How far would you go to honor the legacy of your favorite rappers? Maybe, for some strange reason, you feel you have to prove how much of a fan you are of certain specific rappers: how would you go about it? Well, there is a growing amount of people who are answering those questions by naming their literal children after their favorite rappers.
A new study by BabyCenter.com found that 2017 saw an uptick in popularity of rapper-name babies. Chance the Rapper, whose real name is not, of course, Chance, but rather Chancellor Jonathan Bennett, seemed to be the biggest inspiration for new parents in 2017, as the name Chance became 21 percent more popular. Similarly, the name Kendrick jumped 9 percent on the website’s list of top boy names. Maybe parents were really inspired by K-Dot’s work this year, which included the excellent album Damn, which recently snagged seven Grammy nominations.
Jay Z, who was also nominated for a whole bunch of Grammys (eight to be exact, more than any other artist this year), inspired 3 percent more parents to name their boy Jay. But that’s not the full extent of Jay Z’s influence: since he and his wife Beyoncé named their firstborn child Blue Ivy back in 2012, color names have been increasing in popularity. Even this year, the name Blue was 9 percent more popular as a name for girls. It was also 14 percent more popular as a name for boys; similarly, Red saw a rise of 16 percent popularity as a name for boys.
Chance and Kendrick are a few of our biggest modern rappers, and even though Jay Z’s career has been long, he did release an album this year. But two more old-school artists actually might have had greater influence on new parents this year: Dre, presumably a nod to Dr. Dre (or maybe Anthony Anderson's manchild patriarch on black-ish?), rose 40 percent in popularity as a boy name, while Queen, perhaps a nod to Queen Latifah, was even more popular with a 41 percent uptick in popularity for baby girls.
Parents have also been naming their children after some of the biggest basketball stars. If parents want their children to succeed, it would make sense to name them after people like LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. (That might be some gnarly pressure on those poor children to take up basketball and be amazing...) LeBron rose a whopping 64 percent in popularity as a boys' name, Kyrie jumped 39 percent, and Kevin (as in Love or Durant) became 9 percent more popular. (Of course, Kevin is a popular name regardless of the Cavaliers or Warriors.) Carmelo also became 18 percent more popular.
Finally, and perhaps predictably but also kind of creepily, the girl name Zhuri—the name LeBron James gave his daughter—became a shocking 81 percent more popular this year.