate yearnings of my soul than shaking dat ass on stage with Sir Mix-A-Lot and a 100-piece orchestra.

Um……not sure where to go with this, MKH.

Bitter Clinger on June 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

My ringtone glammed up by the San Fransisco Symphony.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I wish Mary Katharine Ham would cover stories like this instead:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/8/holder-seeks-legal-team-for-children-on-border/

bluegill on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I’m pretty sure Nero was fiddlin’ a version of ‘Baby Got Back’ at some point. And a whole bunch of b1tches and hoes wuz shakin dat azz all the while.

Yes, this is something we should definitely encourage. Great stuff.

/

Midas on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

A couple dozen women jumped on stage, and I am not ashamed to say I would totally have been among them (and capable of a better showing than many, though I do not, in fact, have that much back). As a band nerd raised in Durham, N.C. in the ’80s, there are few things that would satisfy more of the disparate yearnings of my soul than shaking dat ass on stage with Sir Mix-A-Lot and a 100-piece orchestra.

Um……not sure where to go with this, MKH.

Bitter Clinger on June 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I am not ashamed to say I would totally pay real money to see that.

I’m a pig.

I know.

CurtZHP on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Little boy wear and now this.

But no posts today on the illegal immigrants flooding the country.

Go figure.

BuckeyeSam on June 9, 2014 at 5:18 PM

I wish Mary Katharine Ham would cover stories like this instead:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/8/holder-seeks-legal-team-for-children-on-border/

bluegill on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Why would HA want to cover something that might endanger the GOP’s amnesty push?

Midas on June 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Yesterday I was thinking about the string part Kendrick Lamar used on “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” the logic extension of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” if you think about it really really hard.

cbenoistd on June 9, 2014 at 5:22 PM

It was lame in the 80′s. I don’t care how many violins you use, You can’t upclass lameness and especially misogynistic lameness. Unless you are a lib in which case “you go girl”.

HotAirian on June 9, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Heh. Just what America needs more of…orchestral juicy booty!(Eye roll implied!)

Sorry, MKH, but still think these guys bring more life to the classical instruments.

lineholder on June 9, 2014 at 5:23 PM

I think that was fun. My son is a local musician and with one band they would get the girls on stage for the last song. The youngest boy wonder would put a girl between him and his guitar. It was a very popular place to be.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

If you are gonna combine popular music with a symphony, I vastly prefer this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJVJ140CdHQ

Mini-14 on June 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I am not ashamed to say I would totally pay real money to see that.

I’m a pig.

I know.

CurtZHP on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I am, too.

I just never envisioned MKH shaking her booty………

Bitter Clinger on June 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Mary Katherine, how about something about the lawless invasion of our southern border and obumbles response with lawyers for them instead of troops to enforce the border..?

Whitey Ford on June 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Little boy wear and now this.

But no posts today on the illegal immigrants flooding the country.

Go figure.

BuckeyeSam on June 9, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Yeah, if there’s a topic that has hardly been talked about at all on the right, it’s definitely immigrants.

That and taxes and abortions.

Tlaloc on June 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Yesterday I was thinking about the string part on the Kendrick Lamar song with the title, the one about his vibe, that apparently gets me blocked on this site. It’s the logical extension of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” if you think about it really really hard.

cbenoistd on June 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Oh, it went through! Sorry for repeating myself.

cbenoistd on June 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

I needed this LOL.

Sue me

;-)

pambi on June 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Um……not sure where to go with this, MKH.
Bitter Clinger on June 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I am not ashamed to say I would totally pay real money to see that.
I’m a pig.
I know.
CurtZHP on June 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I’d rather see her in the audience at a Rodney Carrington show….

dentarthurdent on June 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Sergei spins in his grave at his namesake’s foolish efforts to fuse the two ‘art’ forms.

otlset on June 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

This is weedisgood and I approve this video.

weedisgood on June 9, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Now, I’m sure there’s an argument among classical music purists that this kind of thing represents a coarsening of classical music culture.

Not much different than the Colorado Symphony having a pot night performance. Pot edibles and out on the patio, smoking pot.

Walter L. Newton on June 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM

So many stuffy people commenting.

This was fun.

Thanks, MKH!

Mark Boabaca on June 9, 2014 at 5:32 PM

It’s a fun song, I ran around singing “I like big butts and I cannot lie!” for weeks.

