bands/musicians The Best Rapper Stage Name Origin Stories  

348 votes 86 voters 7.1k views 23 items Follow Embed

List Rules Vote up your favorite rapper name origin stories

Ever wonder why your favorite rappers are called the names that they're called? Clearly, rapper names like Waka Flocka Flame and Fetty Wap were not given to these people at birth, so why is it that they go by them? While some musical artists choose to go by their birth names during their rise to stardom, many use their fame to forge a new identity under a stage name. 

Some of these names come from their birth names and nicknames, others pay tribute to people that the artists hold dear, while others are used as a source of empowerment (whether it be empowerment for the actual rapper or for the rapper's fans). No matter the rapper stage name, all of them have an origin story.

This is a list of rappers with the most interesting stage names and the stories behind why they picked these names. From rap legends like Biggie and Pac to more contemporary artists like 2 Chainz and The Weeknd, now is your chance to find out what's really in a name. You love their music, you can rattle off the lyrics to your favorite songs as easily as you can recall your name, and you know everything about them. But now's your chance to find out the reason behind why they picked their stage names.

1
+ - 15 6

Childish Gambino


Childish Gambino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rapper Stage Name Origin Stories
Photo: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0
In his sophomore year in college, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) put his name into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator. Glover actually liked the name, so he stuck with it.

2
+ - 19 10

Eminem


Eminem is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rapper Stage Name Origin Stories
Photo: Featureflash/Shutterstock
Initially, Eminem called himself M&M, which are his initials (Marshal Matthers). Later on, he changed it to Eminem.

Also Ranked

#69 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#22 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

#3 on Musicians Whose Grammy Wins Basically Made Their Careers

#1 on The Rappers with the Dirtiest Rhymes

see more on Eminem
3
+ - 13 6

A$AP Rocky


A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rapper Stage Name Origin Stories
Photo: Linda Flores/Flickr
A$AP Rocky (born Rakim Mayers) and the rest of A$AP Mob have A$AP in front of their stage namesA$AP stands for "Always Strive and Prosper." The second half of his stage name, Rocky, is short for Rakim.

4
+ - 13 6

Nicki Minaj


Nicki Minaj is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Rapper Stage Name Origin Stories
Photo: Rorals/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
Nicki Minaj was born with the name Onika Tanya Maraj. Her family and friends called her Nicki (a derivation of Onika), and "Minaj" was created from Maraj. Even though her stage name comes from her real name, Minaj has always hated it. When she signed one of her production deals, the man she signed with wanted her to have the name Minaj. She fought him to keep her name the way it was, but she ultimately lost the battle.

Also Ranked

#46 on The Best Current Female Singers

#29 on Celebrities Who Just Seem Crazy to You

#15 on The Rappers with the Dirtiest Rhymes

#29 on The Celebrities You Most Want To See Play Survivor

see more on Nicki Minaj