Dear Bow Wow: A Handy How-To Guide To Changing Your Rap Name

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By: Juan Vidal / June 26, 2014

Listen, from this day on, Bow Wow would like for you to refer to him as Shad Moss, his government name.

I mean, really, it’s a new day and he’s a businessman with a lot of important business to attend to. And while I thought we were being generous enough by letting him drop the Lil’, no, it just won’t do.

Via his Instagram, the rapper, actor, and host of BET’s 106 & Park, announced that his previous moniker simply “does not fit who i am today.” Sure, we can understand his reasoning but it’s doubtful it’ll stick. It’s doubtful that he’ll be called anything other than Bow Wow when the average person casually stumbles upon The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift some Saturday afternoon in their drawers.

Although the history of rappers changing their names after years of operating under another is nothing new, it’s never without its cheap hilarity. First there was Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy to Puff Daddy. It was confusing and annoying and so great, but no match for Snoop Doggy Dogg to Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion. Then there was Tity Boi to 2 Chainz, maybe the best yet. Mos Def to Yasiin Bey was only somewhat permissible because he’s just dope and smart and mega talented.

But sincerely, does it ever work? And does it matter? Here’s a brief guide on name changes so you, a rapper with future business to handle, business like fashion and film and maybe a tasty beverage bearing your alias, can remain respectable and not a laughing stock on the social media playground:

1. Don’t put the word Lil’ in your name: This is key. You won’t be lil’ forever and so fighting the urge, as endearing as it might seem when the thought creeps into your brain, is a plain good idea. Sidenote: keep level-headed people in your circumference to hold you accountable in this and related areas. Again, key.

2. Don’t use profanity or a slur: I don’t have to explain this, right?

3. Don’t ignore you mom’s advice: Would your mom approve of you calling yourself Ol’ Dirty Bastard? Of course not, and you’ll eventually opt for Dirt McGirt, a small but noted improvement. Respect to the legend though.

4. Don’t use a $ sign, please: Consider this a simple, polite request. I said please.

5. Don’t confuse the listener by changing it only to change it back again: Exhibit A: Lil J to Young Jeezy to Jeezy to Young Jeezy. C’mon.

This is in no way a comprehensive list. And neither will following this timeless wisdom add up to a rewarding career in the music industry. It will however, get you on the right path and almost, almost, ensure that you won’t need to make a ridiculous announcement in the future.

Shout out to Bow Wow. —Juan Vidal