On Tyler, the Creator’s new album, Wolf, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Odd Future leader has shaped an intricate, multi-faceted narrative across his releases. Whether he’s rapping as Wolf Haley, Sam, or Tyler, the 22-year-old Los Angeles native has pushed along his story arc replete with twists, murder, heartbreak, and all the other necessary elements of a dramatic tale. There’s more to it than that, of course, but that’s why we decided to write this feature.
Wolf got us thinking about all the other hip-hop alter egos that have been introduced to listeners over the years. Some of them are simply aliases–such as Redman using his real name, Reggie Noble, for production credits–while others simply haven’t been developed enough to create a lasting impressions. Then there are the cases where maybe, just maybe, the artist should have stuck to his guns–Bobby Digital, anyone?
We have looked into the best alter egos in hip-hop to celebrate when they’re done right and when they can dramatically shape an album or, in many cases, a career.