59 Rappers Who Changed Their Rap Names

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  • snoop
    So much about having longevity in hip-hop depends on rappers being able to exist within the times and re-invent themselves if needed. Some rappers have taken that re-invention more literally than others. Here are 59 rappers who chose, for one reason or another, to taken on new rap names as their careers have gone on. What's in a name?
  • 2 chainz
    <strong>Tity Boi</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> 2 Chainz<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Sometimes, a switch to something less vulgar is the only thing standing in the way of mainstream stardom. Chainz' name change—and tireless work ethic—is the perfect example.
  • andre 3000
    <strong>Dre</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Andre 3000<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Dre, a nickname given to him by his mother, was outfitted with the extraterrestrial addition as his personality got as eccentric as his clothing.
  • AUDIO-PUSH
    <strong>The P.U.S.H.</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Audio Push<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Originally standing for "Praying Until Something Happens," the duo changed their name at the insistence of a producer who they had worked with after they got signed.
  • Big-Pun
    <strong>Big Moon Dawg</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Big Punisher<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Big Pun<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A reference to his relentless rapping style seemed to fit more easily than his original name, and a shortening of Big Punisher was what he wound up with his debut album <em>Capital Punishment</em>
  • biggie
    <strong>Biggie Smalls</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> The Notorious B.I.G.<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Initially going by Biggie Smalls, a reference to the movie <em>Let's Do It Again</em>, he had to change to his longer title after the actor who played the role, Calvin Lockhart, sued him over the moniker.
  • Birdman
    <strong>Baby</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Birdman<br /><strong>Why:</strong> With Baby an old family nickname, Birdman transitioned to his current moniker as Cash Money began taking off in the early 2000s.
  • bow-wow
    <strong>Lil Bow Wow</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Bow Wow<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Shad Moss<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Age ain't nothin' but a number...and a name change to distance yourself from your younger self. And this week, Bow Wow decided to go back to his gov't name after the BET Awards, saying that he'll be starting a new chapter in his life. Leaving the dog days behind.
  • c-murder-mug-shot
    <strong>C-Murder</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> C Miller<br /><strong>Why:</strong> In the midst of appealing his 2002 murder conviction, C-Murder reverted to his given name in an attempt to distance himself from jury profiling.
  • chinx
    <strong>Chinx Drugz</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Chinx<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Commercially, there could have been plenty of better names than Chinx Drugz, and as he grew in the industry he recognized the issues and dropped the Drugz to move on.
  • Common
    <strong>Common Sense</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Common<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A lawsuit from a reggae band with the same name forced him to shorten things.
  • danny-brown
    <strong>Dee Luciano</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Danny Brown<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Allegedly a name he chose because was trying to rap like Nas, Brown changed his moniker back to his given name shortly after he started rapping.
  • diddy
    <strong>Puff Daddy</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> P. Diddy<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Diddy<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Starting out taking a family nickname, he made the switch to P. Diddy after being cleared of weapons charges in 2001 as a way to "put the past behind" him. He dropped the P in order to simplify things four years later.
  • Dorrough
    <strong>Dorrough Music</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Dorrough<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After signing to a label, they made him shorten his name to just Dorrough, fearing that people would think that he represented a group instead of just one dude.
  • earl-sweatshirt
    <strong>Sly Tendencies</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Earl Sweatshirt<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Unknown, but he did drop a mixtape, titled <em>Kitchen Cutlery</em>, under that name before he joined Odd Future.
  • fat-joe
    <strong>Fat Joe Da Gangsta</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Fat Joe<br /><strong>Why:</strong> If your name represents how large your physique is, it's a little bit of overkill to make it a long name as well.
  • flipmode-squad
    <strong>Flipmode Squad</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> The Conglomerate<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After a series of personnel and label changes, Flipmode re-invented itself as The Conglomerate behind Busta Rhymes, and the group continued soldiering onward with the name change.
  • froggy-fresh
    <strong>Krispy Kreme</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Froggy Fresh<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Originally going as Krispy Kreme, the Internet rapper was slapped with a lawsuit from the donut company, and switched over to the similarly alliterative Froggy Fresh.
  • game
    <strong>The Game</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Game<br /><strong>Why:</strong> As unclear as it gets, he dropped the "The" before he dropped his <em>The R.E.D. Album</em> in 2011.
  • gucci-mane
    <strong>Gucci Mane</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Guwop<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Gucci Mane<br /><strong>Why:</strong> It may have been the quickest name change in history; thirty minutes after announcing on Twitter that he'd be changing his name to Guwop, a moniker he'd used in the past, the fan reaction was so overwhelmingly negative that he immediately changed it back.
