• The Best Hip-Hop Aliases of All Time

    Since hip-hop’s inception rappers have been known to have multi-faceted characters, sort of like comic-book heroes. And like these heroes, often aliases are used to express different sides of the artist or to explore new concepts. It’s why on any given day, Jay Z can be heard going by Hov, Jigga, S. Dot, to name a few. As this list indicates, it’s one way rap artists have created such rich allure. These are the best and brightest of rap’s nicknames.

  • Eminem as Slim Shady

    Possibly the most famous of hip-hop’s aliases is Eminem’s Slim Shady, the side of Em that is the most controversial, wild, and hilarious. Though most people know that Em has the alias given his smash singles “My Name Is” from 1999’s The Slim Shady LP and “The Real Slim Shady” from 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP, few know his origin. On the intro track of The Slim Shady EP, released independently in 1997, Eminem introduced Slim Shady as his alter-ego, a theme he would revisit throughout his career.
  • OutKast’s Big Boi as Sir Lucious Left Foot/Daddy Fat Sax

    OutKast’s catalogue is so extensive it’s even more difficult to pin down when Big Boi ascertained the above-mentioned aliases than it is to pick just two. General Patton and Billy Ocean are just two more among a long list. Where Sir Lucious and Daddy Fat Sax distinguish themselves is when they became fully-realized as the central focuses of Big Boi’s solo albums — well, at least Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty did. Big Boi’s follow-up, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Dangerous Rumors, was originally going to be titled Daddy Fat Sax: Soul Funk Crusaders, until he decided to save Daddy Fat Sax for his third, as-of-yet-unreleased album title. Here's hoping we get to meet him soon.
  • Tupac as Makaveli

    Tupac’s legend exploded after his tragic death in 1996, but it was the rapper’s first posthumous album that got the conspiracy theorists going. On 1996’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, recorded just one month before Pac’s death, he assumed the role of Makaveli, which he had referenced on his prior album, All Eyez On Me. The character symbolized Tupac’s “resurrection” upon being “crucified” by the media, bringing with it an almost-mystical aura that surrounds the never-ending narrative around Tupac to this day.
  • De La Soul’s Posdnous, Dave, and Maseo as Plug One, Plug Two, and Plug Three

    The concept of De La Soul’s members as microphone plugs, transmitting vocals from Mars from separate plug connections originated on the trio’s outstanding 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising. The concept itself wasn’t explicitly used, but was referenced on the album’s tracks “The Magic Number,” “Transmitting Live from Mars,” and “Plug Tunin’.” Pos and Dave would later undertake the aliases on the 2012 concept album Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present…First Serve.
  • Del Tha Funkee Homosapien as Deltron Zero

    This rap alias may not be a major departure from the artist’s original moniker, but Deltron Zero gets in on concept alone. On 2000’s Deltron 3030, a concept album made in conjunction with Dan the Automator and DJ Kid Koala, Del is cast as Deltron Zero. The album is part 1984, part Star Wars, and all hip-hop as Deltron Zero embarks on a mission to battle against oppressive forces trying to subdue people and hip-hop. Deltron Zero embarks on his next journey on October 1, 2013 with Deltron Event II.