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Jigga Who? 17 Musicians Who Changed Names

Jay-Z dropped the hyphen and Snoop is serious about this Lion thing. Here's a quick reference to keep track of all the important musical name changes

1 / 17


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 13: Jay-Z performs on day 2 of the Yahoo! Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on
Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

We recently learned that the Jiggaman, Jay-Z, has officially dropped the hyphen from his name, probably because hyphens are really annoying to type, amirite? Though the change apparently happened a few albums ago, a hyphen-less Jay Z is news to us.

Getting used to typing Jay Z without the hyphen is going to take some practice. How do we know this? Because we're still calling Lily Rose Cooper "Lily Allen," and because we never indulged Prince on that whole "Love Symbol #2" thing. 

Take a look at our list of some other artists who made big name changes during their career. It worked for some (Diddy) while others are still trying to get us to make the big switcheroo (sorry, Snoop Lion).

2 / 17

Puff Daddy > P. Diddy > Diddy

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 19: Sean 'Diddy' Combs attends the 'Culture as a Creative Catalyst' Seminar at the Palais des Festivals
Richard Bord/WireImage

Born Sean Combs, Puff Daddy first hit it big in 1997 with his debut single "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down." By 2001, he was sick of that moniker so he adopted P. Diddy. And by 2005, he was down to just Diddy.

3 / 17

Snoop Doggy Dogg > Snoop Dogg > Snoop Lion

KINROSS, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 13: Snoop Dogg performs on stage on Day 2 of T In The Park 2013 at Balado on July 13, 2013 in
Ross Gilmore/Redferns via Getty Images

OG fans might remember the rapper's 1993 debut album Doggystyle. His stage name then, Snoop Doggy Dogg, was later shortened to Snoop Dogg until 2012 when he discovered the Rastafari movement and began referring to himself as Snoop Lion. The funny part: Most people just call him Snoop.

4 / 17

Tity Boi > 2 Chainz

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 14: 2 Chainz performs on day 3 of the Yahoo! Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

2 Chainz's original rap name was Tity Boi (!!!). He told Vibe magazine he got it from his "big mama" and it came "from me being spoiled and an only child—breastfed." We already know too much.

5 / 17

The Game > Game

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Rapper The Game performs at the 11th Annual BMI Urban Awards at the Pantages Theater on August 2
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jayceon Terrell Taylor got his stage name, The Game, from his grandmother—she said that he was game for anything. In 2009 he dropped the "the," mostly because everyone was texting by then, and who wants to type out three extra letters?*

*We made that up. No explanation was given to the name change.

6 / 17

Cat Stevens > Yusuf Islam > Yusuf

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Yusuf Islam performing at The Peace One Day Celebration 2011 on September 21, 2011 in London,
Jo Hale/Getty Images

Iconic folk singer Cat Stevens converted to Islam in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam the following the year. His name is still Yusuf Islam, but he prefers Yusuf as his stage name now.

7 / 17

Lil Bow Wow > Bow Wow

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 03: Bow Wow hosts BET's '106 & Park' at BET Studios  on July 3, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipas
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for BET

By the time 2003 hit and he was about to release his third album, Lil Bow Wow was no longer little. (FYI, being 16 means you're no longer little.) Today the 26-year-old dad goes by Bow Wow, because how embarrassing would it be if your dad's rap name had the word "Lil" in it?

8 / 17

Lil Romeo > Romeo Miller

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 03: Lil Romeo arrives at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on June 3, 2012 in U
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

When Master P's son Lil Romeo first hit the scene in 2001, he was an adorable 12 years old. But these days, the 23-year-old rapper is a stud. He now goes by Romeo Miller. He also models.

9 / 17

Mos Def > Yasiin Bey

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03: Recording artist Mos Def attends The 8th Annual Rock The Bells Festival with Reebok as the Exclu
Bennett Raglin/WireImage

Though he's always been a part of the Muslim faith, Mos Def didn't start going by Yasiin Bey until 2011, 20 years into his rap career. 

10 / 17

Prince > Unpronounceable "Love Symbol #2" > Prince

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 19: Musician Prince performs onstage at the 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavili
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Word is Prince was fed up with his label, Warner Bros., when they wanted him to release fewer CDs so as not to flood the market. In order to get around that, in 1993, he changed his name this symbol ("Love Symbol #2"), but most journalists ended up calling him "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince." All of these things take much longer to type than "Prince," which might explain why he's back to his original name.

11 / 17

Panic! at the Disco > Panic at the Disco > Panic! at the Disco

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 26: Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco performs on stage during day one of Leeds Festival at
Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images

Dropping the exclamation point from their name wasn't supposed to be a big deal. But after having to explain over and over why they did it—guitarist Ryan Ross told MTV that "it got a little bit annoying to try to write that every time you're typing the name"—Panic! at the Disco eventually just added it back. Better luck on the next name change, guys.

12 / 17

Lily Allen > Lily Rose Cooper

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 26: Lily Allen rehearses prior to the Etam Live Show Lingerie at Bourse du Commerce on February 26,
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Six years after the release of her debut single, "Smile," Lily Allen changed her name to Lily Rose Cooper, which is actually just a shortened version of her birth name, Lily Rose Beatrice Cooper.

13 / 17

John Cougar Mellencamp > John Mellencamp

AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 11: John Mellencamp performs onstage at ACL Live on April 11, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Dustin Fin
Dustin Finkelstein/Getty Images

When he first started out in the '70s, rocker John Cougar Mellencamp originally went by "Johnny Cougar" because his very German last name was too hard to market. By 1983, with enough commercial success under his belt, he added "Mellencamp" back to his stage name. He removed "Cougar" in 1991, and we think he's done now.

14 / 17

Amerie > Ameriie

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Ameriie poses at the Grey Goose, Grand Tactics & JL Nights The Take Care Grammy Part
Todd Oren/WireImage

According to Rap-Up, the "1 Thing" singer added an extra "i" to her name to "reflect positivity." Sure. Why not?

15 / 17

Holly Brook > Skylar Grey

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 12: Skylar Grey performs during Yahoo! On The Road at Turner Hall on May 12, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

You might remember Holly Brook from her guest vocals on Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go?" By 2010, she changed her name to Skylar Grey because "it represents the unknowns in life," she told EW.

16 / 17

Santogold > Santigold

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 02: Vocalist Santigold performs in concert during day one of Fun Fun Fun Fest at Auditorium Shores on N
Rick Kern

Born Santi White, Santigold's original stage name was Santogold. Though she never officially addressed the name change, Santi was sued by jeweler Santo Gold, so that might explain things.

17 / 17

N.O.R.E. > P.A.P.I.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Rapper Victor Santiago, Jr. aka. N.O.R.E. performs during the Salute to Hip Hop featuring N.O.R.E and
Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

The rapper's old acronym stood for "Nigg-z on the Run Eatin." His new acronym, which he started going by in 2013, stands for "Power Always Proves Intelligence." But maybe he just likes acronyms.


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