Words by Jesse Serwer—
Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1992 single “Baby Got Back” is many things—a song everyone still knows the lyrics to, more than 20 years later; one of the biggest rap hits of its era—but its most notable legacy is a cultural one. The brown girls/big booties vs. white girls/flat asses debate has probably been discussed behind closed doors for as long as African and European people have been living side by side. But the Seattle MC’s homage to bubble butts brought discussion of the relationship between race and derriere proportions out into the open, and the mainstream. Not only did Mix-A-Lot’s tribute challenge social norms (“I’m tired of magazines! Sayin’ flat butts are the thing!”) when it comes to women, race and body type— you could convincingly argue that it altered them.
Flash forward to 2013, and butt injections are as common as breast implants. Butt size is practically a national obsession, but things are a little more complicated and nuanced now: the most famously round ass in the world belongs to a white woman. So while “Baby Got Back” has been the definitive musical statement when it comes to ass size for more than 20 years, it seems that the time was ripe for an update. Leave it to Major Lazer, the game-changing dancehall sound system led by the white, American man who gave us M.I.A. and Snoop Lion, to play around with these notions in a fun, yet provocative way that probably only they can.
“Bubble Butt,” the latest single from March’s Free the Universe, features Bruno Mars, Tyga and little-known female dancehall vocalist Mystic. A remix released last week (as part of a flurry of tracks released over Memorial Day weekend, including a soca-fied remix of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Trinidad’s Swappi and 1st Klase) adds 2 Chainz to the mix. (There’s also another version with Popcaan here). But none of these people (or anyone from Major Lazer) appear in the video for the “Bubble Butt” remix, which pairs Major Lazer once again with Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! fame, and the director of their first two videos, for “Pon De Floor” and “Keep It Going Louder.”
Instead, the video begins with a bunch of uber-white chicks in a loft—think 2013 Williamsburg versions of the yapping Valley girl (“Oh my god Becky, look at her butt”) from “Baby Got Black”—who are visited by a giant black girl (dubbed “Buttzilla” in the credits) equipped with butt-seeking tentacles which inject their asses with a fluid that grows them to grotesque proportions. It’s then that they find themselves on the set of a music video set full of gyrating, naturally-endowed brown girls and, eventually, girls of all colors and booty size.
Like “Baby Got to Back” (with its set full of giant, butt-shaped mounds) back in ’92, “Bubble Butt” needs to be seen to be believed. And it is definitely NSFW so find a nice, private place to watch—then try to stop yourself from sharing.