Hip-hop is all about reinvention. That goes for everything from styles and appearance to careers and even name changes. From Wu-Tang’s “gambino” aliases to Kool Keith’s numerous aka’s, it’s hard to keep tabs on who’s who at any given time. With word that Atlanta trap star Young Jeezy has decided to nix “Young” from his rap pseudonym, we figured it was time to look back at some of the game’s biggest game name changers.
The grand marshall of name changes, Mr. Sean Combs has gone from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to his latest incarnation D-I-D-D-Y. You can’t front on the man, he’s always finding new ways to reinvent himself and keep making that “dirty” money.
The G.O.O.D. music star first burst onto the scene in 1992 as Common Sense, but after getting sued by a ska band with the same name, the Chi-Town lyricist shortened his moniker and seemed to only get more popular with the common man, as well as the ladies.
The Doctor’s Advocate announced that he dropped “The” from his tag earlier this year. Hopefully, Dr. Dre won’t drop him from his label again.
When fans first heard the ATLien with his OutKast partner-in-rhyme Big Boi, he went under the title Dré. In an effort to distinguish himself from L.A.’s good doctor, Mr. André Benjamin switched his name during the Stankonia days to the more fitting André 3000.
Realizing that it would be hard to get radio play with his current rap name, the Brooklyn-bred rapper toned down his moniker to the more PC Uncle M. Whatever, he’s always Murda to us.
Similar to Uncle Murda, the XXLMag.com blogger recently switched his name and now goes by the more friendlier Mike Bigga.
Originally known as Ruck back in his Heltah Skeltah days, the Boot Camp Clik decided to go under his birth name when he launched his solo career. P!!!
Sean P’s fellow Duck Down label mates first came out as Smif-N-Wessum on their classic debut Dah Shinin, but for their sophomore effort, The Rude Awakening, they were forced to come out as the Cocoa Brovaz due to a legal battle with the Smith and Wesson gun company. The duo changed back to their “originoo” name in 2004.
The Atlanta superstar initially started out rapping under the name Tip, but decided to shorten his stage name to T.I. out of respect for then-label mate and A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip.
The XXL Freshman alum started out in the game as B.O.B. but nowadays he’d rather be called by the name his mama gave him, Bobby Ray.
Bonus: Rhymefest tells DJ Enuff he wishes he rapped under his real name, Che. We smell a change comin’.