Ever listen to your favorite rapper and wonder, “How in all creation did they come up with this name?” Most rappers have a back story to the reasoning behind their stage name and some of them might surprise you.
From JAY Z to Waka Flocka Flame, here are the real reasons behind your favorite rapper’s name.
1. Eminem – Using his initials, Marshall Mathers used to go by M&M, but later changed it to Eminem. Mars candy would have probably sued him at some point for copyright if he didn’t.
2. JAY Z – Before he was married to Beyoncé and talking about his 99 problems, JAY Z was known as “Jazzy.” As his career began to lift off, he decided to change it to Jay-Z to salute his mentor, Jaz-O, as well as the subway lines in Brooklyn.
3. Waka Flocka Flame – If hearing his name makes you think “Waka, waka, waka,” the famous moniker from The Muppets’ Fozzie, then you’re spot on. His favorite childhood cartoon was The Muppets and Fozzie was his favorite character. As a youngster, his cousin would call him “Waka,” he said in a 2010 interview. Gucci Mane added “Flame” to his stage name.
4. 50 Cent – Curtis Jackson took this name from another rapper, Brooklyn-based Kelven “50 Cent” Darnell Martin. He says he shares the same mentality as Martin which is to always survive. It’s a good mantra since 50 Cent has been shot several times already.
5. The Game – The Game adopted his name from his grandmother, who would always say he was game for anything and highly talented in his athletic ability.
6. 2 Chainz – Before he was donning multiple chains around his neck, 2 Chainz was called Tity Boi. He says he changed his name to 2 Chainz because it represents a second chance. In an interview with Fuse, he says, “If y’all don’t see me with jewelry, I’m still 2 Chainz.”
7. Gucci Mane – Though many think the rapper’s name is an ode to the designer, Gucci Mane says it was a nickname his grandmother gave his father. When he was starting his rap career, he adopted the family name for the stage.
8. Wiz Khalifa – Wiz’s rap persona comes from an inspirational place. When he was growing up, he named himself Wisdom, inspired by his uncle’s name which meant “knowledge” in Arabic. Soon after, the same uncle added Khalifa to his name, which means “successor” in Arabic. When he was 15, he shortened it to Wiz.
9. Snoop Dogg – Before he was Snoop Lion and a white kid named Todd, Snoop was going by the moniker Snoop Dogg, an ode to Charlie Brown. His mother used to call him Snoopy as a kid. He later added “Doggy Dogg” when he signed with Death Row Records.
10. A$AP Rocky – According to the rapper, ASAP stands for “Always Strive and Prosper,” which was added to his family nickname Rocky.
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