Shawn Corey Carter—famously known as—Jay-Z has been referring to himself as Hov or Hova since 2001. Hov or Hova, is short for Jay-Hova, and it's a shortened version/play of the word Jehovah, the Hebrew word for God. Jay-Z has called himself the “god” of rap.
In his Marcy Projects neighbourhood, Shawn was known as “Jazzy”, a nickname that eventually developed into his well known artist name, “Jay-Z” which is also pays respect to his mentor Jaz-O.
Jay-Z released Izzo (H.O.V.A.) on his sixth studio album The Blueprint. The line “H to the Izz-O, V to the Izz-A” is a slang method of spelling out H.O.V.A. On A Million and One Questions (Remix), Jay-Z raps “They call me J-Hova cause the flow is religious.”
“Young Hova, the name Hova it derived from… I would tell people like ‘yo i can make these songs…..I don't even write songs down, i can make these songs in 5 to 7 minutes' and that's just like a gift so they started calling me Jay-Hova. and that's just how that whole thing started. I don't wanna offend too many people for saying Jay-Hova, I dont want them to think im saying i'm “god”. I know way better than that. Young Hova… To recognize that gift that i had.”
Jigga came from Jay Z rapping too fast “Jigga to Jay-Z, thats where that came from”
Jay-Z has also referred to himself as Jiggaman, S-dot, Young Hov, Jazzy, and Iceberg Slim.
Watch Jay-Z explain his famous nicknames below.