Here's How 12 Rappers Got Their Names

Hey! My name is … what?

1. Jay-Z - Shawn Corey Carter

Jay-Z - Shawn Corey Carter Image : Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

When Jay-Z was a kid, guys in his neighborhood used to refer to him as “jazzy.” He thought the term was accurate, but a little outdated, so he kept the J and the Z and ditched the rest. The new name was also a nod to his mentor Jaz-o and the two subway lines, the J and the Z, that serviced his neighborhood.

2. Eminem - Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Eminem - Marshall Bruce Mathers III Image : Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Eminem got his name from his initials, M and M, spelled out phonetically.

3. Snoop Dogg - Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.

Snoop Dogg - Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. Image : Kevin Winter

Snoop got his name because he watched so much Charlie Brown as a kid his mom said he was starting to look like Snoopy.

4. Waka Flocka Flame - Juaquin James Malphurs

Waka Flocka Flame - Juaquin James Malphurs Image : Scott Cunningham / Getty Images

Waka gets his name from Fozzie Bear’s catchprhase in The Muppets. The “Flocka Flame” part was added by fellow rapper Gucci Mane later.

5. Fetty Wap - Willie Maxwell II

Fetty Wap - Willie Maxwell II Image : Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

“Fetty” is slang for money and “Wap” is an homage to his idol Gucci Mane, whose nickname is Guwop.

6. Drake - Aubrey Graham

Drake - Aubrey Graham Image : Kevin Winter

Drake is his middle name.

7. Rick Ross - William Leonard Roberts II

Rick Ross - William Leonard Roberts II Image : Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Rick Ross appropriated the name from a infamous drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross. In fact, the original Rick Ross tried to sue rapper Rick Ross over the name but lost.

8. A$AP Rocky - Rakim Mayers

A$AP Rocky - Rakim Mayers Image : Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

A$AP, which stands for “Always Strive And Prosper,” comes from the Harlem-based rap crew Rocky belongs to. Rocky was a nickname from his mother, based off his first name.

9. M.I.A. - Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam

M.I.A. - Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam Image : Taylor Hill / Getty Images

M.I.A. is a loose acronym of her name and a tribute to her cousin who went Missing In Action while M.I.A. was living in a west London suburb called Acton.

10. Macklemore - Ben Haggerty

Macklemore - Ben Haggerty Image : Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Macklemore invented the name Professor Macklemore for a superhero he drew for a high school graphic design class. He later adopted the name for his alter ego, and then dropped the “Professor” and made it his official stage name.

11. Childish Gambino - Donald Glover

Childish Gambino - Donald Glover Image : Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Childish reportedly got his name by entering “Donald Glover” into a Wu-Tang name generator one night when he was drinking with some friends.

12. T.I. - Clifford Joseph Harris Jr

T.I. - Clifford Joseph Harris Jr Image : Soul Culture

T.I. was born as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr (born September 25, 1980), claimed his stage name from a nickname he shared with his grandfather. He is also known as Tip and his alter ego T.I.P