A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1987
It’s curious that Sir Mix-A-Lot (aka Anthony Ray) opted to release his fourth record under the pseudonym “Tony Lorenzo.” He’s hiding on the record’s label in plain sight: The song is credited to “A. L. Ray” and it sounds very much like an early Mix-A-Lot tune.
During these early years of the NastyMix record label, the only artist on their roster was Mix. His first record, “Square Dance Rap,” had delivered a global banger and he’d performed in front of 70,000 at Wembley Stadium in England. His second single, “I’m A Trip” was less successful by comparison, while his third “I Want A Freak,” had flopped on the charts.
It’s understandable to imagine Mix feeling a crisis of confidence and a desire to try something new. “Destiny” is nonetheless a perplexing release. It’s completely instrumental. Its monster synth stabs, meandering keyboard melodies, heavy basslines, and clockwork quantized drums resemble a lost Electro b-side from Kraftwerk. Mix-A-Lot always expressed pride in his computer music and “Destiny” finds him at his most computerized.
In 1987, “Destiny” also landed with a thud. Its aftermath marked a moment of crisis for NastyMix: The record label had burned through all its available cash and it had failed to repeat the success of “Square Dance.” Business head Ed Locke borrowed money from his mother to keep the label afloat. (They’d wisely use the investment to fund “Posse On Broadway,” Mix’s gargantuan next release.)
Decades later, in the early 2000s, “Destiny” was included as part of a Brazilian dance music compilation called “Internacional 27 Anos” from the label Furacão 2000. The compilation was a big hit in South America, and today when you Google “Tony Lorenzo” most of the results are in Portuguese. Maybe when this first dropped in the Northwest in 1987, Tony Lorenzo, aka Mix-A-Lot, was simply too ahead of his time.