While it’s true that Hip Hop music has taken a significant dip in quality over the last 20 years, there is one thing that you don’t see a whole lot of these days: deliberate misspelling of names and songs. Other than the rare exceptions like The Weeknd or Knxwledge, you don’t see that much misspelling at all nowadays. Whether it was the artists’ name or the titles of their music, Hip Hop artists from the 80’s and 90’s just loved to spell stuff as incorrectly as possible.
I’m not talking about stylized misspellings, like Salt ‘N Pepa, or Eazy-E, or Mobb Deep. I’m talking about those fools who take it way too far, like Da Youngstaz, or Rumpletilskinz, or worst of all–Da Dysfunkshunal Familee.
Not every artist was guilty of this, but it seemed like for every Poor Righteous Teachers, Black Sheep, or Public Enemy, there was a Xzibit, Kris Kross, or The Pharcyde (Although, I’m willing to give The Pharcyde a pass, as I’m sure they didn’t want any legal trouble with Gary Larson).
And if they weren’t “Da” whoever, they were “Tha” whoever. “Da” I can understand, but I could never figure out how “tha” came about. It’s pronounced the same as “the,” unless you are being dramatic and pronouncing it with a hard e, which nobody ever does when talking about rap groups. Were Tha Dogg Pound worried that they might be referred to as “THEE Dogg Pound?” All the misspellings are unnecessary but I think “tha” sticks in my craw the hardest.
And if the artist’s name was spelled correctly, then the song titles were crazy. Like that clown Kwamé (and his f*ckin’ polka dots). His first album had simple, readable song titles like “Sweet Thing” and “The Rhythm,” but by the time he got to his second album, the song titles were well past the point of obnoxious. He composed a song that was an ode to a girl. He could’ve just titled it “Only You.” Or, he could’ve channeled his inner Prince and titled it “Only U.” But no. Here’s what he went with:
What the hell. Another track on his second album was titled “Oneovdabigboiz.” Stop it. It’s not cute.
You don’t see this in other genres of music. Sure, Aerosmith isn’t a real word, but at least it’s made up of words you’ve seen before. And The Beatles is just a play on words that was probably very clever in 1960. (I don’t have any explanation for Def Leppard.) Thankfully, today’s Hip Hop artists have toned down all the wacky misspelling.
If only they could make music that doesn’t suck.