2 Chainz may wear two chains, which quickly became a trend in the rap scene shortly thereafter, but that's not only why he changed his rap moniker from Tity Boi (he is a mama's boy, which he is not ashamed of!) to 2 Chainz. His new stage name represents a second chance. "If y'all don't see me with jewelry, I'm still 2 Chainz," he told Fuse.
A$AP Rocky and the rest of the mob have the stylized acronym A$AP in front of their full stage names. For them, ASAP stands for Always Strive And Prosper. Rocky is a nickname his mother gave him growing up; it plays off his government name, Rakim Mayers. Rocky's real name has a hip-hop story of its own: he was named after the legendary rapper Rakim.
M.I.A's stage name, which stands for Missing In Action, derives from the unfortunate disappearance of her cousin of the same age. It also stands for London's west suburbs, Action, where she was living at the time he went missing in Sri Lanka. "I wanted to make a film about where he was since he was M.I.A. (Missing in Action) in Sri Lanka. We were the same age, went to the same schools growing up. I was also living in Acton at the time. So I was living in Acton looking for my cousin missing in action," she said.
Yelawolf looked to his Cherokee origin for his rap name. "'Yela' represents the sun, which is light, life, and fire," the rapper, born Michael Wayne Atha told Spinner in 2010. "'Wolf' represents my ability to survive and be a pack leader."
Macklemore, born Ben Haggerty, shares something with Beyonce: the rapper once had an alter ego of his own. Macklemore took the name of a superhero he drew up for a junior-high homework assignment, Professor Mackelmore, and used it when dressing up in "crazy costumes." "I did some thrift shopping. I would buy these outrageous, crazy costumes; like plaid golf pants and crazy furs. Every time that I would wear these outfits I would call myself Professor Macklemore and then I'd go out on the town and kick it," he told Dirty Laces. He later dropped "professor" and went by Macklemore as his stage name.
We have Lupe Fiasco's bud to partially thank for the rapper's stage name: he ran with his friend Lupe's name. The rapper used to be called Lu, shortened from his born name, Wasalu. The latter part of his stage name came from the Firm album. "They had the song, 'Firm Fiasco.' I just liked the way it looked on paper. And so it's like, Lupe... Fiasco," he told Soundslam.
Like Snoop and many others mentioned, The Game used a nickname given to him by a family member when knee-high for his rap moniker. His grandma named him for his athletic ability to play all sports, saying he was "game" for anything.
Dungeon Family' G-Rock named Future for what he saw in him: the future. Duh. "He used to always tell me, 'You're the future. You're the future. You're young man. You got energy. You're ambitious. You're the future of the Dungeon Family," he told MTV News. "After a while it caught on and it made sense."
Big K.R.I.T. called forth his success through his rap moniker. "It stands for King Remembered the Time. It's a humble way for saying I'm the king of my lane and the king of the music I make… and how I live my every day life," he told MTV2.
Pusha T has never shied away of his drug dealing days through his rhymes. His rap moniker goes hand-in-hand with those times. "Pusha T (Push-a-Ton)/ Pusha a ton of that shit that makes ya nose run," he raps on the Clipse's "Comedy Central."