Diddy has changed his name to Puff The Magic Daddy. OK fine – just Puff Daddy. Earlier today, the star (real name: Sean Combs) explained using the hashtag #bighomie that "he has always been PUFF DADDY". This comes after his 2001 "name change ceremony", at which he said: "No more Puff Daddy, I'm rocking with just P. Diddy now."
Confused? No, us neither, it's simple. Puff Daddy became P. Diddy, then Diddy and now he's Puff Daddy again. But why? All are ridiculous names, with Puff Daddy arguably the least ridiculous of the three, so going back to his roots might not be such a bad idea. His new album MMM is due later this year and this revert to type could be a ploy to drum up some publicity in anticipation of its release.
Of course, Puff Daddy isn't the only artist to have suffered an identity crisis – over the years, many have flung themselves through reinventions and switched monikers in the hope of finding an elusive freshness or a new life. Let's take a look at how it's worked out for others.
Ah, Snoop. When we heard that you'd dropped the "Dogg", we were a little concerned. We remain concerned. Snoop, everybody's favourite lanky gangster rapper, made a departure from the hip-hop game in 2012 in favour of Rastafarianism, a little more peace and love, and a film about his journey to enlightment called Reincarnated. He told the Guardian, "I wanted to make songs about the life I'm living now as a father and as a 41-year-old man." At least now he can afford to hire people to roll joints for him.
THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE
Everybody loves Prince, so in 1993 there was predictably much kerfuffle surrounding his decision to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol after a disagreement with his record company, Warner Bros. The media, unsure of how to refer to him, came up with the rather nice "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince", rather than the "correct" term Love Symbol No 2. In 2000, once he was out of his contract with Warner, the dimunitive pop star returned to plain old Prince.
This was an unfortunate bum move from one of the best selling artists of the 90s. Garth Brooks, an American country star, had sold upwards of 100million albums when he decided to reinvent himself as Chris Gaines, a fictional Australian alt-rock star with a goatee who dabbled in new wave and R&B. Brooks released an album in 1999 that posed as Gaines' greatest hits and also filmed two TV specials as an introduction to a film called The Lamb, with Brooks playing Gaines. The idea was completely shit on by critics and Brooks only released one more album before retiring.
OK, so this was a very necessary name change after Joy Division's iconic lead singer Ian Curtis killed himself in 1980. The phoenix that rose from the flames was New Order, and in 1983 they released "Blue Monday", the biggest selling 12" of all time. They went on make many more records and moved in a very different artistic direction compared to the brutality of Joy Division, which was so defined by Curtis's gut-wrenching lyrics, claustrophobic voice and epilepsy. Bernard Sumner deserves eternal respect for agreeing to replace a frontman who was so utterly brilliant. However, there is no way that Ian Curtis would have let John Barnes rap on "World In Motion".
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