It’s one of those moments that will go down in music history, at least in Seattle. Macklemore’s video shoot atop the Dick’s Drive-In hamburger joint that drew thousands of frenzied fans to Seattle’s Capitol Hill harkens back to other iconic rooftop gigs like U2 in LA or the Beatles atop Apple Records in London. But many have no idea the whole thing was actually an homage to Seattle’s first hip-hop star Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Mix is happy to turn over the mantle to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis after selling millions of records of his own with hits like “Baby Got Back”, he tells KIRO Radio’s Luke Burbank Show.
“It’s absolutely genius,” Mix says of the way Macklemore, Lewis, and their team have built their business into one of the biggest in music today, all on their own without a major label behind them.
“And I think any young kid coming up in the game now should not look to me for the way to climb up. You have to look at Mac because that is today’s business model and he is, in my opinion, better than anybody before him. He’s pimped out the independent system better than anybody.”
Wednesday’s video shoot that shut down Broadway and drew thousands to the streets and neighboring rooftops was for the track “White Walls” from Macklemore’s smash hit debut album “The Heist.” It honors Sir Mix-A-Lot’s first hit “Posse on Broadway,” which featured the rapper and his crew cruising Seattle in a limo and partying at Dick’s with dozens of people.
But Mix let Luke in on some dirty little secrets. Suffice it to say, the scene was quite different back in 1988.
“When I did “Posse on Broadway,” (in 1987) I was relatively unheard of. As a matter of fact, hip-hop was relatively unheard of,” he says. Turns out they didn’t even have a production team or plan.
“We literally walked up to Dick’s the day of the shoot and said ‘Hey look, we want to shoot a rap video here.”
The managers said no. Instead, they could only shoot video as they drove by, and had to use another burger joint down on Rainier Ave. as a stand-in for Dick’s.
“Later on, we went back to Dick’s and did a bunch of pictures once we went in there with something that was relatively close to organization,” he laughs.
That wasn’t the problem Wednesday night, as Macklemore had permits, a Hollywood-worthy set-up, and plenty of people to make sure everything went off without a hitch (even his manager Zach was spotted polishing the Cadillac limo for the video.) The only problem was all the people that packed Broadway delayed the production by several hours.
“I’ve watched a lot of artists come and go and a lot of artists never show up,” Mix gushes. “But the one thing about him is that he seems to have a sense of hip-hop culture that a lot of rappers don’t have anymore because lets face it, a lot of the culture is out of hip-hop. It’s become a giant business, but he seems to be pulling people together in ways that I have not seen in a long time.”
Sir Mix-A-Lot had plenty of other hilarious stories about his reign atop the charts, running into a hotel band destroying (not in a good way) “Baby Got Back” in a Denver Hilton Garden Inn, and a certain Seattle smooth jazz star with a predilection to good pot in his chat with Luke. It’s definitely worth a listen.