Back in June, Dan Lieberman tweeted out this photo of his newborn twins, supposedly named Raekwon and Ghostface after Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon the Chef and Ghostface Killah.
The image was reposted to various music sites/blogs, and Raekwon himself reposted it on Instagram, but it turns out Dan was only joking about the names. (Here’s my tweet of disappointment.)
Regardless, the baby name Raekwon (by itself) is no joke. More than 1,000 baby boys have been named Raekwon since the mid-1990s:
- 1998: 249 baby boys named Raekwon [rank: 683rd]
- 1997: 282 baby boys named Raekwon [rank: 618th]
- 1996: 445 baby boys named Raekwon [rank: 483rd] – peak usage
- 1995: 303 baby boys named Raekwon [rank: 589th]
- 1994: 39 baby boys named Raekwon – debut
- 1993: unlisted
- 1992: unlisted
Raekwon’s 1994 debut is tied with Dvante and Savion as the 40th highest baby boy name debut of all time.
And that’s not all. Raekwon inspired plenty of spelling variants (like Raekwan, Raykwon, Rakwon, Raykwan, Rakwan, Reakwon and Rackwon) and alternate forms (like Daekwon, Taekwon, Jaekwon, Shakwon, and my personal favorite, the two-for-one musical tribute Drekwon).
Most of the babies named Raekwon were born in the eastern U.S., which isn’t surprising given that the Wu-Tang Clan is an East Coast hip hop group. According to SSA data, the states with the most Raekwons are North Carolina (266), Virginia (180), South Carolina (159), New York (148), Georgia (131), Florida (116) and Maryland (104). In contrast, the two most populous states in the union, California and Texas, have only a handful of Raekwons each.
So how did Wu-Tang’s Raekwon (born Corey Woods) come by his stage name? Here’s his answer, from an interview with Blues & Soul Magazine:
Q: I’ve got a few questions here from your fans. Firstly, your real name’s Corey. How did you get the name Raekwon The Chef? Due to your skills in the kitchen or the way you handle beef on the streets?
A: We were definitely out there in the streets but I didn’t get my name because of that. I got the name Raekwon The Chef because at one point I was in the Nation of Islam and I was given a name but only the Raekwon part was suitable for the music so that’s where I got that. In those old karate flicks there was an old dude called The Chef who was nasty and mean. RZA said, “You remind me of this kinda cat, this is what we gon’ call you.” That’s how we came with Raekwon The Chef.
In 2013, only 8 baby boys in the U.S. were named Raekwon. Will the Raekwon/Ghostface baby name hoax of a couple of months ago give the name a boost in 2014, do you think?
P.S. Here are a few more baby name hoaxes for you.