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Mack Daddy

An undeniable classic. All Seattle rap today, in many ways, is indebted to, influenced by, a reaction to, or a refutation of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Mack Daddy and its mega-mega-mega-hit “Baby Got Back.”

This rocket ship blasted off from the Emerald City space pad in 1992–during the pinnacle of grunge–marking a time when Seattle was momentarily the ultimate hub of mainstream cool for both ’90s rap AND rock music. Go give this a spin. It still sounds fresh today.

Here’s some fun facts: Mix recorded this whole record at home, in Auburn, WA, in a digital home studio off the side of his dining room. Mack Daddy was self-released by Mix on his own new record label, Rhyme Cartel, having finally completed his divorce from NastyMix by early 1992. The album’s working title was Possessed. The record was distributed by Rick Rubin and Def American, who reportedly invested one million dollars into the promotion and marketing. Mix-A-Lot once estimated he’d made more than $100,000,000.00 from royalties from the song “Baby Got Back.”

A couple of years back I was lucky to catch Sir Mix’s semi-secret show in front of Dick’s Drive-in on Broadway. And man, the guy is still on fire almost 30 years later.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

This Is My Method

Chilly Uptown follows up his disappointing 1988 debut, I Got Rules, with this cassette-only release. Nothing here really breaks any new ground, but it is enough of an improvement over its predecessor to warrant some attention.

For starters, Chilly resolves the biggest flaw of I Got Rules, the lack of a DJ, with DJ Total Kaos, arguably Seattle’s hottest hip hop scratchmeister (Kaos has since changed his moniker to DJ Punish, a.k.a. Sir Mix-ALot’s DJ). As a result, the tape’s best moments come when Kaos cuts loose on tracks like “Cum Clean” and the monster mix cut “I Can Make U Move,” where he moves from Kraftwerk to Information Society to Issac Hayes without missing a beat.

Chilly’s rhymes, mostly dealing with street life in Seattle, work best when humor is employed as is the case in “The Adventures of George G.B.” However there are two standout hardcore tracks. The all-too-true storyline of “Go Homeboys,” is about a couple of homies being kicked out of a record store because, if they aren’t buying they must wanna steal. “Fight, Fight” samples NWA’s “Gangsta Gangsta” effectively while maintaining its own originality.

This is My Method will not qualify Chilly Uptown for a spot in hip-hop’s yet-to-be-written Hall of Fame. But it is a worthy follow-up from a promising artist who is still growing. (This review originally appeared in The Rocket and was written by Glen Boyd.)

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One Time's Got No Case

When “One Time’s Got No Case” dropped at the very end of 1991, Sir Mix-A-Lot was wrapping a two-year court battle with his former label NastyMix. So it’s a curious coincidence that his first new song—the first from his own new label Rhyme Cartel—is also legally themed.

(The court case in short: Mix left NastyMix in 1990 to start a brand new Northwest hip-hop label with backing from Rick Rubin and Def American. But it was a messy divorce. NastyMix threatened breach of contract, Mix countersued for unpaid royalties, and the protracted legal battle took two years and cost a reported $1.2 million to untangle, nearly bankrupting both parties. Mix ultimately won his exit and his masters.)

Mix’s new label, Rhyme Cartel, would be devoted exclusively to Northwest rap. “My goal is to solidify the Seattle base,” said Mix to music mag The Rocket, “I kind of feel like the dope man—feed Rick Rubin a little and when he gets hooked he’s gonna want more.”

Backstory aside, “One Time’s” is a song that brings attention to racial profiling by King County police, about cops harassing a Black guy because he’s driving a def car. Mix is dragged to jail for some bullshit and his verses explain how he prevails. It’s an autobiographical caper in the style of Mix’s many other hits. The beat is built around a catchy looping guitar riff, one that feels like a rubber band bouncing his troubles away.

This vinyl includes the extended “Bass Mix” with additional lyrics, an instrumental version, and two new songs—“Lockjaw” and “Sprung On The Cat” from his then-forthcoming 1992 atom bomb album Mack Daddy. What this record made clear—when it promptly sold more than 50,000 copies—was that Mix was finally back on the scene, and victorious.

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I Got Game

The song “I Got Game” starts as yet another riff on “Posse on Broadway.” Sir Mix-A-Lot is again driving along 23rd in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood, except this time he’s a the wheel of a fancy new Corvette, and unfortunately, he’s only got two seats.

You commonly hear Mix criticized for not reppin’ Seattle enough. But in his lyrics, he’s regularly shouting out Seattle landmarks, his fellow Northwest rappers, and on this vinyl jacket, he’s sporting a Seahawks bomber, a Mariners cap, and has custom “MIXALOT” Washington plates.

B-Side track “Flow Show” is five minutes of amazing, unstoppable madness. Mix unloads bars upon bars upon bars of quick dodges and vocal acrobatics, landing lyrical blow upon blow and demonstrating how truly formidable a talent he is as a rapper. The verses are set against a restrained rolling and crackling thunderstorm bucket-drummer beat and a super-low bassline.

I Got Game was Sir Mix-A-Lot’s final record with NastyMix.

Throughout 1990, he’d been critical of how the label had promoted his album Seminar and resented how NastyMix was spending the money he was earning on funding a smorgasbord of newly-signed rock and pop acts, few of which were rappers.

In a September 1990 interview with The Rocket, he made clear his plans to start a brand new label, one where he’d have full creative control and that would be dedicated exclusively to Northwest hip-hop.

When I Got Game was released, NastyMix canceled the planned music video. Mix was quoted as saying “and that’s when I said ‘Uh-huh’” and he made plans to leave. Mix started negotiations with Def Jam, but NastyMix label owner Ed Locke threatened breach of contract, Mix countersued for unpaid royalties, and the two were then caught up in a protracted legal battle that took two years and cost a reported $1.2 million to untangle.

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