T-Hanes
Oct 13, 2017

The term “Little aka Lil” in Hip Hop… What’s in a name?

0 comments

Edited: Feb 4, 2018

 

 

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.

 

Peace

 

 

 

New Posts
  • T-Hanes
    May 3

    Ok, this will be short and sweet. What MC's showed more growth and skills on their 2nd album? I'm going to name a few from my perspective. What are some in your opinion and do you agree with any I listed? 1. NAS on It Was Written: Yes, as great as Illmatic was NAS was a better overall MC on It Was Written. On Illmatic NAS was just rapping like on the block freestyling. On IWW NAS was telling stories like "I Gave You Power" and "Shootouts". Don't get me wrong, NAS was amazing on Illmatic but to me he was better on IWW. 2. Biggie on Life After Death: Yes, Ready to Die is a Classic but Biggie showed growth as an MC. Dude was doing "Notorious Thugs" with Bone Thugs and still kept the rawness on LAD that he did on RTD. Biggie showed more versatility. 3. Black Thought from the Roots was better on Do You Want More compared to Organix. 4. Big L was better on The Big Picture compared to Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous. 5. Q-Tip was a better MC on The Low End Theory compared to Tribe's debut. 6. Big Boi and Andre 3000 were both better on ATLIENS than Southernplayer. 7. OC was better on Jewelz than he was on Word Life. 8. Kanye was a better MC on The Late Registration vs The College Dropout. 9. Eminem was better on The Marshal Mathers LP vs The Slip Shady LP. 10. Rakim was a better MC on Follow The Leader than he was on Paid in Full... A few more thoughts: Do you think Redman was better after his debut on the second album? Do you feel that Scarface improved from album to album? I also believe KRS was better on By All Means vs Criminal Minded..... Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Oct 22, 2018

    Today I was listening to Biggie's classic album Ready to Die and other 90's Hip Hop joints. As I sat back and absorbed the lyrics to the final track, "Suicidal Thoughts", it pushed me to ask a few internal questions. I was thinking to myself, "Have I ever heard a Rap Song so grim and cynical?". At first the Scarface song "In My Time" off Last of a Dying Breed came to mind. This particular track was typical Scarface talking about his own funeral and the love ones left behind. This is why I call him the "Grim Reaper of Hip Hop" on most days. Biggie went a step and level deeper with "Suicidal Thoughts". You see, Ready to Die is like a Suicide Note, Diary, and Memoire all wrapped into a collection of songs. I tell you, it's surely an amazing piece of work but given his early death, it's chilling as well. As for the song, I attempted to remember the first time I heard it and my initial reaction. Looking back at it in 2018, I had to be amazed by the boldness of this song in 1994. I was a college freshman and listened to rap music every single day. I had to think "What the hell was this dude smoking and drinking when he wrote this song?". I mean, he starts the song off with the line "When I die, f**k it I want to go the hell cause I'm a piece of sh*t, it ain't hard to f**king tell". In the song he talked about heaven being too strict because of God and his rules/laws. He talked about his life of crime, family dysfunction and an ugly world in general. As I listen to this track tonight, I honestly don't remember a more vivid track in regard to the subject matter at hand. The album Ready to Die covers the life of a character (some of it based on Biggie but most of it is fiction) that lives a street life and at the end of the story, he commits suicide. Hip Hop is known for storytelling and for better or worse, this was graphic to say the least. Personally it would take years for another MC to talk about death in this fashion. Of course prior to Ready to Die you had Tupac talking about life and death, Scarface and eventually Bone Thugs on the track "Crossroads". In the years following Ready to Die, we were introduced to DMX and Eminem. Both of these artists talked the pain and pleasure of life. Even with the emotional ride that Pac, Eminem and DMX took listeners on, I don't recall ever having chills like I did hearing "Suicidal Thoughts". This is honestly one of those songs that you almost wished was never recorded. You can also look at it in the fashion of a case study on Mental Health and possibly Substance Abuse. No, I'm not saying Biggie had either, I'm saying the song could represent a character suffering from either, or both. Puffy is also featured on the song trying to call Biggie and talk him out of harming himself. Puffy's character was the voice of reason and friend to Biggie on this track. There are so many layers to the song and album. At the end of the day, each of us have experienced a nightmare before. Maybe this was one that Biggie experienced and wanted to share with the world through his music. Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Sep 3, 2018

    The old saying is "Music is food for the soul", and I have always believed this to be true. Music is a true link to various cultures, races and people from different generations. People who know me are familiar with my strong passion for music. If you only know me via Social Media, you might believe that I'm only a "Hip Hop Head", but that is far from the truth. I enjoy Rock, Jazz, Soul (R&B), Gospel, Rap and some Country Music. The overall creativity with 80's Music has a place in my heart as well. With that being said, only a few albums have totally blown my mind and left me amazed. I always loved Marvin Gaye and if you know me, you know he is my favorite artist. Gaye's 11th album (yes, 11th and he had 7 more released afterwards) What's Going On is the project that forced me to look at music and life from a different perspective. There are other albums I love, but no body of music expressed life in such a vivid depiction as this album managed to accomplish. Marvin Gaye completed this concept album (a lot of people don't know it's a concept album) in 1970 and released to the world on May 21, 1971. The album is a 9 song story about a Vietnam Vet coming back to America to find that hate, division, racism, poverty and inequality was still a reality. I mean, imagine returning home after fighting in a WAR, only to find that you have to continue fighting against a system that view you as a second class citizen. Marvin Gaye's introspective lyrics and poetry was delivered flawlessly. Several tracks resonate with me over 47 years after it's release. The title track "What's Going On", "Inner City Blues", "Mercy Mercy Me", and "What's Happening Brother" stay on repeat. Well, the entire album stay on repeat. This album could be used as a Case Study on Systematic Racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and what Veterans continue to deal with decades after The Vietnam War or The World Wars. Marvin was magical to me on this album and there are only a few other albums that came close. These albums are NAS Illmatic, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Stevie Wonder Innervisions, the poetry Sade displayed on Love Deluxe and a song called "Who Is God" by Hip Hop Legend Rakim (of Eric B. & Rakim fame). Of course there are other amazing projects but these come to mind the fastest. Music is truly one of the best creations in the world. Whenever you are totally blown away by an album or song, it will nourish your soul without a doubt. I enjoy sharing my random thoughts here on Da Dome and on other Social Media outlets. What album totally changed your views on music, life and put you in a zone? What artist feed you with their words, instruments and/or passion? When I think about Marvin Gaye, Tupac and SADE, I often think about Philosophers that I learned about in High School and College. They are the musical versions of a Robert Frost who I respect, or Langston Hughes who I love. They are my versions of Shakespeare. They were able to go deeper than most. As I sit here listening to K Solo's Times Up album, the song "Who's Killing Who" blast from my speakers as I think about life on this Labor Day Holiday. Peace
  • SoundCloud Social Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon