Steve Martinez and Nelson Bautista -- better known as Saviorself and Nothin'Less, respectively -- make up the rap duo Old English. Like their music, the two rappers' monikers are anything but run-of-the-mill. Saviorself and Nothin'Less sound a little bit more unique than, say, Lil' Steve or Young Nelson might. I sat down with the National City-based group to talk about the origins of their rap names.
Quan Vu: You both have very unique rap names. How did you come up with those names?
Saviorself: I came up with "Saviorself" just jotting s--- down at the pad. I think I was 17. I was just at the house writing names. I was thinking of an MC name. I came up with a couple wack a-- ones like, "Yeah, I'mma Rock With This." Then two days pass, I'm like, "Nah, that s---'s wack."
QV: What did you come up with at the time?
Saviorself: Wack a-- s---. Sensei Or some corny-ass shit. And I just wrote that down. Savior. Then Saviorself. It has a whole meaning to me. That's the way I live my life. You gotta save yourself to teach others. Instead of preaching to motherf---ers, you gotta lead by example. Save yourself first, then turn and save others.
Nothin'Less: When I first started to rap, it used to be Nada Negative. It pretty much meant nothing negative. Out of all the people in our neighborhood, we were the only ones doing positive s---, trying to bring a positive light back to hip-hop besides gangster rap. At the time when we started, we were heavily influenced by underground s---. We would go to the scene. So I was like, "Yo, Nada Negative," on some peaceful vibe.
But as I started progressing, I changed it later. It ended up being Nothin'Less a few years later when we dropped our [Under the Hood Vol. 1] mix tape -- just because I thought it was more fitting for what we were doing. It was a name I could take farther with Old English. And "Nothing Less Than the Best," "Nada Negative." It's the same f---ing meaning.
QV: What about Old English? I mean. I just assume you're big fans of Olde English malt liquor.
Saviorself: Nah. Old English is originally the language of rhythm and romance. Taking it back to the old school.
Nothin'Less: People get that confused a lot, thinking we're trying to advocate a gangster lifestyle, trying to advocate 'hood products to fools.
Saviorself: It's also like O.E.: Over Everyone, Oddly Even.
Old English are performing this Thursday at Lyrical Skoolyard in Carlsbad with Planet Asia. Details below:
390 Grand Ave.
Starts @ 8 p.m.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog SD Raps.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by following him on Twitter or e-mailing him directly.