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With A Name Like That? DanceHall Artistes and Their Stage Names

We love their music and only know them by their stage names. Have you ever wondered how they came up with these names? Well, we did the digging for you.

In the Caribbean most of us has a nickname which has nothing to do with our legal names, example “Shorty Man”, because you are short or “Little” because you are small or tiny

Here is a list of some of our favourite Dancehall/Reggae artistes with their legal names and how they got their stage names.

Beenie Man

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He is referred to as the “King of Dancehall", Aka “Ras Moses”, “The Doctor”, “The Girls Dem Sugar”. However, this Kingstonian was born Anthony Moses Davis and got the name “Beenie Man” because he was always in the company of adults, making him the “smallest little man” in the group.

Lady Saw

Born Marion Hall, she was the first female deejay to win a Grammy Award. Before her famous name she was called “Female Saw”. Many believe she got her name because of raunchy cutting lyrics, but she was named after ’80s dancehall greats, Tenor Saw.



Born David Constantine Brooks in the Kingston, he started out singing in church. When his dancehall career took off, he named himself "Mavado" after the Swiss watch company Movado, with his manager Julian Jones-Griffith altered the spelling.

Vybz Kartel

Known best for his songs "Clarks", "Romping Shop", "Poor People Land", Vybz Kartel was actually born Adidja Azim Palmer in Portmore.

In his earlier career he was known as "Adi Banton", paying homage to mentor Buju Banton. Palmer was later part of the trio called “Vybez Kartel", after the group split he altered the spelling to Vybz Kartel



Shauna McKenzie is known commonly as Etana, meaning “the strong one”.


Born Sheldon Aitana Ricardo Lawrence, he took his stage name from the first two letters in his middle name 'Aitana', and 'Donia', a name which he earned while playing football.


Born and raised in Marsala, Sicily, Italy, but now resides in Kingston, Jamaica. The "Rastafari Anthem", singer was first called ‘Borosie” upon his arrival in Jamaica. He didn’t like the negative meaning of the ‘Borosie” so he added “Al” – Al-borosie, from his given name Alberto D'Ascola.


The “She's My Lady” singer was born Windel Beneto Edwards, for fetch from his stage name “Gyptian”. There are a few surprise to “Gyptian” background, his mother was Seventh-day Adventist and father a Rastafarian. ,

“Gyptian” like fellow DJ "Mavado started out signing in church. The singer earned his nickname from his habit of tying a shirt around his head and twisting his chin hair like an Egyptian pharaoh


One would think he got his name because he loved eating popcorn, but in reality Andre Jay Sutherland took his stage name “Popcaan” from a friend who died.



His stage name “Chronixx” was the name his friends, replacing the name ‘Little Chronicle’ that was given as the ‘junior’ to his father, the artist Chronicle. His actual name is Jamar Rolando McNaughton

Buju Banton

Born Mark Anthony Myrie, “Buju Banton” has some really interested facts about the origins of his stage name. Buju is a nickname given to chubby children that means breadfruit in the language of the Maroons in Jamaican and was given to him by his mother as a child. Banton is a Jamaican word that refers to someone who is a respected storyteller, and it was adopted by Myrie in tribute to the deejay Burro Banton, whom Buju admired as a child.

Jah Cure

Not a traditional name but Siccature Alcock, aka Jah Cure, or Iyah Cure ,was given the name Jah Cure by Capleton whom he met while growing up in Kingston.[


Born in Kingston to devout Rastafarian movement parent, Sizzla Kalonji or simple Sizzle was born Miguel Orlando Collins. Here is how Sizzle explained his name ‘kalonji,’ mean ‘Victorious,’ and ‘sizzla’ mean ‘burning essence,’ just in sound. So it’s just vibes and the word. When enough kind of people hears the word, the word giveth strength."


This Clarendonian born Byiome Muir got his name due to his high energy levels and long lasting ability.

Bounty Killer

This DJ was born Rodney Basil Price, in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of 14, he was shot by a stray bullet during a gunfight between rival political factions, and while convalescing in hospital decided on the name Bounty Killer.


Shabba Ranks

One of the most popular dancehall artists of his generation Shabba Ranks was born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon. Shabba stated that his came from Africa. In an interview he said “If you check the map of Africa there’s a little town with the term Shabba but it spelled with one “B”. One of my close friend’s gave me the name Shabba because there used to be a wanted man named Shabba in Jamaica and because I used to love trouble, they gave me the name too”


Many might not know this but before he was called Ninjaman he called ‘Double Ugly" and “Uglyman". He also went by his born again Christian name "Brother Desmond". He changed his name back to Ninjaman aka The Don Gorgon and Gun Pon Teeth. His actual name is Desmond John Ballentine

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