Jay Z is not the first R'n'B artist to change his name. Prince did it twice, going from a strange, unpronouncable multi-gendered symbol--which earned him the nickname "Squiggle" in the U.K.--during a tiff with his record label, which called him T.A.F.K.A.P., or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. He changed it back in 2000.

Rapper Sean John Combs changed his stage name from "Puff Daddy" to "P. Diddy" in 2001.

J.K. Rowling has just been outed as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling, a crime novel written under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. Although the author is said to have enjoyed the liberty of writing as an unknown, she is reportedly furious that the news has leaked out.

When Google was a search engine project headed up by Larry Page at Stanford in 1996, it was known as BackRub. A year later it had become the Google Search Engine, before the founders simplified.

Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) originally called his blog PageSixSixSix.com. Following a trademark infringement lawsuit by the New York Post, he created another alter ego--and one of the Internet's biggest gossip brands.

Global consulting firm Accenture has had almost more name changes than Elizabeth Taylor had marriages. Originally the consulting arm of accountancy firm Arthur Andersen, it became Accenture on January 1, 2001, and avoided the taint of Enron, which eventually led to the dissolution of Arthur Anderson. And the new name fits better on the water cups.

See this unprepossessing building, with its unprepossessing logo? That belongs to the makers of BlackBerry, once called Research In Motion, but who renamed their parent firm earlier this year. The firm's CEO said that the name change came at "a defining moment in our company’s history"--i.e., crunch time.

Security contracting firm Blackwater came to prominence during the Iraq war in the last decade. "America's least favorite mercenary firm" is now known as Academi LLC, changing its name from Xe. It's like one of those old wanted posters, which list a criminal's aliases.

Jay Z Changes His Name From Jay-Z To Jay Z. Got That?

The rapper joins a band of brands that have killed their original moniker and gone for something different—with varying results.

It's a subtle difference, but it's a difference. Maybe the heat wave made him decide that it's too hot for hyphens, but uber-rapper Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, is now to be known as Jay Z. The artist and entrepreneur made the changes known via his record label, which then told Billboard editor Joe Levy, who then tweeted the news.

If you look at the artwork for Jay Z's new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, however, you could be forgiven for thinking it contains the biggest hyphen ever—so big it's taking over the rest of his name. Perhaps that's why he decided to do away with it—rather like the beastly Japanese knotweed, the hyphen's growth was so prodigious, so pernicious, that it was threatening the very foundations of his empire.

But I digress. Here are some other name changes that have come about in the brand world—for all sorts of reasons. You can find them out in the slideshow.

[Image: Flickr user littleO2]

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