So what does Ice-T’s name mean? A reference, perhaps, to sipping tall glasses of Lipton chillin’ with ice cubes? Yeah, right. Tracy Marrow’s moniker is inspired by Iceberg Slim, a.k.a. Robert Beck, the late author of Pimp: The Story of My Life (1969); ”ice” is also a hip-hop term for ”cool.” The T, of course, is for Tracy. Here’s an ample sample of the origins of other deft rap handles:
Afros: For the hairstyle this group sports; also an acronym for A Funky Rhythmical Organization of Sound.
Das Efx: Fro Dray (Andre Weston) and Skoob (William Hines) — the group’s two rappers — and ”effects.” Skoob is ”books” spelled backward, a tribute to his days as an English major at Virginia State.
EMPD: For Erick (Sermon) and Parrish (Smith) Making Dollars.
Fuschnickens: The Fu’s snatched the letters F and U from the first letters of the words For and Unity (the group also like kung fu flicks); Schnickens is a made-up word coined by the rappers to signify the group.
Heavy D: The hip hop handle of rap’s ”Overweight Lover” reflects the size of his love handles. The D stands for Dwight (Myers).
Big Daddy Kane: Antonio Hardy’s acronym for King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal.
L.L. Cool J: Ladies Love Cool James (Smith), naturally.
Pooh-Man: From the bear who likes honey — and judging from his album, Funky as I Wanna Be, Pooh-Man (Lawrence Parker) likes his honeys too.
Posdnous (of De La Soul): ”Sound sop” spelled backward. When spinning records as a DJ, Kelvin Mercer used to ”sop” (soak) up the sound.
Queen Latifah: Dana Owens goes by Latifah, Arabic for delicate and sensitive.
Redhead Kingpin: Redhead for the color of David Guppy’s fade, Kingpin for a character in the Spiderman comics admired by the rapper.
Speech (of Arrested Development): Todd Thomas was tagged Peach as a youth because of his light skin color; Peach became Speech when he started rapping.
Trugoy (of De La Soul): Yogurt (David Jolicoeur’s favorite snack) in reverse.
Yo Yo: Yolanda Withaker, who shortened her name and Xeroxed it.