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Whether it's because they've had a run-in with the law (see Diddy) or because they've been christened by a Rastafarian priest (see Snoop Dogg), a lot of celebrities have chosen to change their names.
Sometimes it's an easy modification that doesn't make much of a difference and sometimes it's a name that you can't even pronounce. But these stars have still managed to remain successful even if fans may have been confused, more than once, with what to call them.
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While it was a small name change for the rapper, it was a change nonetheless. Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, chose to officially drop the hyphen from his name and go by the name Jay Z. While we’re thankful that we can still call him what we always have, we can’t help but wonder why he felt the need to do it in the first place. The poor hyphen even has its own Craigslist ad in search for a new companion. Of course, none of this will affect those who call Jay Z by his real name, which is Shawn Carter.
Probably the most notorious name changer of them all is Diddy whose real name is Sean John Combs. However, when we were first introduced to the hip hop mogul, he went by the name Puff Daddy. In 2001, the artist changed his name to P.Diddy following a highly-publicized trial that could’ve landed him behind bars. In 2005, the rapper changed his name once again and decided to drop the P in P.Diddy and start calling himself just “Diddy.” Diddy stated that fans didn’t know how to address him when he went by P.Diddy and it led to confusion. We’re still confused, Diddy! We’re still confused!
Snoop shocked fans when he announced he was changing his name from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion after being rechristened by a Rastafarian priest in Jamaica. You think that’s all? Oh no. The rapper also released a compilation of electronic music the same year under the name DJ Snoopadelic. At this point, longtime fans of the artist may not even remember the fact that his name was originally Snoop Doggy Dogg, and we wouldn’t be surprised if his family has stopped calling him by his government name which is Calvin Broadus, Jr. The rapper is currently collaborating with singer Dam-Funk under the rechristened name Snoopzilla.
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In case you thought only musicians changed their name, you’re sadly mistaken. Famous author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling recently made headlines after it was revealed she released a book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Not to mention the fact that the writer’s real name to begin with is Joanne Rowling. J.K. Rowling used her first pseudonym in fear that boys wouldn't read her books if they knew a woman wrote them. And after so much success as J.K. Rowling she may have wanted to see how her work could do if her name wasn't attached. But it does make you wonder. Are there possibly other books she’s written under other names and we just don’t know about them?
While Miley Cyrus is known by only one name now, she has gone by many others since the start of her career. Her birth name is Destiny Hope Cyrus, but she was given the nickname “Smiley” (later shortened to Miley) because she was always smiling. She first gained famed as Hannah Montana which also became her stage name when the show became popular. In fact, Miley’s debut album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus featured 10 songs by the artist as Hannah and another 10 with her as Miley. The singer officially changed her name from Destiny to Miley Ray Cyrus in 2008 and has never looked back since.
It’s not only today’s stars who have changed their names around. In 1993, fans had to start referring to the singer Prince as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” because he changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol. The symbol became known as “The Love Symbol” and Prince used it until 2000 when he returned back to his original name.
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In 2010, rapper Nicki Minaj released a song featuring Eminem called "Roman’s Revenge." While the song left many questions in the minds of fans, one stuck out most of all. Who the heck is Roman? That’s when Nicki announced she had an alter-ego named Roman Zolansky. The song also featured another “character” named Martha who shows up at the end. Suddenly Nicki started to become “Roman” on many other songs and she even named her album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. While fans remained confused, she’s back to just being Nicki now. And let's not forget her birth name which is Onika.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up! Or is that Eminem? In 1999, the artist we all thought was Eminem told us “His Name is…Slim Shady” on his second album. He later referred to “Slim Shady” as his alter-ego and it wasn't long before fans saw the different rapping styles between the lyricist Eminem and the vulgar personality of Slim Shady. As Eminem’s career grew to make him one of the best-selling music artists of the 2000s, fans also got to meet the man behind it all: Marshall Mathers, which is Eminem's real name.