Mercurial rapper/producer Kanye West has officially changed his name to Ye. The artist’s petition for a legal name change was approved in a Los Angeles court on Monday.
West tweeted out in 2018 that he was “the being formally known as Kanye West. I am YE”. He also named his eighth studio album, which is now retroactively eponymous. Around that time, West (or Ye) did a radio interview where he offered this explanation, he said: “I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible. In the Bible it means you. So, I’m you. And I’m us. It’s us. It went from being Kanye, which means the only one to just Ye, just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused—everything. It’s more of a reflection of who we are [as] beings.”
This opens up a whole can of worms. Are we now in a Prince Situation of having to say things like ‘The Artist Formally Known As Kanye’? Can we still call him Kanye? Are all of his albums going to be retitled and redistributed to the “Y” section of the streaming catalogue? So many questions, so few answers.
In what is admittedly a pretty short window to be judging these effects, no music service has yet to reclassify Kanye as “Ye”, although I’m sure that could happen his he makes even the gentlest of pushes. Names are just names, after all.
That’s probably the biggest takeaway from this story. Ye is Kanye West, and this is unlikely to change anyone’s actual reference to him. If he wants to only be referred to Ye, hey, that was his nickname before, so it doesn’t take any major mental fortitude to make that adjustment. If this is just another in the long line of craziness that has become the career of Kanye West, then that’s cool too.