Visit scenic Busta Rhymes Island in Massachusetts

In Central Massachusetts, in a town called Shrewsbury, in a body of water called Mill Pond, sits a small outcropping called Busta Rhymes Island. It is not known by any other name — and yet, due to byzantine naming laws in the United States, it is not formally recognized as Busta Rhymes Island either.

Not yet, anyway.

The island was christened as such by local resident Kevin O'Brien. As The Boston Globe wrote in 2009:

Kevin O'Brien answers the phone and cheerfully explains why, since 2005, he has maintained and named a tiny, nondescript island in honor of his favorite rapper.

"It's a very small little island [with] rope-swinging, blueberries, and . . . stuff Busta would enjoy," he says of the 40-by-40-foot plot of land in a pond about a half-mile from his home.

O'Brien, 27, describes himself as an independent user of the island, but at some point he'd like to take official ownership. He's consulted a lawyer to see about the state's laws of adverse possession, which dictate that if land isn't being taken care of, someone can maintain it continuously for 20 years and eventually be considered the property's owner.

And truly: is there any doubt that Mr. Rhymes would enjoy rope-swinging and blueberries? Of course not.

O'Brien still has 5 years to go until he can rightfully claim ownership of the island. However, there's still a catch: according to Atlas Obscura, "the byzantine restrictions surrounding naming a geographic feature state that they cannot be named after celebrity until five years after their death." There is a possible exception that could be made for names that catch on through "local usage," which is why O'Brien has been campaigning to spread the good word. He's started petitions, changed its name on Google Maps, and even got the island recognized on a dedicated episode of the popular 99% Invisible podcast.

Clearly it's time to give Mr. Rhymes the recognition he deserves. Although there's something kinda cool and mysterious about an island that exists only a map, and not in a real life. Maps are weird like that.

One Man Is An Island [99% Invisible]

Busta Rhymes Island exists in Massachusetts on Google Maps but not in real life. Here's why. [Dialynn Dwyer / The Boston Globe]

Busta Rhymes Island [Atlas Obscura]