Gucci Mane’s announcement to his 1.1 million Twitter followers that he was changing his name to “Guwop”, caused such a stir among fans that within an hour the rapper had changed it back. But the change itself showed that in the ephemeral world of hip-hop, you’re no one if you haven’t had a rap-rebrand.
The man now known as Diddy has been Puff Daddy and P.Diddy, while Snoop Doggy Dogg changed to Snoop Dogg before turning to reggae and the title Snoop Lion. The late Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu Tang Clan had several other charming monikers including Dirt McGirt and Big Baby Jesus.
For some the rap-rebrand simplifies: Fat Joe Da Gangsta, is now just “Fat Joe”. For others it changes status: child rapper Lil’ Bow Wow dropped the “Lil” when he got older. And for a minority it seems to be a question of cool: who can blame Timbaland for ditching the un-hip-hop: “DJ Timmy Tim”?