The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper:
This Week's Subject(s):
Terrible rapper names
Ask A Rapper: Is Uzoy your real name?
Uzoy: My real name is Uzoamaka. It's Nigerian.
AAR: That's cool. My name is Nigerian too. San Antonio is in Nigeria, right?
U [laughs]: Uh...no.
AAR: Oh. Never mind, then. Here's the subject line of an email that arrived in our inbox not too long ago: "BROTHA LYNCH HUNG, RELEASES DINNER AND A MOVIE ON TECH N9NE'S STRANGE MUSIC LABEL." Somebody's actual rap name is "Brotha Lynch Hung." What we want to ask is, why do so many rappers pick such terrible stage names?
U: There is a certain level of corniness and redundancy in a lot of names that have been coming out. Either they're a carbon copy or its just a stupid name altogether.
AAR: Wait, you didn't answer the question. Why do rappers pick such terrible stage names?
U: Honestly, I really don't understand where half of these names come from. I feel like I can't accurately answer that question but only tell you things I've observed. It seems like the worse the name, the worse the artist. I can't think of an artist that I listen to that has a stupid name. Most people just use renditions of their real name. It may be them subconsciously warning us that they aren't great rappers.
AAR: In your opinion, what are some of the more ridiculous rapper names? Extra credit if you call out some Houston rappers (We're looking at you, Lil' Young, Hollywood F.L.O.S.S., Hash Brown, Klondike Kat...)
U: I will not call out any Houston rappers, but Waka Flocka Flame has to be the most recent ridiculous name. Nobody seems to mind the silliness of it though. But really, who am I to talk? My name is very weird but it has meaning behind it. So if anyone tries to clown me on it, I'll explain its origin.
AAR: Actually, we made this joke about Waka about a couple of days after he got shot: "We're not surprised by this at all, because if you give yourself the name Waka Flocka, you deserve to be shot." Thanks for not reading it.
U [laughs]: Yeah, I didn't quite catch that one.
AAR: Perhaps we could establish some rules to help rappers come up with better stage names? First and foremost, we don't think any name should ever be more than eight letters. All the best ones are between four and seven letters (Tupac, Jay-Z, Dre, etc). If your rap names has more than eight letters, chances are it's ridiculous. Notorious B.I.G. is an exception, but he mostly went by Biggie anyway, so there. Agreed?
U: Now that I think about it, shorter names do tend to be better than longer names but even that can mess you up. Just like the attack of "Young" this and "Yung" that.
Uzoy, "Fast Forward"
AAR: Another rule: No intentional misspellings. If you want to call yourself "Pimp," but you think there are too many rappers with "Pimp" in their title so you decide to go with "Pymp" or whatever, don't do that. Just pick something else. Agreed?
U: Just like the attack of "Young" this and "Yung" that. After places like MySpace were over saturated with artist that had the word "young" in their name, some rappers took it upon themselves to omit the "o" like it was a new word altogether. The misspelled stuff is kind of wack. I guess the only exception to that rule is something like "boyz" instead of "boys." There are probably a couple of others, but I can't think of them right now.
AAR: Any other rules you can think of?
U: I think any name should be creative and be memorable, but don't make it ridiculous. Generic and predictable names should be stayed away from. I don't know how many rappers I have heard with the name of "Gutta." Rhyming names seem like a no-no. Brings me back to Rin & Tin from Brown Sugar
[laughs]. Other than that, rappers should feel free to make any name they choose. Just choose something that represents you.
Follow Uzoy on Twitter at @Uzoy or catch her on MySpace here. If that's not enough, check her out at uzoy.blogspot.com. Her new album is coming soon.