12 Famous Rappers And The Names They Had Before Hip-Hop

Some of these are surprising.

So much of a rapper's legacy is in his or her name. Some artists decide to use their real names, or at least variations of them: Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West. Even Drake's real name is Aubrey Drake Graham. 

But what about the rappers who have adopted stage names? 

Here are 12 brilliantly re-monikered rappers and the names they were born with:


1. Snoop Dogg came into the world as Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., but his parents nicknamed him "Snoopy" as a child.

2. Before Dr. Dre received his med school diploma, he went by Andre Romelle Young.

3. Eminem hasn't exactly played his "real" name close to the chest. His third studio album was called "The Marshall Mathers LP."

4. Onika Maraj became Nicki Minaj as part of production deal negotiations early in her career.

5. Millions might know Lil Wayne by his stage name, but his state ID reads Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

6. Neighbors called soon-to-be mogul Shawn Corey Carter "Jazzy," and it stuck. You can find his work in any record store under the name Jay Z.

7. If you don't recognize ASAP Mob member Rakim Mayers's name at first glance, you'll recognize his alter ego, A$AP Rocky.

8. Cameron Jibril Thomas was apparently such a whiz kid growing up that as an adult he took the name Wiz Khalifa.

9. Flo Rida goes by birth name Tramar Lacel Dillard when he goes home to Miami Gardens.

10. Rick Ross's real, full name is William Leonard Roberts II, but his stage name is probably easier to fit into a verse.

11. Before 50 Cent released his major label debut "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'," he was known to the world as Curtis James Jackson III.

12. Ludacris' stage name is a clear homage to the name his parents gave him: Christopher Brian Bridges.

Cover image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com.

How many of those did you know? Let us know in the comments and be sure to quiz your friends.


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