One of the most annoying familiar traits of certain genre music is the incessant need habit of speaking their name at the beginning of a song. Listen to an intro of a modern hip-hop song and when you are just getting into the riff and beat, someone will inevitably drop the names of the artists on the song. Even very popular artist do this: Rhianna, Beyonce, Timbaland. It is almost as if they are afraid you will forget their name by the time you get to the record store to purchase the album the song is on website to purchase the mp3 or can’t read the title of the video playing on YouTube.
This insecurity seems especially prevalent in hip-hop and though not exclusive to it the quirk proliferates there and with people who prefer to mix old music rather than create their own. You don’t hear Aerosmith, that aged band who must be in fear of their fans forgetting their name due to the age their fans must be by now, saying their name in a song. Coldplay has a different sort of fan base, but seem fairly confident that their unique style will lead their fans to the correct isle at WalMart. Lady Gaga has an entire song telling you not to say her name… Alejandro.
I had thought at first that the fear must be due to the prevalence of misspelling that occurs especially with the youth who truncate every word to fit in a 140 character tweet or text message, but then I discovered that there are more than a 100 lyric apps on iTunes and certainly as many lyric sites and discussion boards on the internet. A person can plug in a few words into and come out with the correct song. So it can’t possibly be an insecurity with our educational system or the inability to use spellcheck.
After noodling this out a bit, I have come to the conclusion that saying your own name in your own song must be a marketing move. It is not exclusive to music. I have witnessed this phenomenon in old Politicians (mostly failed politicians who have lost elections because they kept saying their own name: Bob Dole, Bob Kerry… wait, maybe it’s a Bob thing?). But it is fairly exclusive to politics and pop music. Even actors, those well known narcissists, do not tell you their name at red carpet events so you don’t forget it. In fact, for them it seems the reward is you remembering their name through OTHER PEOPLE saying it.
In order to keep their name in public these artists say their own name in the intro to the song (before you get tired of it and change the station/ skip the mp3). That much is indisputable. It could be a plan for their future, when no one is really listening to their music but they are making a quick tour stop.
“Jason DeLuca is in town!”
“Who is that?”
“That guy on the radio, you know–” starts to sing: “Jaaaasoon De Luuuucaaa.”
“Oh yeah! How much are his tickets?”
“Only 40 bucks!”
“We aren’t doing anything tonight, lets go see him. Maybe we’ll remember more of his song…”
It wouldn’t really work for writers, though in fairness, a writer sticks his name on a title page and on the cover of the album before you even get a piece of their writing to forget. You have to admit that in the entertainment media (and politics), of which a writer is certainly a part of, name recognition is everything.