Using slang and purposefully changing the spellings of words is all a part of the hip-hop vernacular. When it comes to rappers choosing their stage names, they really get to break all rules. Things like trading an “s” for a “z” or a “$,” exchanging “i” for “y” or leaving the “o” out of “young” are now all commonplace. Some MCs, like Tech N9ne and the Rej3ctz get even more innovative when picking a moniker. While these misspellings show off a little originality on the artist’s part, it can make things slightly difficult for A: people who are tasked with spelling these names correctly on a consistent basis (waves to the crowd). And, B: people entrenched in the culture who often find themselves going on dictionary.com to make sure they’ve spelled “ludicrous” correctly because of that damned Christopher Bridges (shakes fist).
While some rapper names are obvious misspellings, if you aren’t careful, getting too familiar with a certain MC’s alias will have you looking foolish. So, if you ever appear on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, leave your rap knowledge at the door.
C. Vernon Coleman II is a writer living in Atlanta. Follow him @Vernon_Coleman.