Kanye West Changes His Name

Kanye West is changing his name to simply "Ye." At the end of August, the rapper filed legal documents in Los Angeles, California asking for the name change, according to a report by TMZ. The process is reportedly pretty simple in California, and there is no reason to believe West will be turned down.

West has asked a judge to be legally acknowledged by the monosyllabic nickname he has used for years. The review process is underway, and although it is not hard to acquire a name change in California, there's no clear consensus on how long it may take. The review process is intended primarily to ensure that the chance cannot facilitate fraud or other illegal conduct, and obviously a name as high-profile as West's will require more consideration than others. Still, West only needs the approval of one judge for the change to go through.

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."

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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.