  • GZA
    <strong>The Genius</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> GZA<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After his first album as The Genius failed to make a mark, GZA and his cousin RZA emerged with a new formula with the Wu-Tang Clan shortly after.
  • J-Cole
    <strong>Therapist</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> J. Cole<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A man gets older, a man looks at his name, and a man makes a decision that there are way more negatives to the word "therapist" than there are for his original name.
  • Jay-Z-1
    <strong>Jay-Z</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Jay Z<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A fantastic question.
  • jeezy
    <strong>Lil J</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Young Jeezy<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Jeezy<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Recognizing that Lil J wouldn't be a name that engendered a long career in hip-hop, he switched to Young Jeezy, then dropped that one as well when he realized he wasn't that young anymore.
  • kendrick-lamar
    <strong>K. Dot</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Kendrick Lamar<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Releasing his first few projects under the K Dot name, his career began to take off when he reverted to his given name, a move that served as a reintroduction of sorts.
  • kid-ink
    <strong>Rockstar</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Kid Ink<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A reference to his tatted-up physique, and also probably a more Google-able name.
  • killer-mike
    <strong>Killer Mike</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Mike Bigga<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Killer Mike<br /><strong>Why:</strong> As a response to his underground success that never translated into the mainstream, he tried to separate himself from the "Killer" persona, only to go back shortly after.
  • King-Chip
    <strong>Chip Tha Ripper</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> King Chip<br /><strong>Why:</strong> With his given name meaning "Great Leader" or "Great Warrior," he decided to take a regal moniker when he signed a deal with CAA.
  • Mac-Miller
    <strong>Easy Mac</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Mac Miller<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Mac, a nickname given to him by his grandfather, was always going to be a part of the name; the change from Easy to Miller was likely a reaction to getting older, though it's hard to know.
  • macklemore-ryan-lewis
    <strong>Professor Macklemore</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Macklemore<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Sometimes it's easier to not have to act like a professor all the time.
  • MC-Hammer
    <strong>MC Hammer</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Hammer<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Many rumors, but few facts surrounded his reasoning to drop the MC from his name in 1991, but it returned two albums later.
  • MF-Doom
    <strong>Zev Love X</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> MF Doom<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> DOOM<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Starting out as part of the ill-fated hip-hop trio KMD, his brother and groupmate DJ Subroc was struck and killed by a car, leading to the group being dropped from Elektra and DOOM re-emerging from a self-imposed exile four years later with a totally new persona.
  • MGK
    <strong>Machine Gun Kelly</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> MGK<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Machine Gun Kelly<br /><strong>Why:</strong> He said he felt like, as a person, the industry had changed him from his original moniker to MGK, who he described as a soulless personality, so he changed it back to get the persona's personality back.
  • mos-def
    <strong>Mos Def</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Yasiin Bey<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Mos Def was his name from the streets, and Yasiin Bey was the name he gave himself.
  • mr-mfn-exquire
    <strong>Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Mr. MFN eXquire<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Simply put—profanity in a name usually causes more headaches than not.
  • mr-porter
    <strong>Kon Artis</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Mr. Porter<br /><strong>Why:</strong> The D12 rapper/producer was already known as Mr. Porter in the production world, and when he left Eminem's group he left Kon Artis behind as well.
  • nas-1
    <strong>Nasty Nas</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Nas<br /><strong>Why:</strong> He may have gone by Nasty Nas on his first-ever appearance on wax—Main Source's "Live From The Barbecue"—but by the time his debut <em>Illmatic</em> hit shelves, the Nasty one was ready to let his rhymes describe his style for him.
  • No-Malice
    <strong>Malice</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> No Malice<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After the Clipse broke up, Malice found God and switched to the inverse of his name, swearing off the lyrics and lifestyle that he and Pusha T had original ridden to fame.
  • nore
    <strong>Noreaga</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> N.O.R.E.<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> P.A.P.I.<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Initially, N.O.R.E. stood for Niggaz On The Run Eatin'; in conjunction with his fondness for acronyms, P.A.P.I. was a stand-in for the phrase Power Always Proves Intelligence, both which were essentially marketing gimmicks at the time.
  • ODB
    <strong>Ol' Dirty Bastard</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Big Baby Jesus<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Dirt McGirt<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Why did ODB do anything? This one will probably remain a mystery.
  • outkast
    <strong>2 Shades Deep</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> OutKast<br /><strong>Why:</strong> OutKast was formed while Dre and Big were in high school, and the original name was one they had been thinking about back then (as well as The Misfits), but as the name was already taken by another Atlanta group, they went with their own take on being outcasts instead.
