Every so often, rap and food go hand in hand. The first hip hop radio hit “Rapper’s Delight” chronicled an experience by Wonder Mike of The Sugarhill Gang where he went over to a friend’s house whose mama couldn’t cook. The lyrics, “The macaroni’s soggy, the peas are all mushed / And the chicken tastes like wood,” are cemented into early rap lore. Thus, with such an early connection, rappers’ names being inspired by food would soon enough follow.
These names often have a metaphorical context for their inspiration. Whether it be the hardness of an ice cube or the sweet desirable nature of a cupcake, when an MC has a food-related name, it can often give key insight into the bars they deliver. Below is a list rappers who are named after food. Enjoy — or shall we say, “Bon appetit”?
This essential spice-named rap group reigned supreme from 1986-1997 with bombastic counterpunching that seasoned the core of the genre. They sure could get spicy, like on their 1990 cut “Let’s Talk About Sex,” or their 1986 song “I’ll Take Your Man.” But, they could also provide essential balance like the seasonings they are named after with empowerment centered anthems like 1988’s “Solo Power (Let’s Get Paid).”
The NYC female spitters along with DJ Spinderella got the name “Salt-N-Pepa” after they rapped, “Right now I’m gonna show you how it’s supposed to be / ‘Cause we, the salt and pepper MCs,” on their first track, which became a local radio hit. They knew exactly the name that would describe them best right from the jump.
2. Ice Cube
Frozen water that’ll make any drink colder seems exactly like the name to best describe this legendary Southern California MC. O’Shea Jackson, aka Ice Cube, is one of the coldest rappers to ever touch a mic. Helping to birth the subgenre of gangsta rap with his group N.W.A. is only the beginning of his chilling career trajectory.
Cube would go on to release 10 more solo albums and unleash his biting lyrics for over three decades. On his 2008 track “Cold Places,” Cube raps, “To all my people goin’ through it on a daily basis / And it seem like the world is full of cold places.” It seems like he may have named himself Ice Cube to manifest the strength needed to take on the world.
Marshall Mathers is abbreviated to MM, then M&M, then Eminem, and boom — an unforgettable rap name. The Detroit rapper did a commercial with M&Ms in 2012, but funny enough doesn’t have a lyric where he talks about M&Ms in his catalog.
In 2018, the website LyricFind did a search for the most used candy in lyrics, and M&Ms won with 122. It’s insane that the rapper whose name is most associated with the chocolate candy never rapped about them. However, the name remains and has become nearly as widely recognized as the candy itself.
Surprisingly, the origins of the moniker “Ice-T” have nothing to do with the beverage it shares a name with. L.A. rapper-turned-actor Ice-T placed the Ice before the T (which stands for his first name Tracy) as an homage to pimp/philosopher/author Iceberg Slim. Yet, it is impossible to not think of the chilled drink when you hear the rapper’s name.
Ice-T famously blended the sounds of gangsta rap and heavy metal during his career and garnered his widespread audience via provocative lyrics displaying the realities of police brutality. This, of course, became ironic when he became known for his acting work as a cop on “Law & Order SVU.”
5. The Black Eyed Peas
Quintessential soul food items seem as though they should be regular entries for rapper names on a list like this one. However, that sole spot belongs to the multifaceted rapping and singing group The Black Eyed Peas. The original iteration of the group, featuring singer Kim Hill, had a much more soul-filled sound.
They filled a space right between the Native Tongues of the early 90s and the Soulquarians of the late ’90s, feeding their fans with a consciousness centered message. Then they brought Fergie in and would go on a pop-rap run from 2003-2009 that would eventually land them in a Super Bowl Halftime show.
6. Denzel Curry
South Florida spitter Denzel Curry goes by his government name. That said, his mother is of Bahamian descent and curry chicken is a staple with that culture’s cuisine. Bahamian curry is a turmeric based curry seasoning also featuring cayenne pepper and Bahamian sea salt.
One could describe Denzel’s raps as a paralleling blend of savory and spicy. On one of his biggest records “Ricky,” he quotes both his parents, lyrically showing the roots of his perspective, “My daddy said ‘Treat young girls like your mother,’ / My momma said ‘Trust no h**, use a rubber.’”
7. Black Milk
This J Dilla protégé is as underrated a producer/rapper as they come. He also has one of the most unique rap artist food names in existence: Black Milk. His name was not inspired by anything other than sounding cool, but with a one-of-one name comes a one-of-one sound.
