From Tyler the Creator to The Weeknd, here’s our favourite celebrity alter egos

From Tyler the Creator to The Weeknd, here’s our favourite celebrity alter egos

by Robyn Pullen
5 min

What’s the fun in having one personality when you can have two? Or three? Or seven? In any other career, showing up on your first day with a totally different name and persona would be kind of weird, but in the music industry it’s normal. Developing alter egos with fully fledged looks, styles, personalities, and lives (and then killing them off when they get boring) is pretty much part of the job description. From Tyler the Creator’s IGOR to Eminem’s Slim Shady, we’re taking a look at some of the best alter egos in music.

Tyler the Creator is Ace, Flower Boy, IGOR and more

Tyler the Creator might be one of the music artists with the most lore surrounding his many alter egos, building the universe they reside within throughout his career. Each character takes on a different appearance and personality, from Ace, one of his first and most aggressive alter egos introduced in 2009, to Flower Boy and IGOR who act as symbols of his softer side. In sad news, Tyler actually had many of his alter egos “killed off” earlier this year, in the music video for “SORRY NOT SORRY”. Rest in peace to all his deceased alter egos; they’ll be missed.

@feliciathegoat ©

Abel Tesfaye, formerly known as The Weekend

Abel Tesfaye is another artist who’s guilty of the murder of his own alter ego. At the start of his career Tesfaye released music under the aliases The Noise and Kin Kane, before finally creating his on-stage persona, The Weeknd, and sticking with it… until earlier this year. Back in May, he took to social media to announce his departure from his alter ego The Weeknd, then stating in an interview with W Magazine that he wanted to “kill The Weeknd. And [he] will. Eventually.” Why are these musicians so violent towards their alter egos?

@theweeknd ©

The multiple personalities of MF DOOM

Like Tyler the Creator, MF DOOM is an artist who likes to pull on a different alter ego depending on the vibe. When interviewed by The Wire on the traits of each of his alter egos, he had something unique to say about each one: MF DOOM (inspired by DC’s Dr Doom) is an “OG, old timer villain”; Viktor Vaughn is a “young whippersnapper”; and King Geedorah is “a straight reptilian”. Each character is rife with detail, inspiration, and lore – they’re so nonsensical that they almost make sense.


Doja Cat and her alter ego rebrand

Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini created her alter ego Doja Cat when she started her career releasing music on SoundCloud. Fun fact: the word “Doja” is actually a slang term meaning weed, a tribute to the California weed community, which the singer credits with helping her rise to fame. This year, Doja Cat’s recent rebrand has completely changed the aesthetic of her alter ego, although she’s one of the few artists to not instate a name change to match her new image. Although, she Tweeted back in May: “My stage name is no longer doja cat its Emcee Flapchunks the 3rd and youll address me as such”, before following up with “fell for it”. Haha, Doja, you’re so funny.

@dojacat ©

Can the real Slim shady please stand up?

One of the OG artists to adopt alter egos in his music was rapper, Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem. Sometimes cited as having three personalities – Marshall, Eminem, and Slim Shady – he used each alter ego to portray different aspects of his own personality. Marshall was a regular guy, Eminem was a confident yet relatable rap God, and Slim Shady was an aggressive creep. Eminem’s use of Slim Shady demonstrated how artists could use their alter egos to avoid accountability; as Slim Shady he could rap about anything he wanted, from violence to drug abuse, and pass it off as a character.

Aftermath / Intercsope©

Who’s fiercer: Beyonce or Sasha Fierce?

Beyoncé’s album “I am… Sasha Fierce”, released in 2008, introduced her alter ego, a more feisty, fiery version of herself (if Beyoncé could be any more of either). Apparently Sasha was born during the making of Beyoncé’s 2003 single “Crazy in Love”, and has been described as strictly for the stage, a sensual, aggressive alter ego simply helping the singer to add some more spice and drama to her live performances.

Columbia Records©

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