  • PastorMase
    <strong>Murda Ma$e</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Ma$e<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Another one that's not difficult to figure out; in 1999, he took a step back from music after hearing a call from God, and dropped the Murda moniker as a result.
  • peedi-peedi
    <strong>Peedi Crakk</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Peedi Peedi<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Coming up under Roc-A-Fella was a great move for Peedi's career—so great, in fact, that he had to drop the drug reference and go with a repetitive name once he stepped into the spotlight.
  • Pusha-T
    <strong>Terror</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Pusha T<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Born with the first name Terrence, Pusha switched from Terror to Pusha Ton (Pusha T) as a reference to his coke dealing lyrics.
  • q-tip
    <strong>MC Love Child</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Q-Tip<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A high school nickname gave way to the Q-Tip alias, which was bestowed upon the Tribe leader by Baby Bam of the Jungle Brothers.
  • RA-Rugged-Man
    <strong>Crustified Dibbs</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> R.A. The Rugged Man<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Unclear, but you can probably venture a guess.
  • romeo-bball
    <strong>Lil Romeo</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Romeo<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Simply put, the rapper-turned-basketball player had grown out of his original nickname by the time he used his court skills to get himself a scholarship at USC.
  • rza
    <strong>Prince Rakeem</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> RZA<br /><strong>Why:</strong> A man of many aliases, Prince Rakeem was shelved after his first album flopped, and RZA was born based on the mythology of the Wu-Tang Clan.
  • sean-price
    <strong>Ruck</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Sean Price<br /><strong>Why:</strong> As part of the duo Heltah Skeltah with his partner Rock, Ruck made sense; after he went solo, he reverted to his given name.
  • smif-n-wessun
    <strong>Smif-N-Wessun</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Cocoa Brovaz<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Smif-N-Wessun<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After making an initial splash, the group was sued by the Smith N Wesson gun manufacturing company, and was able to switch back to their original name a decade later.
  • snoop-dogg-1
    <strong>Snoop Doggy Dogg</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Snoop Dogg<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Snoop Lion<br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Snoopzilla<br /><strong>Why:</strong> The first was a simplification; the second a re-animation of his musical direction towards the reggae/Rastafari direction, and the third a quick moniker aimed at dropping his joint album with Dam-Funk. At this point, he'll always be Snoop to us.
  • snow-tha-product
    <strong>Snow White The Product</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Snow Tha Product<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Obviously a reference to cocaine, she dropped the "white" to avoid any Disney lawsuits.
  • soulja-boy-prayer-hands
    <strong>Soulja Boy Tell'Em</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Soulja Boy<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After the success of "Crank That," Soulja Boy didn't need to explain that he'd be tellin' em anymore, so he dropped the extra letters.
  • t-i-1
    <strong>Tip</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> T.I.<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Known as Tip at the time that he signed his initial record label deal with LaFace, he switched to T.I. out of deference to then-label mate Q-Tip.
  • timbaland
    <strong>DJ Tiny Tim</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Timbaland<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Starting out in the game as a youngin' doesn't always lead to the wisest decisions for the long term, and he literally outgrew Tiny Tim before very long.
  • tupac-shakur-3
    <strong>2Pac</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Makaveli<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Tupac and 2Pac were largely interchangeable throughout the legend's career, but Makaveli came about as an interpretation of Niccolo Machiavelli's influential book <em>The Prince</em>, which he read during his prison stint for sexual assault in 1995.
  • twista
    <strong>Tung Twista</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Twista<br /><strong>Why:</strong> After his debut album, <em>Runnin' Off At Da Mouth,</em> saw him named the World's Fastest MC, he didn't much need to clarify what his name was referencing anymore.
  • Uncle-Murda
    <strong>Uncle Murda</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> U.M.<br /><strong>Why:</strong> In an attempt to break out as a bigger name, Uncle Murda changed his name to U.M. to appeal to a more diverse type of demographic.
  • young-dro
    <strong>Young Dro</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> 3krazy<br /><strong>Why:</strong> It seemed at the time like a marketing push for his label, at least initially; by the time he dropped his second album, it came out under the name Young Dro again.
  • zane
    <strong>Lil Zane</strong><br /><strong>Changed To:</strong> Zane<br /><strong>Why:</strong> Why does anyone drop their Lil? Outside of Wayne, it's tough to not let it hold you down.

Previously: A Brief History Of Rappers Shortening Their Rap Names
Bow Wow Is Going To Start Using His Real Name Professionally