Lil Uzi Vert, Nicki Minaj, and Torey Lanez
Source: Getty Images

The Surprising Real Names of Some of Your Favorite Rappers

Rappers such as YoungMA, Lil Uzi Vert, and Rich homie Quan are amongst some of the rappers with the most interesting and unfamiliar names you'll ever come across.


Dec. 8 2023, Published 5:41 p.m. ET

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Have you ever wondered how your favorite rapper got their moniker?

Rappers have mastered the art of coming up with catchy stage names for themselves. Most rappers create monikers before becoming famous because it's seen as notoriously uncool to use your real name in the rap industry.

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While some rappers use stage names to elevate their status in the game, some use these professional names because their real names are difficult to pronounce.

In fact, aliases are adopted for a wide variety of reasons and they may sometimes be similar, or nearly identical, to an individual's birth name. Artists who created aliases based on their birth names are the likes of J. Cole and Lil Durk.

In this article, we take a look at some of your favorite rapper's government names and their origins.

Young M.A — Katorah Kasanova Marrero

young ma on stage holding black microphone
Source: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

Young M.A. performs during Rolling Loud NY at Citi Field in NYC

Katorah Kasanova Marrero was born in Brooklyn, New York — and she is better known by her rap name "Young MA" which stands for Young Me. Always). Young MA's mother is Jamaican, and her father is Puerto Rican, and her real name reflects her family background.

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Rich Homie Quan — Dequantes Devontay Lamar

rich homie quan glasses bet awards
Source: Prince Williams/FilmMagic

Rich Homie Quan attends The BET Hip Hop Awards at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

Dequantes Devontay Lamar is popularly known as Rich Homie Quan. His rap name is an abbreviated version of his real name Dequantes, and he explained the meaning behind his stage name on .

"When I say rich, I say moreso in spirit," he said. "I let that be the motto more than the money."

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Earl Sweatshirt — Thebe Neruda Kgositsile

earl sweatshirt on stage blue smoke
Source: Jim Bennett/WireImage

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt performs on stage during Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain.

Thebe Neruda Kgositsile — professionally known as Earl Sweatshirt — is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born in Chicago to Cheryl Harris, a law professor and critical race theorist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Keorapetse Kgositsile, a South African poet and political activist.

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Tory Lanez — Daystar Peterson

tory lanez wears a durag and yellow shirt
Source: Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Tory Lanez attends the Parlor Games Celebrity Basketball Classic at the Cox Pavilion on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Daystar Shemuel Shua Peterson, known professionally as Tory Lanez, is a Canadian rapper, singer, and songwriter. Tory was born in Brampton, Ontario to a Bajan father and a mother from Curaçao.

He was named after his father, Sonstar, and his name is said to mean "bright and morning star."

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Lil Uzi Vert — Symere Bysil Woods

lil uzi vert performs at his pink tape tour at in atl georgia
Source: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Lil Uzi Vert performs at his "Pink Tape" tour at Coca-Cola Roxy in ATL, Georgia.

Lil Uzi Vert's real name is Symere Bysil Woods, and while not much is known about his family and background, the rapper revealed he got his stage name from a "crackhead" who said he rapped fast.

If he ever wants to go back to his birth name, Symere is a great option!

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Cardi B — Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar

cardi b attends the mtv music video awards at the prudential center in newark new jersey
Source: John Nacion/WireImage

Cardi B attends the MTV Music Video Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Cardi B's real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, both her names are Spanish translations of Arabic words. Belcalis is thought to be a reference to the Queen of Sheba, while Almanzar—from the Arabic “al mandhar”— translates to “lookout point” or “watchtower.”

The rapper's mother and father come from Trinidad and the Dominican Republic, respectively. Cardi has previously spoken about her ethnicity on Instagram Live.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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