Hear us out: As much as we engage in good old-fashioned music criticism, we recognize how tough and unforgiving the world of music is. Every musician who isn’t an R. Kelly or Varg Vikernes deserves at least an iota of baseline respect for baring their soul to the public and daring to do their part to satiate mankind’s thirst for entertainment.
That said, sometimes people masquerade through this endeavor under a god-awful name, like Wheatus, Rudimentary Peni, Puscifer (apologies to the remaining Tool fans we haven’t already pissed off) or We Butter the Bread With Butter. Conversely, you also have names like Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth, Strawberry Alarm Clock and Motorhead. Rock music has a wide spectrum of names both good and bad, and hip-hop is no different. Below are five of the best and worst.
The stage name of New York rap legend Lawrence Parker originates from an acronym he graffitied during his youth. The acronym KRS-One stands for “Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone,” and given that his profoundly rich legacy pivots strongly on his political activism, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more apt moniker for him. That the acronym and its phrase share the same last syllable is merely the cherry on top.
Flo Rida's greatest work may be as confined to the rearview mirror as fuzzy dice, but the Miami Gardens rapper has a professional name that is more clever and well-written than anything he’s ever audibly recorded. (Get it? Because his name is “Flo Rida,” and he’s from Florida?!)
Three 6 Mafia
Along with Geto Boys, Memphis hip-hop outfit Three 6 Mafia were significant pioneers of the horrorcore subgenre, which put a more macabre twist on gangsta rap. Three 6 Mafia’s name perfectly encapsulates this duality, as it juxtaposes Satan’s symbol (“Three 6,” or “666”) with an organized crime syndicate. Every once in awhile, an artist pulls off a sound that inexplicably enhances the gravity of their name. Three 6 Mafia is one of those artists.
MC 900 Ft Jesus
Dallas’ own MC 900 Ft Jesus needs no introduction, and the merits of his name certainly need to explanation, but his name comes from a sermon in which televangelist Oral Roberts claimed to receive a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus. According to Roberts, the giant Christ commanded him to build a hospital on the grounds of Oral Roberts University.
(Jesus originally told him to construct a hospital on the grounds of Anal Roberts University, but apparently, that school is incredibly difficult to access. Still, legend has it that people who get in are amazed at how much they enjoy it.)
Ski Mask the Slump God
We want to play whatever game of mad libs that Fort Lauderdale rapper Ski Mask the Slump God is apparently playing. This is the only explanation we can find for his name.
“Lil Boosie” wasn’t the best name, but the rapper's decision to change his stage name to “Boosie Badazz” in 2014 was worse than Malice’s change to “No Malice” and Snoop Dogg’s change to “Snoop Lion” combined.
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The only reason comedy rapper David Andrew Burd performs under the name “Lil Dicky” is because of its potential as a self-deprecating dick joke which, by the way, is incredibly on-brand for him. Making a joke or two at your own expense is one thing, but pegging your entire rap career to the name “Lil Dicky” is essentially surrendering yourself to a life in which you try to solicit a few chuckles at the cost of your own dignity.
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
There’s a rapper from Compton named Boogie, so any time fans of New York’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie want to refer to him by his shorthand, they always have to say “A Boogie,” which not only rolls off the tongue with the grace of the Chernobyl disaster, but was somehow made even worse with Kodak Black’s god-awful lyrical passage, “Got a booger in my nose, A Boogie on the chorus.”
CunninLynguists is a great band, but imagine if a friend walked up to you and showed you a woke group of rappers who performed under the name “MasterDebaters.” Now you know what I went through in high school when someone told me about CunninLynguists.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again/NBA YoungBoy
This Schrodinger’s Cat of a stage name is both clever and versatile for catchy nicknames, but also terrible and uncomfortably reflective of a clumsy, off-kilter personality.