Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does every rapper’s name have to describe their physical appearance?” Or “How many rappers have names like that?” Or “Who was the first rapper to have a name like that?” Well, I don’t really know and that’s not what this article is about. Go Wikipedia that if you really want to know.
What I can tell you is that there are a lot of rappers who use this technique when crafting their stage names. For artists whose main job is to creatively put words together, rappers really suck at thinking of good stage names. With so many names that begin with Lil’ or Big or Young, it’s only natural that we debate over who’s got the best one. So without further to do, here is my top ten list of rappers whose stage names describe their size or age.
10. Big K.R.I.T. — Justin Scott
If you told me to name the most “pretty good” rapper of all time, I would probably tell you it was Big K.R.I.T. He has released a pretty good mixtape along with several pretty good features. He did a pretty good song with The Roots. He even did a pretty good remix of Kanye’s “30 hours.” In 2016 he posted 12 freestyles in 12 hours, leading many people to believe an album was on the way, only to find out he had parted ways with his record company. But just a year later he released his fourth studio album, “4eva Is A Long Time.” It was pretty good too.
9. Lil’ Romeo — Percy Romeo Miller, Jr.
A throwback to my childhood, Lil’ Romeo’s “My Baby” — an overdub of I Want You Back — was truly an “it can only go downhill from here” type of song. He would later release a diss track directed at Lil’ Bow Wow, thus starting the best beef between two preteen rappers of all time. Since then he has had two name changes, a failed reality show, several disastrous acting cameos and a surprisingly alright basketball career.
8. Lil’ Kim — Kimberly Jones
It’s not easy being a woman in the boys club that rapping is and continues to be. Sure, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and others have managed to find their niches in the rap community but with little to no actual rapping involved. Lil’ Kim, on the other hand, is a legitimate rap star. While following classic East Coast hip-hop styles, Kim added a tough, hardcore persona that we hadn’t seen from a female rapper before. She has collaborated with artists such as Biggie Smalls, Puff Daddy and Mary J Blige, just to name a few. She took a backseat for a while, but has recently had a resurgence in the community; not in a good way.
7. Lil’ B — Brandon McCartney
Merciful BasedGod, please don’t put a curse on me.
6. Lil’ Bow Wow — Shad Moss
Lil’ Bow Wow will forever bring me back to the upside-down visor wearing, basketball shorts sagging, Pokemon Sapphire playing days in elementary school. His hilariously self-titled song “Bow Wow (That’s My Name),” which featured Snoop Dogg back when he was actually still gangsta, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s top hip-hop/rap charts when he was only 13. For people born in the late ‘90s, Lil’ Bow Wow was some of our first exposure to rap. As my friends were listening to Aaron Carter’s “I Want Candy,” I was keeping it real with the kid who used Michael Jordan’s shoes as a PEDs in a street basketball league. Nothing was more painful than when I heard he had dropped the “Lil” in his name, thus making him dead to me. RIP the artist formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow.
5. Lil’ Dicky — David Burd
Not a lot of people have the balls to quit a comfortable job at an advertising agency in San Francisco to become a professional rapper. With the help of an underground cult following of Jewish college frat boys and a list of impressive features on his debut album, Lil’ Dicky made my top five. His combination of traditional sex jokes paired with his willingness to make fun of his below average manhood makes for a pretty entertaining act. He is able to connect with his audience by referencing common experiences such as getting too high and trying to save money.
4. Young Thug — Jeffery Lamar Williams
As ridiculous as it is to scream “Thug” at the beginning of his songs, the guy makes some slaps. In a world full of Kendricks and J. Coles, it’s refreshing to have a guy like Thug who doesn’t take himself too seriously. His Twitter and Instagram, where he likes to call out anyone and everyone without a thought of hypocrisy in his mind, are definitely worth a follow. The fact that he knows his place in the rap world and has settled into it makes me like the guy even more.
3. Lil’ Jon — Jonathan Smith
While others might consider Lil Jon to be more of an expert background yeller than a rapper, he has contributed on far too many hits for me to not put him in the top three. Who else has been able to stay relevant for as long as he has while not actually singing about anything? From features on early 2000’s hits like Usher’s “Yeah” to his own hits such as “Get Low” and “Outta Your Mind,” Lil’ Jon has consistently given us material that fucking bumps. It’s also worth mentioning at 47 years old, this guy can still party. He has been singing about getting waaaaay too drunk and criticizing us for not being able to keep up with his alcoholic tendencies for 15 years now. This makes me think that he can name way more shots than he does in that one LMFAO song.
2. Lil’ Wayne — Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
When not being a mili a mili a millionaire, Lil’ Weezy is one of the leading rappers of his generation. Many people wrote him off during the prime of his career, but in recent years many of us have taken a look back at his body of work and realized all he has done for the rap community. His method of recording and writing were almost unheard of before he started doing it regularly. Not only is he my number two rapper on this list, but he is also my number one rapper who carries a guitar around with him, despite clearly not being able to play a single chord.
1. Biggie Smalls — Christopher Wallace
No big surprise here (painfully bad pun intended). Biggie is the essence of old-school East Coast rap. He pulled off one of the most successful post-mortem albums of all time that almost made us forget about his debut album “Ready to Die,” which was way ahead of its time and an instant hit. He also has one of the most legitimate conspiracy theories surrounding his death — I mean, alleged death… We can only hope he is having fun in Cuba with Elvis and Kurt Cobain.
Young Jeezy — Jay Jenkins
A staple in the Atlanta rap scene, Young Jeezy is an outspoken democrat that heavily campaigned for Obama in 2008. He even received a shoutout from President Obama at a congressional dinner. When not making extremely important political statements, Jeezy has had several good collaborations with Akon and even got Kanye to feature on a track from his 2016 summer release. It’s pretty much like every other Jeezy album: not worth the listen, but you should hear it at some point.
Flo Rida — Tramar Dillard
Yes, I know. His name doesn’t describe his age or size, but it does describe where he was born. When you push together Flo Rida’s name it becomes “Florida,” which is where he is from. I’m not sure if it is intentional or just ironic, but either way, it’s kinda funny. Plus, this guy made my middle school dances lit!
Big Mike — Michael Barnett
I just know Big Mike from being that other dude in The Geto Boys. That counts for something though, right?