J-Smooth points to an interesting short essay by Dan Charnas. Dan describes the beginnings of Hip Hop’s emergence onto commercial radio and later on provides his view that Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” was meant to be presented as more of a political record, providing a different kind of sexual appeal in popular media. Link

Concluding remarks:

“Still, my perspective doesn’t change the fact that things have taken a turn for the worse.What started as a celebration of Black and Latina beauty became, somehow, a race to see how much skin you could get into a video. (Even Mix went from “Baby Got Back” — a genuinely political song — to “Put ‘Em On The Glass” —a juvenile cars-n-chicks record.) What started as the jubilant, iconoclastic voices of the hip-hop generation, finally unleashed upon the airwaves and in the print media; over the years degenerated into a shadow call-and-response of ridicule and recrimination, resulting in the murders of at least two of hip-hop’s greatest artists; and mix show Djs — once a ray of hope for the unestablished artist — quickly became as corrupted by the indie promotion game.How did we get from there to here? How is it that Hot 97 could allow something as insipidly vile as the “Tsunami Song” or “Smackfest” to be broadcast without any real repercussions? And why has hip-hop media, year after year, made booty and beef its main course? How is it that many of the partnerships that fostered such great art — Iovine & Dre, after all, birthed “The Chronic”; Cummings and Flex gave hip-hop a home on the FM dial — now preside over a seemingly amoral environment where nothing really seems to matter: not quality, not intention, not consequence? Hip-hop used to be angry. Now it’s just mean. Rap used to be passionate. Now it seems rapacious.The question is why. Is this race-to-the-bottom in hip-hop yet another manifestation of an insidious cultural power-play by white elites? Or is it part of something bigger?”