The Fastest-Rising Boys' Names of 2013: Chasin' Jason?
The two fastest-rising* boys' names of the year were boosted by celebrities with wildly different public images and audiences. One is black, one white. One urban, one rural. One raps, the other makes duck calls. And yet the two names have one very big thing in common: they both sound a whole lot like Jason.
#1 Jayceon. (#206, up from #1,017. Most parents pronounce it "Jason.") A major name in rap, Jayceon illustrates how complicated naming and branding can get in the hiphop world. Rapper Jayceon Taylor has built an enormously successful career over the past decade under the name The Game, which he eventually shortened to simply Game. A top rapper, Game has also done some acting and, starting in late 2012, starred in a reality tv series called Marrying The Game which gave his given name more visibility.
Around the same time, an emerging young hiphop artist started recording under his first name: yes, "Jayceon." While it's his own name, it's a risky branding move. If you Google "rapper Jayceon," after all, you get a whole lotta Game. The more successful Jayceon becomes, though, the more the risk shifts as the Game loses control of the "brand" that is his given name.
#2 Jase. (#89, up from #270) This name is a repeat from last year's fast-rising list, thanks to Duck Dynasty star Jason "Jase" Robertson. Originally a nickname, Jase is streamlined version of Jason for the age of Chase and Gage. Yet it also has a down-home charm via the reality tv personality and his family of mega-bearded Louisiana duck-call makers.
Together, these names point to the power of pure sound in today's baby name choices. Consider that Jayceon/Jason is a mashup of the top-10 names Jayden and Mason, and that Jace, Jayce, Cason, Kason, Case, Kase and even Ace also rose last year. Across styles, across communities, there's remarkable agreement on what sounds good.
More fast risers:
#3 Milan. (#484, up from 1,159) Singer Shakira, who made her Arabic name more common amoung both Spanish and English speakers, did the same for this classic Slavic men's name when she chose it for her son.
#4 Thiago. (#485, up from #828) Thiago/Tiago is a Portuguese form of James that is hugely popular in Brazil. Soccer player Thiago Alcântara do Nascimento goes by the single name Thiago, in the Brazilian style.
#5 Atlas. (#789, up from #1,372) The world-bearing Titan of Greek mythology, Atlas also carries cultural connotations from Atlas Shrugged to Cloud Atlas to Rand McNally Road Atlases. A key character in the BioShock video games is named Atlas, as is the son of actress Anne Heche.
* Rising names calculated with the Baby Name Wizard hotness formula, which balances the percentage rise with absolute number of names affected.