The Seattle Orchestra welcomed Sir Mix-a-Lot to the stage as they played “Baby Got Back” as a part of this summers Sonic Evolution. The rap turned classical was composed by Gabriel Prokefiev. The composer stated that he was going to orchestrate two of the rappers greatest hits and stated that he is impressed with Sir Mix-a-Lot, and noted that the rapper is actually a softy. Prokefiev went on to say that he is enjoying doing a new piece based on the rhythms of the eighties rap songs. The Sonic Evolution is in its third year celebrating Seattle hit makers. In years past they have orchestrated such greats as Alice in Chains, and the late great Jimi Hendrix to name a few. This is a celebration of the creative and innovative music that originates from or has a connection to, Seattle residents and combines their music with world class composers.
This year, two hits by Sir Mix-a-Lot himself is on the agenda, and in the video below, the rapper is on stage to sing the iconic hit, accompanied by the orchestra. He then asked the audience if some of the ladies would like to join him on stage. His expression is priceless as more women came up than expected, and he watches as they march right up on stage with him. He is personable, fun and funny, as are the women vying for their 15 seconds of fame. The Sonic Evolution initiative is supported partially by the National Endowment for the Arts, whose aim is to bring concerts and activities that are used in composition and collaboration for total engagement in the music of the past, and present. Prokofiev thought that the nineties rapper would be fun to orchestrate, and found the musician to be a ‘fun guy’.
“Baby Got Back” premiered at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Friday, June 6 to rave reviews. The performance was conducted by Ludovic Morlot, and the evening of music also included pieces inspired by Ray Charles and Bill Frisell, and a local indie band Picwick. It was a night not usually had by the average audience that attends Seattle’s orchestra concerts. In a style all his own, Sir Mix-a-Lot turned the evening into a large party as women poured onto the stage ready to ‘shake that healthy butt’. His introduction gives the viewer an insight into the comedic genius of this rapper gone classical, and it is a genuine pleasure to view. The second song the orchestra did, without the rapper was “Posse on Broadway” which was a hit in the late 80’s. Prokofiev stated that recreating these rap songs for the orchestra required some, less than basic techniques and also included some instruments that are customized just for the rappers hits. The composer even named these unusual instruments, including a scratcher which is a card scraped against a guiro, a jackdaw which is the sound of bamboo hitting the sides of a friction drum, as well as the use of chains on drums for yet another one of a kind sound. So enjoy a collaboration that can only be found when its a combination of Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Seattle Orchestra, with an original rendition of “Baby Got Back”.