What Is A$AP Rocky’s Real Name? Plus How He Got His Nickname

A$AP Rocky is one of the hottest rappers in the game. Fans have gotten a chance to know the talented performer since he emerged several years ago as a superstar, but they may not know everything about him. For example, many fans may not know his real name or the story behind his nickname

It’s quite common for rappers to use stage names or pseudonyms, and this is true of A$AP Rocky. But what is his real name, and how did he get his nickname? Let’s take a deeper dive into the origin story behind his name and what his government name is. 

What is A$AP Rocky’s real name?

While A$AP Rocky has plenty of fans, some may not know the true story behind his nickname. It has something to do with an acronym as well as his real name. His real name was based on rap royalty. 

According to Billboard, A$AP Rocky’s real name is Rakim Mayers. If that first name appears familiar to hip-hop fans, it’s for good reason. He’s named after Rakim, the legendary rapper who’s generally regarded as one of the greatest of all time. 

The rapper met Rakim thanks to DJ Angie Martinez, who introduced the two when A$AP Rocky was a guest on her show. The surprise meeting seemed to truly humble A$AP Rocky, who showed respect to one of the greats who came before him. 

Rakim even told a story about how he met a very young A$AP Rocky as a baby. According to Complex, he said A$AP Rocky’s mother approached him in the street: 

“I remember a long time ago, driving through Harlem. A lady walks across the street. I’m at the light, she walks across the street. She got the carriage and everything…She says can ‘you sign this for me?’ I never say no. I say ‘what’s him name?’ Rakim. I’m like word? She’s like Rakim. I sign the joint, I remember that day, cause that was the first time hearing someone named their son after me. Like I said, humbling experience.” 

Much like his namesake, A$AP Rocky is quite a talented rapper in his own right. So how exactly did he come up with his nickname? 

What does the A$AP in A$AP Rocky stand for?

A$AP Rocky attends Rihanna's 5th Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on September 12, 2019 in New York City.
A$AP Rocky | Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

He’s still a young man, but A$AP Rocky has had plenty of success in his career so far. According to Interview Magazine, he had a crew of friends who grew up with him in New York City, all of whom had an A$AP at the beginning of their name. 

The A$AP in A$AP Rocky stands for “Always Strive and Prosper.” Rocky is a nickname given to him by his mother because of how close it sounds to his given name, Rakim. 

Of course, A$AP Rocky isn’t the only rapper with a stage name. There are many others who have interesting stories behind their names. 

Other famous rapper stage names

Rappers like to use stage names to reinforce a persona or often to represent something significant in their life. Some explanations for famous rapper stage name backstories include: 

  • T.I. used the nickname shared by his grandfather. 
  • Gucci Mane borrowed a nickname his grandmother gave his father. 
  • 2 Chainz took a name that represented second chances. 
  • Rick Ross took his name from an infamous drug dealer, Freeway Rick Ross. 
  • Snoop Dogg’s mom called him “Snoopy” as a kid, which inspired his rap name. 

RELATED: Rick Ross Picked Up His Stage Name From a Drug Dealer