Sir Mix-a-Lot Takes 'Baby Got Back' Classical With Seattle Symphony

Composer Gabriel Prokofiev orchestrated two of the rapper's hits for Sonic Evolution series

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Sir Mix-a-Lot's debut with the Seattle Symphony turned into a giant onstage party as dozens of women from the audience took the rapper up on his invitation to join him for a new orchestral arrangement of "Baby's Got Back."

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"Something you really should not do, but since tonight is orchestral movements from the hood night, I'm going to leave some of this open if a couple of ladies would like to get up on the stage," Sir Mix told the crowd.

The rapper's appearance at Benaroya hall came about as part of the Seattle Symphony's Sonic Evolution series, which commissions new orchestral work inspired by Seattle's music icons. Gabriel Prokofiev, a London-based composer, DJ and producer (and grandson of the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev), orchestrated "Baby Got Back" as well as the 1988 track "Posse on Broadway."

"My aim with this new Sir-Mix-A-Lot inspired Orchestral work was to really get inside the musical mind of Sir Mix-A-Lot; to understand how his rhythms, textures, sounds and harmonies worked, and to create a contemporary orchestral composition that was true to the music of Sir-Mix-A-Lot," Prokofiev explained on his blog.

Prokofiev went on to describe how he tried to faithfully recreate Sir Mix-a-Lot's electronic arrangements using an orchestra, which required some unusual techniques as well as customized instruments. These included "an acoustic 'Scratcher' (made by scratching a credit card against a metal guiro), a 'jackdaw' (a friction drum that creates a frog like noise), bunches of bamboo cracking against the sides of drums, and various drums laden with chains and cymbals to create distorted drum and clap effects."