In music, your stage name follows you for a lifetime. I always found it fascinating and interesting how artists received their names. I’m sure some people use “nicknames” they are given during their youth and it just made sense to identify with it moving forward. In Hip Hop, most Rappers don’t use their Government name. They generally become a “character” and the name fit the image and persona. There are exceptions like Nasir Jones who simply raps as NAS. You also had Tupac. Tupac generally rapped as PAC, 2PAC and right before his death he did call himself Makaveli. At any rate, when does an artist outgrow a name? Does the initial name an artist begin their career with have an expiration date? Can a name at some point hold an artist back? As artists start to age, should they re-evaluate their name? I was given this topic today by my wife so I thought I would share it with readers who visit Da Dome.
The conversation started about Rappers who have “Little aka Lil” in their name. At this point in Hip Hop history, this is probably the most unoriginal way to come into the game. At my age, I remember Biggie talking about Lil Kim and Lil Cease in the early 90’s. A few years later Snoop Dogg met a kid at a concert and gave him the name Lil Bow Wow after bringing him on stage to rap. The name “Lil” has found its way into every region of Hip Hop. You have Lil Jon, Lil Scrappy, Lil Wayne, Lil Romeo and others in The South. In the Midwest you have Lil Flip. As we moved into the 2000’s other artist such as Lil Mo, Lil B, Lil Pump, Lil Uzi, Lil Yachty, Lil Fizz, Lil Mamma and Lil Peep. I swear I can go on for days! I can’t keep up. Oh, what about Lil Fame, Lil Zane and Lil Reese? Man, this is ridiculous. I can’t name them all but I believe you get the point. I think many of these artist still use “Lil” but there are a few who decided to grow up and become “Big.”
Lil Boosie is now known as Boosie Badazz. I guess at 34 years of age he was tired of being called Lil Boosie. Lil Bow Wow is now known as Bow Wow just as Cease no longer goes by Lil Cease. As I researched the names, I literally counted over 30 rappers who use the name Lil. To be honest, I was actually amazed. I’m not sure what would make any new artist use the abbreviation “Lil” in 2017. So, in looking at this short post, what are your thoughts? I know Lil Wayne changed the game and from 2007-2012 was known as the hardest working MC. I know there were a lot of new Rappers that came after Wayne who were influenced by his fame and used "Lil" paying homage but there were others before Wayne became a legend. When you hit 30 years of age, should you change your name? Is there another abbreviation within the Culture of Hip Hop used this much? What about “Young”? We have Young Jeezy, Young Dolph, Young Jock, Young Thug, Young MA, Young Turk and Young Buck. I find all of this fascinating.