Many English words derive from Latin. Others from Spanish, American Indian, Norwegian. You name a country, an English word probably came from there. But in the grand history of William Shakespeare, some words are invented by brilliant minds. Derrick E. Vaughan, the president of Dunkadelic Sports Marketing, is one of those modern-day wordsmiths.
He said he created the term "dunkadelic" in 1997 in order to find a one-word term that would combine the basketball and hip-hop culture fusion (coincidentally, he's also the creator of National Basketball & Hip-Hop Culture Month). He started coining phrases for NFL games and NBA teams in the past few years. The first nickname: "BL Cool J," or "Baltimore Love Cool Joe," for Joe Flacco. To get a hint for the detailed depths of his imagination, the second nickname was the "Thrilla in Pittsila," the third game and divisional playoff between the Ravens and Steelers in January 2011.
"I wanted sports to have more hype," said Vaughan, 43, who grew up in Montebello/Homestead and still calls Baltimore home. "Just like everyone, I loved the coined phrases from Muhammad Ali. He's my idol and inspiration."
And with the Ravens heading to the Super Bowl, we thought it was time to awkwardly pick Vaughan's brain.
1. You must be pretty excited about the Ravens in the Super Bowl, but I haven't heard of your nickname for this year's match-up. Are you ready to reveal your designation?
Yes, Jordan, I have a nickname. Here it is to all Baltimore Ravens fans: "The Rumbo and the Benzo." Rumbo is combination of the words Rumble and Gumbo. New Orleans is known for their gumbo. Benzo is a hip-hop term for Mercedes Benz. The car company is the sponsor of the Superdome. In September 1978, Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks to win the Heavyweight title for the 3rd time. Ali spent some time this past season with the Ravens when he was here. Ray Lewis can win his last NFL game and become a two-time Super Bowl champ and say, "This is my last game, I'm going out a champion, I'm in the prime of my life, I must be the greatest, I'm the champion of the world, I'm a bad man."
2. You dubbed the Ravens/Pats rematch the "Razor Brawl 4 It All." What type of razor did you envision when making this proclamation?
The Gillette Fusion. Dunkadelic was created as the fusion of basketball and hip-hop. Come on, man.
3. It looks like you've added 96 definitions to Urban Dictionary, all variations on "dunkadelic." Which of the words do you think is most likely to make it to the regular dictionary?
I like "dunkadelic-megastar." To me, the dunkadelic-megastar is a Kobe, LeBron, Kevin Durant. In football it's Calvin Johnson, Tony Gonzalez and maybe Torrey Smith. I want to see Torrey dunk the football when he scores a touchdown to show off his hops.
4. You founded National Basketball & Hip-Hop Culture Month, which then-Mayor Sheila Dixon desginated as June 2009. Is it still OK to celebrate this summer and, if so, what's the best way I can mark the occasion?
Absolutely. The NBA was founded on June 6, 1946. Allen Iverson the poster-child of hoops and hip was born June 7. Tupac Shakur was born June 16. The best was to celebrate NBHHCM is to honor June 6-16 as the best 10-days of NBHHCM. Have fans sign a 10-day contract to honor NBHHCM. Now that's fresh.
5. A lot of good things have come out of the fusion and basketball and hip-hop culture, but Shaq's album is the worst thing, right?
Shaq is not the worst NBA rapper. Allen Iverson was not that bad either. Shaq had a single with Biggie, "You Can't Stop the Reign," a song I like a lot. Shaq has some rap skills. So have to disagree that it was the worst thing. If you get a chance to rap with a legend like Biggie you can't be half bad.
6. You proposed a Wine'tastic Mile designation for a 1.3 mile corridor running from MLK Jr. Boulevard to Harbor East, ending at Central Avenue. Pick another corridor in the city that needs to get a fresh name.
The Wine'tastic Mile street sign is hanging at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Pratt Street. Another city corridor that needs a new name is Pratt Street and Charles to Charles and North. Avenue. I guess I have to come up with something — you've put me on the spot. I like the challenge. I'm like my man BL Cool J. Cool Joe No. 5.
7. Is it OK to call a particularly beautiful funeral "dunkadelic"?
Only if it's a funeral for a basketball player: "Dunkadelic Superstar Laid to Rest." RIP to Len Bias. I still miss him!
8. You dubbed Ray Lewis as "Raytorious L52." Do you think Biggie would approve?
Raytorious L52 is the coolest nickname in the NFL. Raytorious he-is-he-is. Raytorious he-is-he-is. The R-A-Y-T-O-R-I-O-U-S is the B-E-S-T linebacker in history, leading the purple flock like Biggie and Tupac I can't stop I won't stop until we smash Frisco in SB 47 the Rumbo and the Benzo. Biggie would have so much love for Ray its ridiculous. How do you like my rap skills? Not bad, huh?
9. I haven't seen a nickname for yourself. Is it secret?
When I playing rec league basketball I was known a D-Rock. My man, Sam Cassell, someone who I've known since we were 12-years-old, was known to us as "Guppy." You have to know him well to call him that.
10. Hypothetical: The Ravens win the Super Bowl and come home in glory. What would you call their return? And it must include some form of "dunkadelic."
Raytorious L52 & the Dunkadelics of the Gridiron Return Home It's Party Time!
Jordan Bartel is assistant editor at b and still refuses to accept Shaq's rapping career. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @jordanbartel.