Gangsta Lovin' Eve Ft. Alicia Keys
Having a good stage name can make or break a music career. Here's how some of the biggest rappers got their names.
Known as Jazzy in his younger days, Mr Carter took the name Jay-Z in a nod to fellow Brooklyn MC Jaz-O, who gave Jay his first break. It's also noted that that subway lines 'J' and 'Z' run through his native Brooklyn. Picture: Beyonce.com
Born Dwayne Carter, Lil Wayne dropped the 'D' for his stage name because he didn't want to be associated with his estranged father, who's also called Dwayne Carter.
The smooth singer was inspired by Frank Sinatra and the original 1960s film Ocean's Eleven, which Sinatra starred in, for his stage name. He says he legally changed his name to Christopher Francis Ocean in 2010.
Inspired by basketball player Julius 'Dr J' Erving, Andre Young shortened his first name and called himself Dr Dre. His first hit, with the shockingly dressed World Class Wreckin' Cru, was appropriately called 'Surgery'.
Actor and rapper Donald Glover went to the depths of Shaolin to get the name Childish Gambino - by using an online Wu-Tang Clan name generator. True story!
Marshall Mather's kept it simple and used his initials, M&M, for his rap name. Possibly fearing a chocolate based lawsuit, he later stretched it out to 'Eminem'.
Originally performing under the name 'GoGo', another producer gave Ne-Yo his current stage name, claiming the R&B singer sees music in the same way Neo sees the world in 'The Matrix' movie.
Drake decided to keep it really real by using his real name for his stage name... His middle name that is. Aubrey Drake Graham decided not to use his first name for some reason. We can't think why.
Nicknamed "Snoopy" by his parents, after the dog in the Peanuts cartoon, Calvin Broadus became Snoop Doggy Dogg on stage, later shortening it to just Snoop Dogg (and for a while, Snoop Lion...)
2 Chainz arrived at his name in a re-branding exercise in 2011, having been known as 'Tity Boi' (not his birth name) for the previous 14 years. Coincidentally, breakthrough success came soon after.
50 Cent took his name from a notorious Brooklyn stick up man, Kelvin '50 Cent' Martin, who was said to rob anyone for anything. Curtis Jackson says he sees himself the same way.
B.o.B. has kept the origins of his name a mystery, with speculation it's a reference to the OutKast song 'B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)' or an acronym for 'Business over Bullsh*t'. Or maybe he's just shortened his first name: Bobby.
Busta was christened by one of the legends of 80s Hip-Hop, Chuck D of Public Enemy, who gave him the name Busta Rhymes while he was touring with the group as an opening act.
Sometimes it's best to work with what you've got, which is what Chance the Rapper did when he shortened his first name, Chancellor, and added a job description to get a stage name. Does what it says on the tin, right?
East London's 'Boy In Da Corner' says he took his name from an old teacher who started calling him a "rascal" in school.