I’m often asked where the name SilencioBarnes comes from. There’s no big mystery. Here’s where the name comes from, and what it means.
What’s In a Name?
If you were called by anything else…wouldn’t you still be you? I’ve had quite a few names over time. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:
- Lil Shady (after a name they used to call my father)
- Preacher (from how I spoke when I was younger)
- Malcolm (from how I carried myself…and talked, in my youth)
- Poet or Poetry (for obvious reasons)
- Nalij (Knowledge)
- Barnes (or Mr. Barnes)
SilencioBarnes is an amalgamation of two different names: Silencio (Silence) and Nalij Barnes (Knowledge Born). SilencioBarnes is in CamelCase when used as a stage name. It’s separated into Silencio Barnes when used in any other context.
I’ll start with the Barnes part, as that came first. Around my way, I chose the name Nalij for myself (a bastardization of Knowledge). I felt the name suited me and my personality. Even the deliberate misspelling came from my idea of twisted knowledge.
To this day, I’m still known as Nalij (or Barnes) to many, and I readily answer to it. At the time, I was also on my 5 Percenter shit, studying my 120. Barnes is a bastardization of the word Born. Born is represented by the #9 in Supreme Mathematics, and Knowledge by the #1.
When the movie Belly came out, there was a character named Knowledge in it (the name Knowledge is ubiquitous among the Nation of Gods and Earths). At one point, a character played by Method Man greets him with “Knowledge Born! What’s the Science?!” This phrase spread around the hood like wildfire. From then on, anytime I was introduced as Nalij, somebody would inevitably say that catchphrase…it stuck.
Silencio – well, that’s a different story. I went to a trade school, Cassadaga Job Corps, to be exact. While there, my initial reticence to talk much around strangers led to the Hispanic kids calling me Silencio. It stuck. After a while, everybody called me Silence or Silencio.
I liked the name and ran with it. It fit who I was at that place and time. I also wanted to get away from the GodBody/5 Percenter stuff as it no longer held any interest for me. I always appreciated the core concepts, but building with the Gods can get to be a little too much. Imagine talking geopolitics and race relations with a dude named C Peace Cipher Divine I Allah who throws more slang, acronyms, abbreviations, big words, and metaphors at you than you can process (in ONE sentence!), and you’ll get the picture.
Putting it Together
I was thinking of doing something more professional with my poetry and music, and wanted a unique stage name. I did a search for Nalij and found there was a million of them out there. Still, I identified with Nalij most, so I was at a loss. I came up with the idea of putting the Silencio with the Barnes. I thought it was rather clever and unique (yes, I know it’s a mouthful at 5 syllables).
There is a special spiritual and poetic significance to my name as well. My name plays with the concept of Silence and the idea of Born or Birth. Sometimes it pops up in my works. For example, here’s the chorus of my short track challenge song, Silk:
I think, therefore I stay in form, with darkness comes the quiet storm
Within that storm my thought is formed, and that is where my Silence Borns
And, sometimes, it just means to bear the weight of silence. Get it? No? Well, fuck it, I tried.
Also, if you actually just read all of that…then I love you. Seriously.
The Five-Percent Nation, sometimes referred to as the Nation of Gods and Earths ( NGE/ NOGE) or the Five Percenters, is a movement founded in 1964 in the Harlem section of the borough of Manhattan, New York City, by Clarence Edward Smith, a former member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) who took the name Clarence 13X, and ultimately came to be known as Allah the Father.