11 Rejected Rap Album Titles

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'Thick Like Beyonce's Leg' and Other Rejected Album Titles

Illegal – The Untold Story

[In the conference room where magic happens]

Mike: I got it! I got a clear winner!!
Adam: Let's hear it, Mike.
Mike: Let's call it Thick Like Beyonce's Leg!
Adam: Brilliant idea, Mike. Let's run it by Dave at the label and see what he thinks.  

What's that old saw about not judging a book by its title? Or was it don't judge a book by its cover? Whatever. It's not just books. We also make snap judgments about music and movies based on title.

If the title is lame or offensive (or both, as is the case with the #1 entry on this list), it's guaranteed to get smacked down by some bearded bloke in a tailored Italian suit, whose job it is to reject presumably bad marketing ideas. Album titles, good or bad, have also been rejected because of the perceived cost to the business.

Here are 11 rejected rap album titles and what ended up on the shelves instead.

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Beastie Boys - The Mix-Up (2007)

Beastie Boys – The Mix-Up

Original Title: Thick Like Beyonce’s Leg

According to Mike D, Beastie Boys flirted with the idea of naming their instrumental-only 7th album Thick Like Beyonce’s Leg (Thick Like Beyonce's Derriere would have been more apropos). Apparently, someone decided (I’m looking at you, Mr. Carter) it wasn’t such a grand idea. Mike later explained: "Beyonce’s very talented and beautiful and she’s probably stronger than we are…we didn’t want to have any problems with her."

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Lady of Rage - Necessary Roughness (1997)

Lady of Rage – Necessary Roughness

Original Title: Eargasm

Vagina Diner? Cool. Eargasm? Nah, too vulgar. Gender politics aside, Rage was also forced to reconsider the contents of Eargasm, which was near completion before being shelved. The album also contained songs like "Ride on the Eargasm," "Late In The Midnight Hour" and "Butter Scotch," which isn't about what you think it's about.

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Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill (1991)

Cypress Hill

Original Title: America’s Most Blunted

In hindsight, America’s Most Blunted sounds way more interesting than the self-titled version of Cypress Hill's 1991 masterpiece. Sidebar: MF Doom and Madlib borrowed the title for one of the standout tracks on Madvillainy.

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Coolio - It Takes A Thief (1994)

Coolio – It Takes A Thief

Original Title: The Last Original Nigga

Coolio’s last solid effort, 1995’s Gangsta’s Paradise, was edgier than It Takes A Thief. Still, the powers-that-be couldn’t bear the thought of losing revenue over a silly album title.

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Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...(1994)

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. © Loud Records

Original Title: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Niggaz

Oh, so you thought those dots were in the title as ornaments? Nope. Raekwon was forced to excise the N-Bomb from his classic debut at the last minute.

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Tragedy Khadafi - Saga of A Hoodlum (1993)

Saga of A Hoodlum

Original Title: Black Rage

Queensbridge MC Tragedy Khadafi wanted to title his 1993 album Black Rage. Not only did A&M Records shoot down the idea, they refused to release Saga of A Hoodlum until Tragedy agreed to remove an anti-police song titled “Bullet” from the album. As if that wasn’t enough, they also dropped Tragedy from their roster after the whole saga.

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Illegal - The Untold Story (1993)

Illegal – The Untold Story

Original Title: Black Little Bastards

It wasn’t just the thought of a 14-year-old buying an album titled Black Little Bastards that made this a provocative title. Nay. It was the idea of two 14-year olds (Jamal Phillips and Malik Edwards) releasing an album titled Black Little Bastards. Whether the teen duo had their potential customers in mind or not, one thing was certain: Rowdy Records wasn’t having any of it. They settled on The Untold Story.

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Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep (1994)


Original Title: Niggamortis

Somewhere in Israel, there's a lucky fan with an original copy of the original Gravediggaz album with the title Niggarmortis. Our long-running obsession with political correctness met Gravediggaz with a blockade here in the U.S. Although it was issued in the U.S. as 6 Feet Deep, they successfully released Niggarmortis overseas with the OG title intact.

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Da Lench Mob - Guerrillas In The Mist (1992)

Da Lench Mob – Guerrillas In The Mist

Original Title: Pin The Tail on The Honky

Ice Cube and his Lench Mob crew released their debut album, Guerrillas In The Mist, in 1992. The original title, Pin The Tail on The Honky, reflected the Black community’s exasperation with racial discrimination and police brutality during the LA rebellion/Rodney King controversy.

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Nas - Untitled (2008)

Nas - Untitled

Original Title: Nigger

Nas caused a big hoopla when he announced that his 9th album would be titled Nigger.

Nas initially tried to justify the inflammatory title. "Racism is ugly," he said in an MTV interview. "Our people are faced with a serious dilemma, what do we do? You got conservative, rich Black folks that are above the word “n—a.” Rightfully so. Then you got the word n—a, which has the genius of the Black mind and has been changed into a billion-dollar word through Richard Pryor, who should own it. Paul Mooney should own the word. N.W.A, Dr. Dre, should own a piece of the word. “N—a” has changed into a billion-dollar franchise. It’s just a smack in the face to all the races that we’ve changed that into a positive. You’re gonna have brothers and sisters who are educated who don’t need it. You also have a world who lives in it, who deals with it every day on levels that are unbearable."

Nas' noble intentions notwithstanding, the music industry wasn't ready for such a bold conversation. Retailers threatened to boycott Nas' album. Nas caved to pressure and decided to release his album without a title.

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Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill (1986)

Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

Original Title: Don’t Be A Faggot 

The word faggot dates back to 1914. There was a time when it was widely accepted as an insult. The word was commonly used by men to refer to other men as weak, soft or otherwise insufficient. It was such a common pejorative in 1980s that the Beastie Boys considered naming their 1986 album Don't Be a Faggot as a joke. Columbia Records objected and forced the group to change their album title. Can you imagine a hip-hop artist dropping an album titled Don't Be a Faggot today? Licensed to Ill wouldn't be the acclaimed piece it is today had the Beasties stuck with their original title.

See Also: 20 Awkwardly Hilarious Album Covers