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Where Do Pop Stars And Rappers Get Their Monikers From?


Monikers always seem really random and bizarre. When names as kooky as “Jay-Z” or “X-tina” become household names, we sort of forget to ask, “Um, why the freak are they called that?” Today we answer the question, what are the origins behind some of these celebrity pseudonyms?

Lady Gaga

Gaga was named after the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga.” When Stefani Germonatta was trying to come up with a stage name, music producer, Rob Fusari sent her a text message saying, “Radio Ga Ga,” which had become Stefani’s “theme song” in the studio. Auto-correct turned, “Radio,” into, “Lady,” for some reason and the rest is, well, history.


Jay’s name is filled with allusions and references to his neighborhood and upbringing. He was known as, “Jazzy” in his neighborhood as a kid and eventually evolved into Jay-Z. The name would pay homage to his musical mentor, Jaz-O and the J/Z subway line that he rode from the Marcy Avenue stop as a kid.


When Tracy Marrow got involved with gangs and crime, he became enamored with the novels of a former pimp named Iceberg Slim. Tracy memorized excerpts from the books and recited them to his friends who would respond with, “Yo, kick some more of that by Ice, T.”  Thus, we get the name Ice-T.

David Bowie

David Jones initially went by the name “Davy Jones.” He wasn’t happy with the name to begin with but when Davy Jones of The Monkees became famous it just didn’t make senes to continue on with the name. He decided on the name “Bowie” after American frontiersman Jim Bowie and the famous knife named after him.

Lil Wayne

Wayne was actually born Dwayne. The trouble was his father’s name was Dwayne also, unfortunately Wayne’s father was absent for all of his life and Lil Wayne didn’t want to be known as a junior to the man who had abandoned him.


When Christina Aguilera got tired of her bubble gum image she released her sexier, edgier album Stripped. She dyed her hair black, got dirty in, “Dirrty,” and started calling herself X-tina.

Sasha Fierce

Beyonce’s alter ego is the fierce diva she created to embrace her power and strength as a woman on stage. Sasha can say and do anything that Beyonce may find to be a little uncouth.


This one is pretty simple. Marshall Mathers initially went by “M&M” which later became spelled out phonetically as, “Eminem.”

Emerald is an editor at CollegeCandy, lover of coffee, and pretend francophile. After studying writing and popular culture at NYU she decided to be a grownup and get a job. Tweet at ya' girl @EmeraldGritty.