Rapper Kanye West has legally changed his name to Ye. Ye had filed his petition in August, but the new name became official this Tuesday.
Ye is now the artist’s first and last name. Ye has used the name frequently throughout his music and public life since the beginning of his career, and even named one of his albums “Ye” in 2018.
In fact, it seems that Ye first got the impetus to change his name all the way back during that album’s release, tweeting that he was “the being formally known as Kanye West. I am YE.”
During his press tour surrounding Ye’s release, the rapper spoke to The Fader about why he felt the name had significance:
“I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible, it means ‘you,’” he said. “So I’m you, I’m us, it’s us.”
2018 was also a period of tumult for the rapper, who faced backlash for publicly supporting former President Donald Trump and donning the “Make America Great Again” cap. Ye also spoke openly about his struggles with mental illness and his Bipolar disorder diagnosis in the 2018 album, rapping on the track “Yikes”: “That’s my superpower, ain’t no disability/I’m a superhero! I’m a superhero!”
Kanye’s name change to “Ye” has been years in the making
Although the name Ye has been a part of his persona since the beginning, the shift to the forefront of his work that occurred in 2018 with the album ‘Ye’ seems to be the move that inspired the legal name change in 2021.
This year has been a particularly visible and eventful one for Ye: the musician released his highly anticipated album DONDA after pushing it back multiple times throughout the summer in a series of highly followed public listening parties.
Kim Kardashian also filed for divorce from Ye at the beginning of this year. But multiple collaborations during his DONDA listening parties seemed to throw the status of their relationship into question even though their divorce seems to be moving forward legally.
Ye released DONDA at the tail end of August, debuting at the very top of Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. The album makes references to Greek basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo in his song “Junya.”
The lyrics, which say “Let me be honest, / I’m one with the bucks boy, / Let me be Giannis,” depict West’s belief that the story of Antetokounmpo is a story of determination, prosperity and success.
Of course, Ye is not the first to include Antetokounmpo in the lyrics of a song. That list is already long, with names such as Public Enemy, Lil Wayne, DaBaby, Polo G, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, and Moneybagg Yo giving him the honors.