Rappers have long been smitten with the idea of the alias. Christopher George Latore Wallace went by Big Poppa, Biggie Smalls and The Notorious BIG. Tupac Shakur was also known as 2Pac and Makaveli.
Russell Tyrone Jones boasted the best roster of names imaginable, going by Dirt McGirt, Osirus, Big Baby Jesus and, most famously, Ol' Dirty Bastard, among others.
Not every nickname is a home run. Some rappers are absolutely terrible at picking nicknames (as evidenced by the likes of Yung Joc, Waka Flocka Flame and Soulja Boy Tell 'Em) and would be better off just stealing their names from something else that's already been established as being cool.
Case in point: the noticeable handful of rappers who share their names with Marvel Comics characters. One of these folks is Jean Grae (real name: Tsidi Ibrahim), who stops by Sol Santa Fe Grill & Brewing Company tonight for a show alongside Mr. Len & the Insects, Cas Uno and DJ Wise. As one of a handful of female emcees in the game, Grae might as well empower herself in whatever ways possible, which is why it's smart that she chose to crib her primary alias from the woman better known as Phoenix. Not only was Jean Gray once portrayed by the inimitable, perpetually bad-ass Famke Janssen on-screen, but in the comics, she ascended into being an incredibly powerful being--the sort who could wipe out a galaxy if she felt like it.
What follows is a list of four other guys who've wisely chosen to snatch their aliases from Marvel characters. Weirdly enough, it seems like no one really feels up to representing DC Comics, which is a bummer because a corruption of Zsasz would make a great name for a violent gangsta rapper.
Tony Starks: Although most of the world knows Dennis Coles as Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, the guy made a smart move by making his obsession with Iron Man public. Ghostface's 1996 solo debut was called (real subtle), and by also going by Tony Starks (a corruption of Tony Stark, Iron Man's real name), he managed to score a cameo in Iron Man 2. Coles' scene ended up getting deleted from the feature, but if you're into hip-hop and can appreciate a good injoke, it's rather amusing to see Tony Starks share the screen with Tony Stark.
David Banner: Okay, David isn't The Hulk's real first name in official Marvel canon (that would be Bruce), but if you're an enthusiast of the Pissed-off Green Giant, you should know that David Banner was the monster's real name in the 1977 TV series. Apparently, network execs at CBS thought that "Bruce" sounded "too gayish," an absolutely hysterical notion, so the world grew to knew Bill Bixby as David instead. In a nice twist of fate, the rapper (whose real name is Lavell Crump, which itself sounds like an alias) recently provided music for a commercial for Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, a PS3 and Xbox 360 fighting game which features The Hulk among its cast.
Mista Sinista: It's one thing to take an alias from one Marvel character, but to crib a whole group? That's ballsy. Unfortunately, a New York hip-hop group's attempt to use the name "X-Men" back in the '90s fell through due to trademark troubles, so it had to soldier on as the X-Ecutioners instead. Joel Wright defiantly stuck to course, though, and held onto the name Mista Sinista, a reference to Mister Sinister, an X-Men villain with an absolutely horrible costume. Still, major points to Wright for taking his name from someone more obscure.
MF DOOM: If you are going to name yourself after a tough bastard from the Marvel mythos, why pick the King of Latveria himself? MF DOOM gets both his alias and signature iron mask from Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four's tragic opponent. DOOM, who is also known as King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn (the latter a play on Victor Von Doom, Doc's full name), has a good reason for picking that alias. Aside from the cool factor, DOOM is also part of the rapper's real name (ie, Daniel Dumile, with his surname pronounced "Doom-eh-lay"). Percy Carey, DOOM's onetime partner-in-crime, goes by the alias of MF Grimm, a name that doesn't appear to be Marvel-inspired but could have been taken from something else that's also pretty kick-ass.