Nayab Chohan

 Metro,  30 Mar 2001

Rap star Puff Daddy is to leave his chequered past behind – by changing his name to P. Diddy. The multi-millionaire, real name Sean Combs, was acquitted by a court earlier this month of illegally having a gun and bribing witnesses after a New York nightclub shooting.

Yesterday, Combs, 31, said he was to change his nickname. ‘No more Puff Daddy – the first week in June, we’re going to have a name-change ceremony.

‘I’m not doing it as serious as Prince. I just want something fresh. I’m rocking with P. Diddy just now.’ The nickname had been suggested in the past by his fellow rapper Biggie Smalls.

Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G., was shot dead in 1996 during the so-called rap wars between East and West coast musicians. Combs was widely believed to have been the target of the assassination.

The rapper has already used the P. Diddy name as an alias in record credits for his production work with other musicians and for a guest appearance on a new single from another rapper, G-Dep.

Combs added he was to take a two month holiday to reassess his life. ‘I got to take a break,’ he said.

Name changing is increasingly common among musicians. One of the best known examples is Prince, who revolutionised pop music during the 1980s.

Born as Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958, he decided to rebrand himself in 1995 with a symbol, which meant Artist. He reverted back to Prince in May last year.