Probably worse than songs named after their performers, and IMNSHO only slightly less reprehensible than calling out your own name during sex: "Nelly Nelly Nelly Furtado, in your stereo". Even the Spice Girls are guilty: "There's Em in the place, who likes it in your face" etc. etc.

This is enough to make me instantly loathe a song for two reasons: one, it's needlessly egotistic; and two, it's a huge cop-out from writing decent lyrics. That said, some people can get away with it: Afrika Bambaataa in the Leftfield track Afrika Shox, mainly because that's such a cool name, and Eminem and Dr Dre do it with a sense of irony which makes it okay.

I once saw a comedy sketch which was almost entirely about the fact that James Brown will often come on stage and shout his own name at the audience, who will shout it back, until he gets totally overcome with emotion and has to go off. Well, James Brown is the granddaddy of soul, so we can let him off. Rap artists in particular, though, seem to have the kind of overblown sense of self-importance (*cough*Jay-Z*cough*) that leads to totally unforgiveable levels of this kind of behaviour.

Hoo, boy, did I ever open a can of worms...

  • anotherone says In some raps, the self-identification is so you know who's rapping. See Rapper's delight- there's 3 guys rapping, you need to be kept up as to which one is currently going. Same thing in a lot of others.
  • Jet-Poop says Actually, James Brown is the Godfather of Soul, not the grandfather...
  • Rancid_Pickle says your rap artist/name node made me laugh. I figure it was like a type of Bob Dole disease, where they sing their own names in the 3rd person.
  • wharfinger says re: rap artists who insist on singing their own name in their songs: Another precursor: "Jim Dandy" Mangrum of Black Oak Arkansas made a habit of that in the early 70's. FWIW (not much, I guess).
  • wharfinger says Ooh, another one: There's a softlink there (not mine) to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and rightly so: I saw them a few times, years ago, and Spencer would howl/bellow "BLUES Explosion! BLUES Explosion, baybeh!" in the early days, >>
  • wharfinger says >> just so people'd remember the name. I don't recall ever hearing that on the records, but this was ca. 1993 and at that time they were a pure live band; their records back then were forgettable.

Your kind comments (and otherwise) are all noted.

Thought for the day: does "I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady" count?

When rap started in the early '70s on the streets of the West Bronx, it was a combination of doing "dozens" and speaking the lyrics of reggae songs over the beats (a few early rappers were Jamaican immigrants, and this was a bit before reggae had spread to the US).

At parties the djs began rapping and spinning records. From Davey D's History of Hip Hop:
"In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day. For example, it was fashionable for dj to acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party.
As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as dj in an effort to be different, began to incorporate little rhymes-'Davey D is in the house/An he'll turn it out without a doubt.' It wasn't long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as 'rap' but called 'emceeing'."
Criticizing rap music for being self referential is like criticizing European classical music for using violins.

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