First of all, yes. There are Black people in Seattle and there have been since William Grose rolled up in the spot back in 1861 — BEFORE the Emancipation Proclamation — the same year that the Civil War started. The land rush was 28 years away. So damnit, there are Black folk in Seattle, shit.
What there hasn’t always been is rappers in every city. In the mid to late 80s, there was New York and there was California. Since the first superstars were out of the Empire State, most cities had their best impression of a NYC act.
In fact, that’s how Sir Mix-A-Lot got his start. Back in 84, “Nasty’’ Nes Rodriguez (the first DJ to play rap in Seattle) was impressed with Mix-A-Lot’s New York style rapping with his Seattle-centric lyrics. Rodriguez was so impressed that he and Ed Locke decided to invest.
There were stops and starts, and early hits like “Square Dance Rap” let them feel they were on the right track. But it was “Posse on Broadway” that blew the Sir Mix-A-Lot name up across the country for people who had no idea where Seattle even was.
Breaking out of your market was a big deal and the momentum was pushed forward by the advent of video shows dedicated to Rap. The next songs “Beepers” (which actually charted) and to a lesser degree, “My Hooptie,” established Sir Mix-A-Lot as a KNOWN rapper in a time where there were so few. AND he damn near went double platinum…all this before the song that most people know him for.
Now when you bring up Sir Mix-A-Lot, people’s immediate response is “Oh my God, Becky. Look at her butt,” the Amylia Rivas voiced intro to “Baby Got Back.” That song was planted on the Billboard Pop chart at #1 for the greater part of the Summer of 92.
Mr. A-Lot grew tired of the milking of hits but he’s done enough where he can sit back and chill. His name still rings out (all things considered). Legacy solidified. Royalty checks still ching chinging.