The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper:
Kritikal Rob Gullatte
This Week's Subject(s): Rappers changing their names
Ask A Rapper: First you changed your name recently. Why?
Rob Gullatte: Well, first off I started the process of changing my name from Kritikal about two years ago. I started Googling the name and there were so many rappers with the name Kritikal - even though my name isn't pronouced like the word critical - so I started to shorten Kritikal and call myself Krit.
Well, little did I know that Big K.R.I.T. would become one of the hottest new acts. Long story short, I thought it would be corny to come up with a brand-new alias, and felt like my last name was original enough to make people curious when they see how it's spelled as opposed to how it is really pronounced.
So officially I'm going by "Rob Gullatte" with the understanding that people will still call me "Kritikal." So when I send music to blogs and shit, I want the name to read Rob Gullatte or Kritikal, but all future music will be released under Rob Gullatte.
AAR: Will there be any change to the way you make your music? Like, will you only be rapping about Christianity now?
RG: Nothing will really change about my music or my approach. If anything, the music will become even more authentic now that I am going by my real name. No, I will not become a gospel rapper.
AAR: Let's have you do this: List the six best (or worst) name changes that rappers have made. Also, if Scarface isn't on your list, a curse shall fall upon your house. Ready? Go.
RG: As far as best and worst name changes, I'll start in no particular order:
Nu-Wine To Wine-O* was not a good look in my opinion. I remember seeing Nu-wine perform at a youth revival, and then hearing him on "Hooka Hooka," like "What the fuck?" And the crazy thing is he really said "I know y'all wondering what the hell is going on." Crazy.
*Nu-Wine was a gospel rapper. He changed to Wine-O and became a gangster rapper.
Mos Def to Yasiin* is another bad one. Not a good idea, Mos.
*His new name now that he's back making music with Black Star.
Killa Mike to Mike Bigga is another one I didnt like. Killer Mike is one of my favorite artists.
Tity Boi to 2 Chainz: Now, although I find it kind of funny that a grown man would call himself "Tity Boi," it's hard to take him serious with that name, I think 2 Chainz is a more apt name for his movement.
Fiend to International Jones: I like that switch. It's a dope name, although I don't like his new voice.
Peedi Crack to Peedi Peedi* was another one that is useless.
Honorable mention: Snoop Doggy Dog to Snoop Dogg and Puff Daddy to Diddy.
FYI, I have no clue about Scarface's name change*, so I now return the curse to the sender. Finally I want to say that I think I am in a better position to make the name change a succesful name change due to the fact that I am largely unknown as it is, and this seems to be getting me a little more press.
* Scarface was known as "Akshen" early in his career.
Trill Hip Hop is coming in 2012.
And RockShow, a.k.a. Loud Howard*, will be home by February.
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*Show was locked up recently. If you're keeping track, that's him, KDOGG and KAB that have all been incarcerated recently.
Kritikal Rob Gullatte on Twitter at @RobGullatte.