Tyler The Creator has used the stage name for almost all of his career and despite having no plans to stop, he’s taking steps to accept the significance of his African first name.
The Grammy-winning artist, who is 30 said to Fast Company that as he’s grown older, he’s discovered that he’s gotten a lot of respect for the full title, Tyler Okonma, and is contemplating making use of it more.
“My complete name Tyler Okonma, in all caps, looks very cool,” he said. “So you could get more of it I’m not sure. I’m getting old, and I believe that as people age begins to realize and find things that they don’t like. It’s like you start changing. So, my version is taking a look at my name and thinking “OH, this is actually quite cool.'”
Tyler stated that his stage name stemmed from the Myspace page he created when he was 13 years old, which was where he would upload his pictures, drawings, and beats he’d created. As his career began to take off it was the name that followed.
“I’m 17 and I’m in high school and in L.A. The name is becoming popular, and I just decided to keep that name for my own stage names,” he explained. “It’s very stupid but it stuck for me, so it’s working.”
“EARTHQUAKE,” the “EARTHQUAKE” rapper has previously stated that it was Late singer Virgil Abloh who made him feel at peace with his name which he described as “so unfamiliar” to him as a child because it was not the same as his mother’s name and he did not know any family members from his father’s side.
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“ABLOH. This is a powerful African final name. A few years ago, I began using my African last name OKONMA due to how real the feeling of Virgil was,” Tyler wrote on Instagram in November following the death of Abloh.
In an interview in Fast Company, Tyler admitted that he first started embracing his name five years ago. Then, he started using it on the album covers.
“I did not know anyone other than me with an identical name to mine,” he said of his early years. “I always thought that my last name was odd however it was just. I started to f– with it more in 2016 and later began to use them on the covers of my albums… I’m thinking I’m going to keep it up. I’m really f-ing with this name It looks amazing when it’s all in caps.”