Anthony Ray -- aka Sir Mix-A-Lot -- is one of those guys whose brain is always churning with a new idea, whether it's music or technology-related.
That's one of the reasons this 50-year-old is still bouncing between producing, as well as performing an eclectic mix of music.
His is a blend of hip-hop and rap, but he doesn't like to pigeonhole his style because it keeps changing.
Sir Mix-A-Lot will bring his unique stage show to the Tri-Cities on Sept. 13 at Jokers, 624 Wellsian Way, Richland. Tickets cost $26 for general admission or $35 for the VIP section.
"I still love to do it all, whether it's music or dabbling in big-time technology," Ray said in a telephone interview. "I'm currently working on an Internet device that can be used for speeding up music (downloads and recordings). But my biggest problem with myself is that I rarely see things through. I have the ideas, get them started, then I'm on to something else and don't get to see it through the marketing."
He is the cofounder of Nastymix/Ichiban recording studio. His music savvy began as a DJ in Seattle, then progressed into performing. His debut album on the Def American label was Mack Daddy, which won a Grammy award in 1993 for best solo rap performance.
"It was the song Baby Got Back that really sent that album to the roof," Ray said.
But music wasn't his first love.
"I started tinkering with technology when I was a teenager," he said. "I ended up blowing up a lot of stuff."
He grew up in a Seattle ghetto, and he credits his mother's tough-but-loving parenting for saving him from a life of gangs and crime, he said.
"My mom kept me grounded," Ray said. "She instilled a sense of responsibility in me that has never left me. I have never smoked cigarettes or used alcohol or drugs because my mother taught me well the dangers, and I was fortunate and listened."
His mother, a retired nurse, is 84 years old now and suffers from dementia.
"She tried to tell me once to put her in a nursing home once she fell deep into the dementia," Ray said. "As if I'd ever let that happen. After what she did for me, I will always take care of her."
Ray said he opted to not have children because of the crazy world of music he chose for his profession.
"I didn't think it would be fair to raise kids in an environment where I was gone a lot," he said.
In the world of technology and music, he is surrounded by people who keep him young.
"I'm usually the oldest guy in the room, but I love working with these young kids," he said. "They have these crazy ideas, and I like them. They keep me young."
Sir Mix-A-Lot's show at Jokers will be vintage entertainment, he said.
"It'll be an old-school, hard-core live set," Ray said. "I love playing to the crowd, bringing people on stage to perform with me, that kind of stuff. We're gonna have fun."