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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Busta Rhymes Island

One man is on a singular quest to name an island after a famous hip-hop artist. 

There is a small piece of land sticking out of a Shrewsbury, Massachusetts pond that doesn’t seem to belong to anyone in particular, but, as 99% Invisible has reported, one local man is crusading to name the spot Busta Rhymes Island.

The tiny, 40x40 outcropping has no official name, but Shrewsbury resident Kevin O’Brien, who uses the island as a hangout spot for he and his friends, is determined to change that. O’Brien began frequenting the island after moving to the city over a decade ago, and has become its de facto caretaker, picking up after other drunken visitors and even planting blueberry bushes on the land. Realizing that his adopted scrap of land was nothing without a proper name, O’Brien and a friend decided to dub the island, “Busta Rhymes Island,” after the famous hip-hop artist. When asked by the Boston Globe why he named the island after the rapper, O’Brien said it was because the island had, “rope-swinging, blueberries, and … stuff Busta would enjoy.”

O’Brien tried to make the monicker official, first by geotagging the spot in Google Maps, and then by officially attempting to register the name with the US Board on Geographic Names. Unfortunately the byzantine restrictions surrounding naming a geographic feature state that they cannot be named after celebrity until five years after their death. Undaunted, O’Brien is now attempting to make the name stick via “local usage,” which is one of the US Board’s considerations. So next time you are in the Shrewsbury area, make sure to ask for directions to Busta Rhymes Island. WOO-HAH!