Snoop Dogg becomes Snoop Lion: A brief history of rapper name changes

A male lion in its habitat at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo, but with Snoop Dogg's face.

Dogg is really more of a cat person, anyway.

Dropping the canine reference, our man Snoop is changing his name to Snoop Lion, following a trip to Jamaica where Snoop says he’s reconnected with his Rastafarian side. Diplo, under the name Major Lazer, produced his new album, Reincarnated, a strictly reggae project.

Snoop has long used his name to show his maturity — the rapper was once known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, but donned his big boy pants after leaving Death Row Records and dropped the ‘Doggy’ at the end of the ’90s.

“I didn’t know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Snoop Dogg.’ And he looked me in my eyes and said, ‘No more. You are the light; you are the lion.’ From that moment on, it’s like I had started to understand why I was there.”

So… Snoop finally got around to upgrading his Mac OS?

Snoop isn’t alone in his appellation existentialism. In honor of Snoop Dogg’s reinvention, Metro took a look at some of our favorite rebranding movements.

Prince, the Founding Father of our modern name-change game, went from Prince to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, to that symbol you can’t actually pronounce, and then back to Prince again. Under the symbol moniker — a mash up of both gender  symbols — sales were low. Prince blamed Warner Bros. for poor marketing, but we can’t help but think the conversation prohibiting moniker might have had something to do with it.

2 Chainz used to be Tity Boi, but changed his name to appeal to his female audience in hopes of easing his ability to secure the big booty girl for his birthday. We’re not entirely sure why chain images appeal to women (ladies?), but we’re thinking peer pressure might have had something to do with it: “we like Snoop and Dre “— other famous name changers.

Dré became André 3000. Three letters don’t capture the full capacity of art, it seems.

We at Metro are unabashed punsters, but even we can’t get behind Brandy’s rap name: Bran’Nu. Seriously, Brandy? The R&Ber’s rhymes were about as great as the new name and the effort was abandoned pretty quickly. Brandy went back to her soulful bread and butter and will release her sixth this fall.

Rapper Common Sense changed his name to Common after his first album. The simplification was, well, do we have to say it?

And, finally, who could forget the grand-daddy of hip-hop name changes: Sean “Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy” Combs.


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