I was listening to a morning show on some sports radio station on the way to the train station this morning (couldn’t tell you WHICH station, cause the little clock/radio-station-lighted-thingy on my dash went out). And some chick on there was talking about how Young Buck got a warrant put out for his arrest cause he stabbed some guy who tried to punch Dr. Dre in the face at the AMA’s or something (uh, sports radio?). Drama, drama, drama. Anyway, the point is the regular DJ started going off saying ‘when did it become cool to not use your real name?’ Referring to ‘Young Buck’ being an artist obviously not performing by his real name. They were ranting about it being an ‘urban thing,’ and speculating different ideas of when it all started and whatnot. I just wanted to call the DJ and say ‘you’re an idiot.’
The whole concept of not performing under your real name started with the INCEPTION OF RADIO in the 1940s. The media format that the DJ was currently broadcasting under. When radio first started, just like digital music, record labels went in an uproar. Their issue was that a musician’s job at the time was primarily to perform live. There was no concept at all of a ‘recording artist’ at the time. So if a listener or a fan could hear a musician’s songs over the radio, WITHOUT paying to see them live, why would they bother anymore? The way the record labels saw it, every time a song was played over the radio, that was money directly out of their pockets.
Radio stations needed musicians to work with them though. You know the little local promos you hear with music in the background? It’s gotta come from somewhere. The primary way to get music back in the day would have been to hire a live orchestra to sit in the studio and play live during these little promo spots. But radio stations didn’t have the kind of money to throw down for a live orchestra, so they turned to new recording technology. Most of the time it came from popular musicians of the time, they wanted to do it cause the money was good, but couldn’t because of the contracts with their record companies not allowing them to work with radio at all. So the resolution? Artists started working with radio station under alias names. Thus, the trend Young Buck still purports to this day.
That was in the early 40s. It wasn’t an ‘urban’ thing—whatever the hell that means. It was a freaking RADIO thing. Know your history, dude.