How Little Are “Lil” Rappers, Really?

A look at hip-hop’s (supposedly) petite class.

2. Some rappers are “Lil” because they’re short, some are “Lil” because they started when they were young, and others…well, they have some explaining to do.


Lil Scrappy explains the origins of his name: “The hood gave me the nickname Lil Scrappy, you know what I’m saying…I was always having an attitude going around bustin’ n***as over their shit.”

(Yeah, we know what you’re saying.)

3. Some people actually find it kind of annoying! The “Lil” thing has become so big (har har har…) that Masta Ace and Edo. G even wrote a whole diss track about it.

The ambassadors of “real hip-hop” made a whole song (and hilarious music video) in 2009 devoted to taking down the Lils, called “Little Young.”

Unlike that rapper Lil’ 1/2 Dead, you lil’ bastards
Your lil’ rhymes and lil’ lines they fillin’ in
Big Ed O, lil’ rappers I’m belittlin’.

5. However you feel about it, the fact remains that there are a lot of “Lil” rappers out there. But how many of them are actually lil? BuzzFeed investigates.

John Gara

From left: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty, tephen Lovekin/Getty, Matthew Simmons/Getty, Steven Lawton/FilmMagic, Michael Buckner/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty, courtesy of Lil Boosie, Mike Coppola/Getty, Bryan Bedder/Getty, Charley Gallay/Getty, Peter Kramer/Getty

When you line them up, it becomes obvious that some of them are only “Lil” in name.

All right, all right; to their credit, Bow Wow and Romeo both dropped “Lil” from their names after they sprung up in height during puberty, but it’s hard not to still associate them with their original moniker.

But we see you, “Lil” Flip.

8. Now compare that lineup with these other acts in the game who are, you know, actually little, but not “Lil.”

John Gara

From left: Simmons/Getty, Gries/Getty, Henry/Getty, McCarthy/Getty, Kambouris/Getty, Brown/Getty, Harrison/Getty, Walters/Getty, Raglin/Getty, Bedder/Getty, Loccisano/FilmMagic, Lovekin/Getty, Mainz/Getty, Lovekin/Getty, Leon/Getty, Bedder/Getty, Whitby/Getty, Merritt/Getty, Akpanudosen/Getty.

Look at these shorties! And this isn’t even all of them!

These emcees are short and proud of it, and we applaud them for not feeling like they have to have their identity forever tied to their height or their age!

Their name is their name, no reason to change it.

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