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Running along Sir Mix-A-Lot's fast tracks

September 13, 2007|Margaret Wappler | Times Staff Writer

Sir Mix-A-Lot, the Seattle rapper who slammed skinny models in his 1992 big-booty anthem "Baby Got Back," isn't one for vigorous exercise. "Have you seen me lately?" he said from the road outside Vegas. "I hit the treadmill this morning, but that was strictly walking. That's about as much as I can take."

But that won't stop him from performing at this year's Nike Run Hit Remix: The Power Song Edition, a five-mile race set to live performances of the most incorrigibly popular tracks of the '90s. Nike isn't too concerned with tastemakers' approval; it has a more simple but noble goal: "It's about the music that inspires you to run," says Jacie Prieto, Nike's media relations manager.

Last year, more than 10,000 sprinted or walked to Digital Underground, Young MC and headliners De La Soul. At least 10,000 are expected again for Saturday's race, with performances by Dawn Robinson of En Vogue, Naughty by Nature, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Sugar Hill Gang. The race starts in front of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, cuts up Figueroa Street and through the USC campus before returning to the Coliseum for an indoor, finish-line concert from headliner MC Hammer.

Sir Mix-A-Lot, born Anthony Ray, has a surefire way to amp up the crowd, which will include families with strollers, Nike Club Run L.A. members and celebrities: "I plan on just repeating my hits. You've got to give them what they want to see." If he gets an audience to stick around, the good Sir might play songs from an album he's hoping to release next year.

Nike Remix will raise money for Let Me Play, the corporation's multiyear national program that will help build 84 places to play in L.A., including basketball courts and playgrounds for public schools.

At the finish line, runners can replenish with water, bananas and Jamba Juice. Or purchase beer, for those who want to stop those electrolytes dead in their tracks. It's a celebration of fitness in L.A., a city that parties and jogs in equal measure.

Sir Mix loves that kind of dichotomy. He's happy "Baby Got Back" was once banned from MTV, because that helped the mainstream hit acquire some credibility. He still stands behind its message: "I may be an out-of-shape rapper, but I love my runners. I name-checked Flo-Jo [Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner]. . . . She was beautiful."

margaret.wappler@latimes.com

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Nike Run Hit Remix

The Power Song Edition

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 3911 S. Figueroa St., L.A.

When: Opens 7 a.m. Saturday, race at 9 a.m.

Price: $39 to participate

Info: Register online at inside .nikerunning.com/nike-run-hit -remix until midnight tonight, and on Friday at Niketown, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 275-9998.

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