Praise Yeezus: 5 Strange Rap Name Changes

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During a recent New York City debut party for his sixth studio album, “Yeezus,” Kanye West cleared up where the album’s name came from: “I want to explain something about the album title. Simply put, ‘West’ was my slave name and ‘Yeezus’ is my god name.”

This is strange, since he gave himself the nickname, but not that strange, since plenty of Kanye’s past actions have proven that he might actually think he’s God. And although this statement didn’t say that he was officially changing his name, one can’t imagine it could be that far off. After all, Kanye has shown quite the tendency for eccentricity, so for all we know he may soon want to go by ‘Flapjack McGee.’ And he certainly wouldn’t be the first rapper to decide on an odd name change.

5 Ol’ Dirty Bastard

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Over the course of his unconventional career, Russell Tyrone Jones changed his name as often as he changed his sneakers. Going by “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” for the most part (and it’s hard to see why a name so refined and eloquent would ever be chained), Jones took to switching things up late in his career, at different times going by the names Dirt McGirt, Joe Bananas, and the clear favorite, Big Baby Jesus.

4 Mos Def

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Not only is Mos Def one of the most talented and unique MC’s ever to take the mic, but he also has one of the best names in the rap game. Or, rather, he did. In 2012, he showed that even he wasn’t beyond the name-switching trend, when he decided it was time for a change and officially announced he was now going by the name “Yasiin Bey.” This one’s hard to swallow, but maybe he’s just trying to outrun Mos Def’s association with “The Italian Job.”

3 2 Chainz

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A lot of people don’t realize it, but rapper 2 Chainz actually used to go by a different name. In an effort to make his image more “family friendly” (might want to check those lyrics, Mr. Chainz), he changed his name from “Tity Boi” to the catchier name inspired by the fact that he’s worn two chains on his neck since 8th grade, and his career just took off. Though it’s not hard to see why your name change was a good move when your old name was pronounced “Titty Boy.”

2 Puff Daddy

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When the music consuming public starts to notice that you can’t actually rap or dance, the best thing to do is just pretend you’re a different guy. This is the route that Sean “Puffy” Combs took after his popularity started to nosedive when everyone realized “Hey, this producer is pretty bad at everything else he does.” Changing his name to “P. Diddy,” then simply “Diddy,” Puffy reinvented himself and gave his career new life. Although now that he’s sullied the world of acting, it might be time to change his name again.

1 Snoop Dogg

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After a trip to Jamaica, the man who has forever been known to the public by his double-G laden name, “Snoop Dogg” or “Snoop Doggy Dogg” (if it’s a formal event), decided it was time for a change. Inspired by the country’s Rastafarian spirituality, Snoop claimed he was Bob Marley reincarnated and expressed his desire to henceforth be referred to as “Snoop Lion.” It was a surprising choice, but spirituality seems like as good a reason as any considering that most guys who change their name after a trip to Jamaica are just trying to avoid some girl they got pregnant on Spring Break.

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