And I do, too.

Tard on June 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Not much different than the Colorado Symphony having a pot night performance. Pot edibles and out on the patio, smoking pot.

Walter L. Newton on June 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Interesting – since the law only allows for MJ use in private – technically not allowed in public settings.

dentarthurdent on June 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

BuckeyeSam on June 9, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Now, now, you seem like a multifaceted person to me.

Cindy Munford on June 9, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Interesting – since the law only allows for MJ use in private – technically not allowed in public settings.

dentarthurdent on June 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

They rented a private venue, did not use the regular public space. They did not supply any pot products. They plan to hold two more concerts.

It may have been on the edge of a legal arrangement, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone is going to make a stink.

Walter L. Newton on June 9, 2014 at 5:43 PM

What would Becky think?

cbenoistd on June 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

HAHA

I would totally have been among them (and capable of a better showing than many, though I do not, in fact, have that much back).

Just shake whatever the good Lord gave ya!

nextgen_repub on June 9, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Alternative Title: Calls for Itty Bitty Waists Go Ignored

mattshu on June 9, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Yeah, well at least there’s this.

OccamsRazor on June 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

The work he had to do to make instruments that sound like the electronic version is interesting, but I would have preferred a new composition that used those instruments and possibly took inspiration from the rhythm instead of just a straightforward orchestration of Mix-a-lot’s BGB. Granted, that’s asking for a lot more work out of Prokofiev, but it would have been a better example of how a “classical” work can be inspired by popular music.

DisneyFan on June 9, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Wait for another 30 years. Snoop Dog, 50 cents, Dr Dre, & Big E will be blasted down the hallways of nursing homes across the USA.

portlandon on June 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM

*sigh*

Shump on June 9, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Wait for another 30 years. Snoop Dog, 50 cents, Dr Dre, & Big E will be blasted down the hallways of nursing homes across the USA.

portlandon on June 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM

No, they won’t. In 30 years, insurance will no longer pay for nursing homes. Those people will just take the pain pill and die.

Shump on June 9, 2014 at 6:05 PM

How awful.

Pork-Chop on June 9, 2014 at 6:06 PM

I swear that chick in black getting into it is SE Cupp

beedubya on June 9, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Libs love touching the street with out getting dirty.

Ben Hur on June 9, 2014 at 6:29 PM

While I find grown women shaking their asses on stage rather harmless, it’s hard to argue it’s in keeping with a traditional orchestral vibe. I’m fine with that. An occasional departure can be fun while exposing new audiences

Harmless? Some of those boodies were pretty big. I am sure that this was an exposure for some people.

All in all, it was fun to watch and entertaining.

koolbob on June 9, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Lets see Seattle….liberals pervert everything they touch…..

crosshugger on June 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Yo, MKH, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Jonathan Coulton has the best “Baby Got Back” cover of all time.

sulla on June 9, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Nice–so this what the “womens movement” has wrought. There’s nothing that says “respect me for my brain” like a booty call. Epic facepalm MKH.

HatfieldMcCoy on June 9, 2014 at 10:19 PM

A couple dozen women jumped on stage, and I am not ashamed to say I would totally have been among them (and capable of a better showing than many, though I do not, in fact, have that much back). As a band nerd raised in Durham, N.C. in the ’80s, there are few things that would satisfy more of the disparate yearnings of my soul than shaking dat ass on stage with Sir Mix-A-Lot and a 100-piece orchestra.

AP, Ed make the calls!!

Bubba Redneck on June 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I saw the video and though the chick in the black dress was enjoying herself a bit too much; can we say groupie! I’m sure she was angling for the limo ride with Sir-Mix back to his hotel room. Some nice looking babes on stage.

Enjoyed Fleetwood performing with the USC marching band much better.

Bubba Redneck on June 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Rap is three quarters crap!

Bubba Redneck on June 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM

So MKH, just curious:

Does the Divinyls “I Touch Myself” get you all in a tizzy?

Bubba Redneck on June 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Nice–so this what the “womens movement” has wrought. There’s nothing that says “respect me for my brain” like a booty call. Epic facepalm MKH.

HatfieldMcCoy on June 9, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Uhhgreed! Big butts are just that big. butts. Nothing pretty about them. It’s an excuse to stuff your face and be proud of the (unhealthy)results.

Gag.

avagreen on June 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM