Kendrick Lamar Duckworth probably made the right choice to not go by his last name as an artist. I’m not hating on “Duckworth” by any means – most people can’t even pronounce my last name let alone spell it (everybody seems to think the “O” should be an “A” instead) – but it’s just hard to imagine Lamar getting the same kind of buzz in the underground as “Kendrick Duckworth.”

Some names just suit hip-hop artists better than others, and Lamar used his name to make a rapid ascent in the 2010’s from mixtape to major label superstar seemingly overnight. I remember sitting in a hotel room with family members during a get-together and discussing hip-hop with my sister, as my nephews were at the age I was when I was a young music consumer with disposable income and college looming on the horizon. She asked what I thought they were listening to and I said “Probably Kendrick.” She asked what he sounds like and I sang “I’ma show you how to turn it up a notch! First you get a swimming pool full of liquor and you diiiiive in it.”

She cut me off immediately. “NO WAY they’re listening to that. I wouldn’t allow it. That’s a horrible message to be giving teenagers. Terrible.”

Sorry sis, I guarantee you, they were listening to Mr. Duckworth.

1.) Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)”

2.) Kanye West f/ 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Pusha T – “Mercy”

3.) Flo Rida f/ Sia – “Wild Ones”

4.) Future f/ T.I. – “Magic”

5.) Wiz Khalifa – “Work Hard Play Hard”

6.) Nicki Minaj – “Starships”

7.) Drake f/ Rihanna – “Take Care”

8.) Juicy J f/ 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne – “Bandz a Make Her Dance”

9.) Waka Flocka f/ Drake – “Round of Applause”

10.) Pitbull f/ Chris Brown – “International Love”