Contact Us

64 Rappers Who Changed Their Rap Names

  • 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?
    snoop rap names
  • 2 chainz
    Tity Boi
    Changed To: 2 Chainz
    Why: 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.
    rap names 2 chainz
  • andre 3000
    Changed To: Andre 3000
    Why: Dre, a nickname given to him by his mother, was outfitted with the extraterrestrial addition as his personality got as eccentric as his clothing.
    rap names andre 3000
    The P.U.S.H.
    Changed To: Audio Push
    Why: 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.
    rap names audio push
  • Big-Pun
    Big Moon Dawg
    Changed To: Big Punisher
    Changed To: Big Pun
    Why: 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 Capital Punishment
    rap names big pun
  • biggie
    Biggie Smalls
    Changed To: The Notorious B.I.G.
    Why: Initially going by Biggie Smalls, a reference to the movie Let's Do It Again, he had to change to his longer title after the actor who played the role, Calvin Lockhart, sued him over the moniker.
    rap names biggie smalls
  • Birdman
    Changed To: Birdman
    Why: With Baby an old family nickname, Birdman transitioned to his current moniker as Cash Money began taking off in the early 2000s.
    rap names birdman
  • bow-wow
    Lil Bow Wow
    Changed To: Bow Wow
    Changed To: Shad Moss
    Why: 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.
    rap names bow wow
  • c-murder-mug-shot
    Changed To: C Miller
    Why: 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.
    rap names c-murder
  • chinx
    Chinx Drugz
    Changed To: Chinx
    Why: 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.
    rap names chinx
  • Common
    Common Sense
    Changed To: Common
    Why: A lawsuit from a reggae band with the same name forced him to shorten things.
    rap names common
  • danny-brown
    Dee Luciano
    Changed To: Danny Brown
    Why: 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.
    rap names danny brown
  • diddy
    Puff Daddy
    Changed To: P. Diddy
    Changed To: Diddy
    Why: 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.
    rap names diddy
  • Dorrough
    Dorrough Music
    Changed To: Dorrough
    Why: 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.
    rap names dorrough
  • earl-sweatshirt
    Sly Tendencies
    Changed To: Earl Sweatshirt
    Why: Unknown, but he did drop a mixtape, titled Kitchen Cutlery, under that name before he joined Odd Future.
    rap names earl sweatshirt
  • fat-joe
    Fat Joe Da Gangsta
    Changed To: Fat Joe
    Why: If your name represents how large your physique is, it's a little bit of overkill to make it a long name as well.
    rap names fat joe
  • flipmode-squad
    Flipmode Squad
    Changed To: The Conglomerate
    Why: 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.
    rap names flipmode squad
  • froggy-fresh
    Krispy Kreme
    Changed To: Froggy Fresh
    Why: 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.
    rap names froggy fresh
  • game
    The Game
    Changed To: Game
    Why: As unclear as it gets, he dropped the "The" before he dropped his The R.E.D. Album in 2011.
    rap names game
  • gucci-mane
    Gucci Mane
    Changed To: Guwop
    Changed To: Gucci Mane
    Why: 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.
    rap names gucci mane
  • GZA
    The Genius
    Changed To: GZA
    Why: 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.
    rap names gza
  • J-Cole
    Changed To: J. Cole
    Why: 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.
    rap names j cole
  • Jay-Z-1
    Changed To: Jay Z
    Why: A fantastic question.
    rap names jay z
  • jeezy
    Lil J
    Changed To: Young Jeezy
    Changed To: Jeezy
    Why: 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.
    rap names jeezy
  • kendrick-lamar
    K. Dot
    Changed To: Kendrick Lamar
    Why: 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.
    rap names kendrick lamar
  • kid-ink
    Changed To: Kid Ink
    Why: A reference to his tatted-up physique, and also probably a more Google-able name.
    rap names kid ink
  • killer-mike
    Killer Mike
    Changed To: Mike Bigga
    Changed To: Killer Mike
    Why: 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.
    rap names killer mike
  • King-Chip
    Chip Tha Ripper
    Changed To: King Chip
    Why: With his given name meaning "Great Leader" or "Great Warrior," he decided to take a regal moniker when he signed a deal with CAA.
    rap names king chip
  • Mac-Miller
    Easy Mac
    Changed To: Mac Miller
    Why: 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.
    rap names mac miller
  • macklemore-ryan-lewis
    Professor Macklemore
    Changed To: Macklemore
    Why: Sometimes it's easier to not have to act like a professor all the time.
    rap names macklemore
  • MC-Hammer
    MC Hammer
    Changed To: Hammer
    Why: Many rumors, but few facts surrounded his reasoning to drop the MC from his name in 1991, but it returned two albums later.
    rap names MC Hammer
  • MF-Doom
    Zev Love X
    Changed To: MF Doom
    Changed To: DOOM
    Why: 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.
    rap names doom
  • MGK
    Machine Gun Kelly
    Changed To: MGK
    Changed To: Machine Gun Kelly
    Why: 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.
    rap names mgk
  • mos-def
    Mos Def
    Changed To: Yasiin Bey
