Life is hard. That's why sometimes it's important sometimes to have a mental breakdown at 3 a.m. that results in you drastically changing something about your appearance or persona.
But musicians and artists aren't normal people like you and me. For them, having an existential crisis and hacking away at their hair isn't going to cut it. They need something bigger. Something that will tell the world that things around here are going to be different now. They need a whole new rebranding. Donald Glover knows all about that. Even though his persona Childish Gambino
took home the award for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the Grammys this year, the "Redbone" singer has decided to retire the moniker. No clue what the future has in store for him or if he has another nom de plume in mind, but maybe he can take some inspiration from this list of artists who also decided in the midst of a late-night mental breakdown to drastically change their identity.
1. Bow Wow
I feel for Lil Bow Wow, it's got to be tough growing up a household name, but when asked, nobody can actually say what you were known for. His most well-known song "Basketball" was basically just a cover of a song by the same name from a guy named Kurtis Blow who of course we all recognize.
So you can't fault Lil Bow Wow for deciding to mature a bit and dropping the "Lil" from his name. With his new adult persona in tow, Bow Wow proceeded to have a supporting role in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
before going on to fade into obscurity forever.
2. Skylar Grey
So if you grew up a misunderstood kid like me who liked Mountain Dew Code Red and loitering at the mall then you definitely remember this song.
And of course you remember Holly Brook, who provided that heart-wrenching hook asking, "where'd you go? I miss you so", the same line you cried to yourself when your sixth-grade "boyfriend/girlfriend" broke up with you to go hold hands during recess with someone else.
Wait, you don't remember Holly Brook? That's right, because not long after that tearful moment, she went and changed her name to Skylar Grey and proceeded to make us cry all over again with tracks like "Invisible", and by showing up Beyoncé on her own song. Oh, she also charmed the hell out of us when she stopped by the studio a little while back.
You know what's interesting? I don't think I've ever heard Prince's speaking voice. Seriously, I've heard him sing plenty, sure, but I don't know what the guy would have sounded like while ordered Chinese takeout or challenging someone to a game of pickup b-ball.
I am curious as to how he would have pronounced this, because no one knew what he was going for with this.
During his seven-year hiatus from the name Prince, he went by that symbol, which most people just called The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, but I'll just call legend.
4. Panic! At The Disco
I'll be honest, I was a little bit too old for Panic! At The Disco when they started picking up steam, and by the time they, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy or whoever started getting big, my emo phase had passed. That being said, I still hated them with a vengeance, because in my mind, real emo was about plain old white guys crying, not vampires in makeup.
But even though I wasn't a fan, even I know better than to mess with what works, but for some reason the band didn't. In 2008 they decided to axe the exclamation point from their name, but that only lasted a year until they realized that nobody cared about a band called Panic at the Disco, they wanted Panic! at the Disco, god damnit.
5. 2 Chainz
I have no way of properly wording the explanation for 2 Chainz's original rap name, so I let him do the talking.
"The name Tity Boi actually came from my big mama, from me being spoiled and an only child-breastfed. My mama called me Tity Boi, my dad called me Tity Man…"
I don't know what else to say. I feel dirty reading that. I'm going to move on to the next one.
6. Jay Z
In a move apparently designed to piss off copy editors across the country, Jay-Z decided to remove the hyphen from his name in 2013 before adding it back in 2017, thereby ensuring that no one would be quite sure which one it was and we would inevitably type the wrong one first before having to go back to fix it.
7. Diddy? I think it's Diddy now?
Honestly I got a headache trying to keep track of all the times that Diddy changed his name so I'm going to let someone else take this one.
Also apparently the Brother Love name was just a joke, blame it on the alcohol he says, but I think he really was testing the waters with that one to see if it would work.