The Definitive History of Puff Daddy's Name Changes

He went from Puffy to Diddy and back again.

Diddy Eden Roc

Diddy Performing at Eden Roc Hotel on October 12, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Diddy Eden Roc

You may have heard that, over the weekend, Sean "Puffy/Puff Daddy/Diddy/etc." Combs changed his name yet again, this time to "Love" and/or "Brother Love."

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we at Complex want to take a look back at Mr. Brother Love's moniker changes over the years—changes that have been so frequent and confusing that on this very website we have threeseparatetags for stories about Combs. 

Below, a history of what you should call Diddy.

Childhood: Puffy 

"Puffy" was Combs' nickname growing up. It stemmed from the fact that the often-angry young mogul-to-be used to "huff and puff" when he got upset. Combs would grow so identified with that nickname in his professional life that it would appear on the occasional early musical credit such as the 1994 remix he did with Chucky Thompson of Jade's "Every Day of the Week." He also went by "Puffy" on Bad Boy's most influential early release, the Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 debut Ready to Die.

1990: Puff Daddy

This wouldn't be a story about Combs' numerous names if it wasn't confusing. While using the name "Puffy" professionally in the early 1990s, he was also going by the name "Puff Daddy" as early as 1990, on cuts with Father MC and Jodeci.


By the time Combs stepped out on his own as an artist, with 1997's No Way Out, the Puff Daddy name was in full swing.

March 2001: P. Diddy

In early 2001, Combs had just been acquitted on serious charges stemming from a nightclub shootout. In order to get a fresh start, he decided that (another) name change was due. He told MTV News that he was planning on having a "name change ceremony" that summer. "I'm rockin' with P. Diddy now—my man Biggie gave me that name," he said. And sure enough, he soon started getting billed as P. Diddy on record as well.

August 2005: Diddy

After a few years of "P. Diddy," Combs decided to streamline. During an interview with Katie Couric on Today, he explained why he was dropping the "P." 

"I felt the 'P' was coming between me and my fans," he said. "We had to simplify it. It was, you know, doing concerts and half the crowd saying 'P. Diddy,' half the crowd chanting 'Diddy.' Now everybody can just chant 'Diddy.'"

Sept. 2006: P. Diddy (again)

​Diddy got his "P" back in September 2006, when he agreed to a settlement with UK-based producer Richard "Diddy" Dearlove. Dearlove sued Combs using the law around "passing off," a U.K. concept designed to deal with unfair competition. "My lawyers and I were trying to convince the court there was confusion caused by two people trading under the same name," Dearlove said at the time. As a result of the settlement, Combs could no longer use the name "Diddy" in the U.K. So back to P. Diddy it went.

Jan. 2008: Sean John

In early 2008, Combs informed the Daily Star that he wanted to be called "Sean John" from here on out—the same name, not coincidentally, as his clothing line. "I have always evolved and taken a different name each time," he explained. "Right now, I want to be Sean John."

May 2011: Swag

In the middle of "swag" becoming an inescapable concept in hip-hop, Combs decided that, in honor of his "comeback," he would change his name to Swag—but only for a week. He even set up a special Twitter account for the occasion.

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March 2014: Puff Daddy (again)

In the spring of 2014, Combs was getting ready to release his video for "Big Homie." In anticipation, he shared a teaser in which he referred to himself as "Puff Daddy." After getting some pushback, he shared a tweet where he confusingly denied that he had ever changed his name at all.

Yo. Find a new gimmick. I invented and perfected Brother Love. I am the original and you are not. Remember North Carolina.

— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) November 4, 2017

November 2017: Love/Brother Love

Because he's now "something different," Combs decided to throw all of us for a loop yet again and change his name to "Love" and/or "Brother Love." WWE personality Bruce "Brother Love" Prichard was not impressed.

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