    Why: Mos Def was his name from the streets, and Yasiin Bey was the name he gave himself.
    rap names mos def
  • mr-mfn-exquire
    Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
    Changed To: Mr. MFN eXquire
    Why: Simply put—profanity in a name usually causes more headaches than not.
    rap names exquire
  • mr-porter
    Kon Artis
    Changed To: Mr. Porter
    Why: 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.
    rap names mr porter
  • nas-1
    Nasty Nas
    Changed To: Nas
    Why: 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 Illmatic hit shelves, the Nasty one was ready to let his rhymes describe his style for him.
    rap names nas
  • No-Malice
    Changed To: No Malice
    Why: 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.
    rap names no malice
  • nore
    Changed To: N.O.R.E.
    Changed To: P.A.P.I.
    Why: 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.
    rap names noreaga
  • ODB
    Ol' Dirty Bastard
    Changed To: Big Baby Jesus
    Changed To: Dirt McGirt
    Why: Why did ODB do anything? This one will probably remain a mystery.
    rap names ol dirty bastard
  • outkast
    2 Shades Deep
    Changed To: The Misfitst
    Changed To: OutKast
    Why: The other two were already taken, but OutKast—purposely misspelled to avoid the same situation—worked well as a synonym for the Misfits.
    rap names outkast
  • PastorMase
    Murda Ma$e
    Changed To: Ma$e
    Why: 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.
    rap names mase
  • peedi-peedi
    Peedi Crakk
    Changed To: Peedi Peedi
    Why: 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.
    rap names peedi crakk
  • Pusha-T
    Changed To: Pusha T
    Why: Born with the first name Terrence, Pusha switched from Terror to Pusha Ton (Pusha T) as a reference to his coke dealing lyrics.
    rap names pusha t
  • q-tip
    MC Love Child
    Changed To: Q-Tip
    Why: 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.
    rap names q-tip
  • RA-Rugged-Man
    Crustified Dibbs
    Changed To: R.A. The Rugged Man
    Why: Unclear, but you can probably venture a guess.
    rap names ra the rugged man
  • romeo-bball
    Lil Romeo
    Changed To: Romeo
    Why: 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.
    rap names lil romeo
  • rza
    Prince Rakeem
    Changed To: RZA
    Why: 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.
    rap names rza
  • sean-price
    Changed To: Sean Price
    Why: As part of the duo Heltah Skeltah with his partner Rock, Ruck made sense; after he went solo, he reverted to his given name.
    rap names sean price
  • smif-n-wessun
    Changed To: Cocoa Brovaz
    Changed To: Smif-N-Wessun
    Why: 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.
    rap names smif n wessun
  • snoop-dogg-1
    Snoop Doggy Dogg
    Changed To: Snoop Dogg
    Changed To: Snoop Lion
    Changed To: Snoopzilla
    Why: 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.
    rap names snoop dogg
  • snow-tha-product
    Snow White The Product
    Changed To: Snow Tha Product
    Why: Obviously a reference to cocaine, she dropped the "white" to avoid any Disney lawsuits.
    rap names snow tha product
  • soulja-boy-prayer-hands
    Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
    Changed To: Soulja Boy
    Why: The Tell 'Em was getting to be a little too much to be fair.
    rap names soulja boy
  • t-i-1
    Changed To: T.I.
    Why: 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.
    rap names ti
  • timbaland
    DJ Tiny Tim
    Changed To: Timbaland
    Why: 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.
    rap names timbaland
  • tupac-shakur-3
    Changed To: Makaveli
    Why: Tupac and 2Pac were largely interchangeable throughout the legend's career, but Makaveli came about as an interpretation of Niccolo Machiavelli's influential book The Prince, which he read during his prison stint for sexual assault in 1995.
    rap names tupac
  • twista
    Tung Twista
    Changed To: Twista
    Why: After his debut album, Runnin' Off At Da Mouth, saw him named the World's Fastest MC, he didn't much need to clarify what his name was referencing anymore.
    rap names twista
  • Uncle-Murda
    Uncle Murda
    Changed To: U.M.
    Why: 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.
    rap names uncle murda
  • young-dro
    Young Dro
    Changed To: 3krazy
    Why: 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.
    rap names young dro
  • zane
    Lil Zane
    Changed To: Zane
    Why: Why does anyone drop their Lil? Outside of Wayne, it's tough to not let it hold you down.
    rap names lil zane
  • Gunplay-logo-tattoo
    Changed To: Don Logan
    Why: With such a lengthy rap sheet and a debut album still nowhere in sight, it's no surprise that 'Play is distancing himself from the whole "gun" part of things. After all, he changed his debut LP title from Medellin to Living Legend for the same reason.
    gunplay change rap name
  • 2014 American Music Awards - Red Carpet Radio presented by Westwood One
    Getty Images
    strp rappers change rap name
  • BET AWARDS '14 - Radio Broadcast Center - Day 1
    Getty Images
    strp rappers change rap name boosie
  • Young Thug
    Bennett Raglin, Getty Images

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

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for XXL Mag quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!