According to OHHLA.com, 57 rappers have used or currently use the prefix Lil’, Little or Young (including all of the ridiculous spellings of this word) in their rap names. Keep in mind the site only tracks rappers who have actually released a real album. So the seemingly endless amount of mixtape and Myspace rappers aren’t even part of this tally.
So to you, the rapper who is thinking of what to call himself, why would you want to give yourself a name that at least 57 other people have?
Assumingly we passed this stage back in day during the plague of the “Word + Initial” (c. Easy-E, Busy-B, etc.) and the “group name + number of members in the group” combinations. (c. Treacherous Three, Furious Five, etc.) We went a long time without having to deal with an assembly line of copycats until the last few years. But the Lil’s and Young’s are taking over and nobody knows why or how we got here.
If a rapper is under 16 years of age or shorter than 5’ 7” when you begin your rap career then it’s understandable why one would go with one of those particular prefixes. It’s relevant to who he is and its probably one of the first things that people notice about them.
But think about it; is either of these names conducive to a long-term career in the game? If you are “young” you will eventually get older and if you are “lil’”, you will grow and your name will become an unnecessary oxymoron. Your name will become an ironic indicator of your downfall. Think I’m joking? Of the 57 names guess how many have had a relevant career that lasted 5 years or more…
So for all you stat nerds out there, if you decide to call yourself Lil’ or Young, you have a 10.5% chance of seeing your career last longer than 5 years. So I guess if you’re 15 years old when you drop, you won’t be around long enough for your name to be a contradiction. Put that your pipe and smoke it.
In a time where established artists have difficulty selling records, it is more important than ever to separate yourself from the pack. Record companies are looking for sure shots and if you seem like everyone else, you don’t have a chance in hell. You have to be more original than throwing a Lil’ or Young in front of your name. No one will take you seriously.
So be as creative with your name as you plan to be with your rhymes. You never get a chance to make a first impression. For an example of what not to do, let me direct you to the gentleman in the picture accompanying this post. He really should have read this post before choosing his name.
His name you ask?
Lil Young (I can’t make this stuff up)
Take a good look though… You’ll never see him again.
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