Kanye West has filed paperwork to legally change his name to simply Ye. According to a report TMZ, West filed these legal documents in Los Angeles, California, requesting a judge acknowledge his name as the monosyllabic “Ye.” It is not clear what kind of review process is needed for this switch.
West’s legal name right now is Kanye Omari West. He has used the nickname “Ye” for years, and has increasingly insisted on it during his stints on social media. Legal name changes are reportedly relatively easy to attain in California — the review process is simply there to make sure the change won’t facilitate any fraud or other illegal conduct. West only needs one judge to approve the change for it to take effect.
Fans have a lot of guesses about why the name change, and why now. Many suspect that it has something to do with West’s divorce from Kim Kardashian, who still has “Kim Kardashian West” as her legal surname. Their children all share the last name West as well.
Others think it has some kind of cathartic connection to his upcoming album Donda. The album is named after West’s mother, to whom he was very close. Although West has always been proud of his heritage and outspoken about his family, he may be looking for a fresh start following this album’s release.
“Bro. Donda chose Kanye not Ye,” one fan commented on Twitter. Another added: “I suppose he weighed the pros and Kans of this decision before making it,” while a third tweeted: “Ye changing his name to Ye is the most Ye thing ever.”
— m (@paristexas5to7) August 24, 2021
Of course, many fans also related this change to Prince, the singer who once legally changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol for a brief time. He did this because of a legal dispute with Warner Bros., which held the rights to a huge collection of his unreleased music. When speaking about him out loud, he asked people to refer to him as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” He also made public appearances with the word “slave” written on his face” — a bold, theatrical move that many fans can imagine West taking on himself.
West has changed his album release date several times now, but it is expected to come out for real on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. There is no telling whether his name change will take effect by then.