From producing as a part of the hip hop group Random Axe with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson to lacing Detroit alt-rap icon Danny Brown with a full album of heaters, Black Milk has shown he can fit into multiple pockets.
CupcakKe seems like the perfect name for a rapper who claims to have been inspired directly by Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” to make one of her first songs to blow up, “Vagina.” This Jersey bred MC would eventually release her debut mixtape, Cum Cake, to completely leave the insinuations aside and leave nothing up for interpretation.
But don’t get it twisted, CupcakKe has layers of depth to her music, covering topics like LGBT advocacy, police corruption and sexual assault with top tier artistry. While her fandom remains mostly underground, her influence can be heard in many present-day facets of mainstream female rap.
9. Vanilla Ice
This rapper’s name seems like it was picked out of a name generator for white rapper names. The name almost seems like a parody of itself or a name made up by a comedian playing a white rapper in a sketch on “SNL.” Vanilla Ice was famously parodied by Jim Carrey on “In Living Color,” changing his lyrics from “Ice, ice baby” to “I’m really white, white baby.”
10. Lil Reese
We have our second candy-themed rapper on the list. Chicago’s Lil Reese, to our knowledge, does not have a name that intentionally has affiliation with the Reese’s Cup. However, much like Ice-T, it’s impossible to not think of the food item when you hear it. Lil Reese was also a part of the 2010s version of an Ice-T-style gangsta rap revolution in Chicago Drill music. His collaborations with the likes of Chief Keef and Lil Durk still hold weight within that early era of street-centered slaps.
11. Juicy J
The Three 6 Mafia founding member who had a “Bandz a Make Her Dance” resurgence in the 2010s has one of the most recognizable drink adjacent names in hip hop. Juicy J almost sounds short for Juicy Juice, which all ’90s babies will remember is “100 percent juice for 100 percent kids.” That said, with his propensity for explicit lyrics and hardcore rhymes, it’s safe to say Juicy J’s name is far from a children’s juice ad.
12. Bun B
Hilariously, the rapper named after burger buns now has a burger restaurant in his hometown of Houston, TX. The eatery, Trill Burgers, has garnered national attention and even won “Good Morning America’s” Best Burger Competition. As one half of the legendary rap duo UGK, B’s deep baritone delivery always counterbalanced the nasal drawl of his partner Pimp C. Now, he finds his perfect balance on the buns he’s named after.
13. DeJ Loaf
While there would seem to be an obvious connotation with a loaf of bread to money, Detroit rapper DeJ Loaf actually got the word “loaf” in her name because of a shoe. She just really likes loafers. Yet her name can’t help but remind you of your latest trip to the grocery store. DeJ’s smooth delivery is a mix of melody and raps like butter on bread.
14. Yung Gravy
His signature ad-lib, “It’s gravy baby,” is reason enough for Yung Gravy’s rapper name to be what it is. The self proclaimed MILF-magnet slings sauce all over tracks with unique samples. His smooth delivery can, at times, resemble the pour of gravy over the turkey on any Thanksgiving table. The Minnesota born rhymer may be hit or miss at times on wax, but his food-themed rapper name always slaps.
15. Lor Choc
Baltimore’s own Lor Choc’s melodic rap flows can hit silky like a truffle or hard like a 60 percent cacao dark chocolate bar. This chocolate-inspired rapper touches on a lot of different life conundrums in her music. On one track you could hear her rap about battling drug addiction and dealing with depression, while on another you could hear her crooning about lost love. On her biggest song, “Fast Life,” you can even hear her flexing about running up a check. It’s like her music is a Valentine’s Day chocolate sampler box.
16. Maxo Kream
This Houston rapper’s last name may seem more tied to the Wu-Tang definition of “C.R.E.A.M.,” but that doesn’t stop it from making it from sounding like what goes in our coffee. Maxo’s opening bar on his track “Roaches” goes, “Remember roaches in my ashtray and roaches in my cereal.” So, though he may not be explicitly referring to cream, he is using milk or cream-affiliated items in his songs. Kream also uses bars to link drug dealing to food items, with a favorite being, “I’m the trap Barack Obama, Betty Crocker, used to pedal.”
17. Flavor Flav
The MC/hype-man of the political rap group Public Enemy has a food name that couldn’t be left off our list. While his name isn’t inspired by an individual type of food, drink or even ingredient, it does describe the one thing that is most important: flavor. Flav is as flavorful a rapper and performer as they come. Whether it’s running around with a huge clock around his neck, starring in his own reality show to find love or singing the national anthem at a Milwaukee Bucks halftime show, he’s always sure to leave a mark on your creative palate.