12 Best Tips On How To Pick A Rap Name
1. Emotional Detachment
This probably helped me the most when trying to decide on which rap name to use. But in the end, it really doesn’t matter as much you think it does. I hated that answer when i first heard it, but it makes a ton of sense. Tons of rappers have changed their name over time. J.Cole used to call himself ‘Therapy’ and “blaze” or something like that. Do you think that if J.Cole’s name was therapy you would say, “man this guy sucks”. No probably not.
The point is, the name isn’t as important as we think it is. Just because your name is one thing, doesn’t mean people can’t understand your values and respect your talent in rap. BUT with that being said… There are some pretty awful names out there, and they can make a first impression.
2. Names should represent what you’re about
If you went to watch a movie called jeepers creepers, you would expect a scary movie. If it turned out to be a rom com you’d be like “what the fuuu…”. I think this is the most important aspect in choosing a name. It’s the same reason why YouTube thumbnails are so important.
Keeping a potential listeners attention is hard on the internet. When someone is scrolling through Spotify or Youtube they might not listen to your music because your name doesn’t appeal to their values. This isn’t always the case, but it’s something to be aware of.
A cool option is to write down a whole bunch of beliefs, values, ideas and things you’d like to represent with your music. Then combine those with your government name.
Like again my name is Matt Edward, which is generic and boring.
The things I represent are:
Building your ideal life
Blah blah blah I could go on for a while. But these could be some cool tie-ins to my government name. You can even take it a step further and look up synonyms for these words as well. This will add to your word selection.
Matt Never Finishes. Matt Neverfin. Okay not the best lol. Not a huge fan of those. Let’s add some alliteration to make it a bit more snappy.
3. Use Alliteration
A cool way to come up with a rap name is to use alliteration. Because it sounds good and rolls off the tongue. It’s also catchy and easy to remember for the most part.
Alliteration is using the same starting letter for two words consecutively.
This combined with the step of picking words that define who you are, or who you want to represent as a person. AND combined with using a variation of your government name, is a great way to come up with a catchy name that describes who you are while staying authentic.
4. Version Of Your Own Government Name
A lot of famous rappers come up with names this way. J.Cole. Kanye West. Tupac Shakur. Eminem. (Marshall Mathers). Joell Ortiz. Royce da 5’9.
In todays age, you can even just use your government name as your artist name. YOU are the brand, and if you like your name, use it. If you don’t like it, than try to put a variation on it.
My name is Matt Edward. Which I personally think is the most generic name of all time. So I was thinking like Meds. Meddy. Matte Finish. Edwords. Or something like that.
5. Make sure it’s something you are comfortable saying
Can you comfortably say it out loud? Do you feel weird when you say it? If this is the case then change it up. It should feel natural when you say it out loud. And you should be able to tell someone what your artist alias is without cringing when you say it to them.
Like if your name was lil gangbang a.k.a mommy moneyshots. It might be weird to put that on Facebook and have your famjam see it. If not, then I hope its just for your sense of humour haha. Kinda funny actually.
6. A lot of rap names change with time
2Chainz used to be called titty something. But he went through a life transformation and decided he was someone new now. And changed his name accordingly. The point is, so many rappers today used to have rap names they went by 10 years previous. And 10 years from now they might change again. The name should represent who you are at the time and you can change it later if you go through some sort of huge experience.
7. Pick a character that embodies your values and combine it
Tyler Durden, Snoopy in Snoop Dogg, Optimist Prime, whatever. If you align with some of the motivations and values behind these characters than that can resonate what type of person you are to your audience.
Well known characters are used all the time and tied-in with other pieces of you that might work together to form a name.
8. Make sure you are searchable
You have to check the Googlesphere first in order to determine if there is anyone else using this name and is popular enough to rank higher than you in Google when you start gaining some traction. Like for example, Meddie is taken on Spotify by another artist who is a pretty popular R&B Singer. If I would have used that name, it would likely be overshadowed by them for a long time.
Also check to see if you can get username handles for social media. This is part of your branding 101. Getting the same username and handle across all social media and spotify will ensure that you are completely searchable on google. That’s how people find things these days… They might type your name or the closest they know to associate you with and pair it with the term “hip hop” or “raps”. Like “edwords” “hip hop”.
9. Who’s Your Tribe?
A cool way to find out what kind of name you should choose is to define your audience. Or your potential audience. Where do you go and hang out, what communities are you a part of? Define the person that might listen to your music. What they look like, their beliefs or ideals. Than come up with a name that would peak that person’s interest if they stumbled upon it.
10. Ask People Who Know You
Take this one with a grain of salt. This can be good or bad. You shouldn’t phrase it like, “yo mom, what should my rap name be”. Because your friends and family might not take it seriously. Just ask them what words they would use to describe you as a person.
Use those words as a base and starting point for your rap name creation.
11. Don’t just pick a random word in the dictionary
Honestly, I was scouring thesaurus for cool ideas to get for my rap name. But it all just felt so inauthentic and fake to say out loud. Like, “Yo, Therapy on the mic”. I just think these come off as kinda corny in 2018 era. Then again, Future is pretty huge so… What the hell do I know?
Just my personal opinion that most come off cheesy.
12. Be decisive
When you have something you like. Roll with it. I honestly spent like a month trying to come up with something so ridiculously clever. But everything came out super inauthentic. It was too polished and too ‘neat’. Just pick it. Be decisive and move on. IF you then receive a ton of feedback about how shitty your name is. Change it. OR maybe use that as your marketing ploy haha.